13 November 2014 Bank of Canada Review - Autumn 2014In this issue, Bank staff discuss recent developments in experimental macroeconomics, research results on price-level and unemployment thresholds in forward guidance, and the spillover effects of quantitative easing in advance economies. Articles also explore the competitiveness strategies of Canadian firms as well as their use of financial derivatives.
13 November 2014 Recent Developments in Experimental MacroeconomicsThis article describes experimental economics, in general, and new developments in experimental macroeconomics, in particular. The approach has a clear niche in providing evidence on economic phenomena that cannot be observed directly or that are difficult to measure. Experimental work conducted by Bank of Canada economists has shed light on a number of issues important to monetary policy, such as the relative efficacy between price-level and inflation targeting, and the nature of inflation expectations formation.
13 November 2014 Should Forward Guidance Be Backward-Looking?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.
13 November 2014 Firm Strategy, Competitiveness and Productivity: The Case for CanadaAt a time when the Bank is expecting a rotation of demand toward exports and investment, and transformative global trends are placing increasing emphasis on innovation, technology and organizational learning, an understanding of the competitiveness strategies of Canadian firms and the factors affecting them has become particularly relevant. This article summarizes findings from a Bank of Canada survey of 151 firms designed to extract signals on elements of firm strategy and organizational capital in order to help inform the macroeconomic outlook.
U.S. retail food price increases in recent years may seem large in nominal terms, but after adjusting for inflation have been quite modest even after the change in U.S. biofuel policies in 2006. In contrast, increases in the real prices of corn, soybeans, wheat and rice received by U.S. farmers have been more substantial and can be linked in part to increases in the real price of oil.