Working Papers

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December 6, 2023

Macro-Financial Impacts of Foreign Digital Money

Description: We develop a two-country New Keynesian model with endogenous currency substitution and financial frictions to examine the impact on a small developing economy of a stablecoin issued in a large foreign economy. The stablecoin provides households in the domestic economy with liquidity services and an additional hedge against domestic inflation. Its introduction amplifies currency substitution, reducing bank intermediation and weakening monetary policy transmission, worsening the impacts of recessionary shocks and increasing banking sector stress. Capital controls raise stablecoin adoption as a means of circumvention, increasing exposure to spillovers from foreign shocks. Unlike a domestic CBDC, a ban on stablecoin payments can alleviate these effects.

December 1, 2023

Navigating the Well-Being Effects of Monetary Policy: Evidence from the Euro Area

Description: Central banks have recently adjusted their communication strategies to enhance engagement with the general public, yet there is limited understanding of public sentiment regarding monetary policy announcements. This paper investigates whether monetary policy announcements influence household (subjective) well-being in Germany over the period 2002-2018 and finds that tightening surprises reduce life satisfaction. Notably, the impact of a one standard deviation monetary policy shock on well-being is equivalent to a 4% decline in household income. This effect is particularly pronounced among middle-aged individuals and those belonging to the middle-class.

December 1, 2023

Housing Affordability: A New Dataset

Description: The rapid increase in house prices in the past few years, including during the COVID-19 pandemic, raises concerns about housing affordability. The price-to-income ratio is a widely-used indicator of affordability, but does not take into account important factors such as the cost of financing. The aim of this paper is to construct a measure of housing affordability that takes these factors into account for a large set of countries and long period of time. The resulting dataset covers an unbalanced panel of 40 countries over the period from 1970Q1 to 2021Q4. For each country, the index measures the extent to which a median-income household can qualify for a mortgage loan to purchase an average-priced home. To gauge the performance of the constructed indices, we compare them to other readily-available mesures of affordability and examine the evolution of the indices over time to understand the relevant drivers, including in a regression analysis to assess the extent to which government housing programs could contribute to improving affordability.

December 1, 2023

Climate Change Mitigation and Policy Spillovers in the EU’s Immediate Neighborhood

Description: EU’s neighborhood countries (EUN) have lagged the EU on emissions mitigation; coal-heavy power generation and industrial sectors are a key factor. They have also trailed EU countries in emissions mitigation policies since 2000, with little use of market-based instruments, and they still have substantial fossil fuel subsidies. Increasingly stringent EU mitigation policies are asociated with lower emissions in EUN. Overall output effects of the CBAM, in its current form, would be limited, though exports and emissions-intensive industries could be heavily impacted. A unilaterally adopted economywide carbon tax of $75 per ton would significantly lower emissions by 2030, with minimal consequences for output or household welfare, though a safety net for the affected workers may be necessary. To become competitive today by attracting green FDI and technology, overcoming infrastructure constraints and integrating into EU’s supply chains, EUN countries would be well served to front load decarbonization, rather than postpone it for later.

November 30, 2023

Geoeconomic Fragmentation: What’s at Stake for the EU

Description: Geoeconomic fragmentation (GEF) is becoming entrenched worldwide, and the European Union (EU) is not immune to its effects. This paper takes stock of GEF policies impinging on—and adopted by—the EU and considers how exposed the EU is through trade, financial and technological channels. Motivated by current policies adopted by other countries, the paper then simulates how various measures—raising costs of trade and technology transfer and fossil fuel prices, and imposition of sectoral subsidies—would affect the EU economy. Due to its high-degree of openness, the EU is found to be exposed to GEF through multiple channels, with simulated losses that differ significantly across scenarios. From a welfare perspective, this suggests the need for a cautious approach to GEF policies. The EU’s best defence against GEF is to strengthen the Single Market while advocating for a multilateral rules-based trading system.

November 24, 2023

Taming Financial Dollarization: Determinants and Effective Policies – The Case of Uruguay

Description: With some of the most significant levels of financial dollarization in the Western Hemisphere, Uruguay is characterized by extensive dollarization in both deposits and loans. While traditional factors like high inflation and substantial devaluations have been associated with such outcome, the enduring nature of dollarization in Uruguay also underscores the importance of structural elements. In formulating a holistic strategy to reduce dollarization, not only should there be an enhancement of the monetary policy framework aimed at maintaining low, stable inflation, but it should also consider the calibration of prudential policies such as currency-differentiated reserve requirements and foreign-currency credit repos.

November 24, 2023

Monetary Policy Design with Recurrent Climate Shocks

Description: As climate change intensifies, the frequency and severity of climate-induced disasters are expected to escalate. We develop a New Keynesian Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium model to analyze the impact of these events on monetary policy. Our model conceptualizes these disasters as left-tail productivity shocks with a quantified likelihood, leading to a skewed distribution of outcomes. This creates a significant trade-off for central banks, balancing increased inflation risks against reduced output. Our results suggest modifying the Taylor rule to give equal weight to responses to both inflation and output growth, indicating a gradual approach to climateexacerbated economic fluctuations.

November 24, 2023

Mitigating Climate Change at the Firm Level: Mind the Laggards

Description: Using self-reported data on emissions for a global sample of 4,000 large, listed firms, we document large heterogeneity in environmental performance within the same industry and country. Laggards—firms with high emissions relative to the scale of their operations—are larger, operate older physical capital stocks, are less knowledge intensive and productive, and adopt worse management practices. To rationalize these findings, we build a novel general equilibrium heterogeneous-firm model in which firms choose capital vintages and R&D expenditure and hence emissions. The model matches the full empirical distribution of firm-level heterogeneity among other moments. Our counter-factual analysis shows that this heterogeneity matters for assessing the macroeconomic costs of mitigation policies, the channels through which policies act, and their distributional effects. We also quantify the gains from technology transfers to EMDEs.

November 17, 2023

Mobile Money, Perception about Cash, and Financial Inclusion: Learning from Uganda’s Micro-Level Data

Description: Will mobile money render cash less dominant over time in Africa? Can it promote financial inclusion? We shed light on these questions by exploring individual-level and nationally representative survey data for Uganda, a country in a region that pioneered mobile money in the world. We use the Propensity Score Matching method to robustly compare mobile money users and non-users across a range of indicators that capture individuals’ perceptions about cash, and the extent to which they remit, save, and borrow money. We present the first evidence that mobile money users, compared to non-users, are more likely to perceive cash as risky and less likely to prefer carrying large amounts of cash. We also confirm that mobile money users are more likely to receive and send remittances, save, and borrow. They also save and borrow larger amounts.

November 17, 2023

Currencies of External Balance Sheets

Description: This paper assembles a comprehensive dataset of the currency composition of countries’ external balance sheets for 50 economies over the period 1990–2020. We document the following findings: (i) the US dollar and the euro still dominate global external balance sheets; (ii) there were striking changes in the currency composition across countries since the 1990s, with many emerging markets having moved from short to long positions in foreign currency, thus moving away from the so-called “original sin”; (iii) financial and tradeweighted exchange rates are weakly correlated, suggesting the commonly used trade indices do not adequately reflect the wealth effects of currency movements, and (iv) the large wealth transfers across countries during COVID-19 and the global financial crises increased global imbalances in the former, and reduced them in the latter.

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