Rhys R. Mendes was appointed Chief of Economic and Financial Research, effective June 2016. In this capacity, he works with policy department chiefs, research directors and their departmental teams to develop and execute a leading-edge research work plan to support all of the Bank of Canada’s policy functions.
Mr. Mendes joined the Bank in 2004 as an Economist in what was formerly the Monetary and Financial Analysis Department. In December 2005, he moved to the Research Department, now Canadian Economic Analysis (CEA). He became an Assistant Chief of that department in November 2008, leading the team responsible for the development of ToTEM II, an updated version of the Bank’s main macroeconomic model. In June 2011, Mr. Mendes was appointed Director of Policy Analysis in the International Economic Analysis Department, where his duties included representing Canada at G20 meetings and other international forums. Before his current role, he was Deputy Chief of CEA, a position he was appointed to in 2013.
Throughout his career, Mr. Mendes has contributed to the Bank’s research on the monetary policy framework. He is regularly consulted by foreign central banks on framework design issues. In March 2006, Mr. Mendes was on secondment to the International Monetary Fund as an advisor to the Indonesian central bank.
Born in Richmond Hill, Ontario, Mr. Mendes holds a PhD in economics from the University of Toronto.
Conventional models imply that central banks aiming to raise inflation should lower nominal rates and thus stimulate aggregate demand. However, several economists have recently challenged this conventional wisdom in favour of an alternative “neo-Fisherian’’ view under which higher nominal rates might in fact lead to higher inflation.
Bank of Canada research done prior to the most recent renewal of the inflation-control agreement in 2011 concluded that the benefits associated with a target below 2 per cent were insufficient to justify the increased risk of being constrained by the zero lower bound (ZLB) on nominal interest rates.
When constrained by the zero lower bound, some central banks have communicated a threshold that must be met before short-term interest rates would be permitted to rise. Simulation results for Canada show that forward guidance that is conditional on achieving a price-level threshold can theoretically raise demand and inflation expectations by significantly more than unemployment thresholds. This superior performance is attributable to the fact that the price-level threshold depends on past inflation outcomes. In practice, however, history-dependent thresholds such as this might be more challenging for central banks to communicate.
A measure of the neutral policy interest rate can be used to gauge the stance of monetary policy. We define the neutral rate as the real policy rate consistent with output at its potential level and inflation equal to target after the effects of all cyclical shocks have dissipated.
“Chair’s remarks: Understanding commodity price cycles in emerging Asia and their implications for monetary policy” In Globalisation and inflation dynamics in Asia and the Pacific, BIS Papers No. 70, pp. 67-69, January 2013, Bank for International Settlements.