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  • December 8, 2005

    Towards a Made-in-Canada Monetary Policy: Closing the Circle

    When the Bank of Canada was first established in 1935, it had two very different models to choose from—the Bank of England and the U.S. Federal Reserve—in terms of the instruments that it might use for implementing monetary policy. Although some aspects of the Bank's early monetary policy practices, including the role of discount facilities and moral suasion, reflect the British example, other important differences shaped a distinctly Canadian approach. Chant describes what he argues are distinctively Canadian innovations: the Bank's favoured means of managing chartered bank liquidity through transfers of government deposits, the adoption of lagged reserve requirements, and the two periods in which it decided to float the Bank Rate. He also describes the series of bold initiatives that were undertaken in the 1990s with regard to simplifying clearing and settlement procedures, reducing reserve requirements, and setting the Bank's target for the overnight rate. Chant suggests that these changes have improved market efficiency, reduced risk and uncertainty, and strengthened the Bank's influence over its short-term operating target.
  • December 2, 2005

    From Flapper to Bluestocking: What Happened to the Young Woman of Wellington Street?

    Helliwell traces the changes that have occurred at the Bank of Canada since the early 1960s, when he first began a long and extensive relationship with the institution and its staff. He begins with his work on the Royal Commission on Banking and Finance (the Porter Commission) and continues over the next 40 years, giving particular focus to the Bank's analytic and research activities. Although he is careful to note the benefits of alternative analytical and information-gathering techniques, such as the extensive mail and direct interview survey that he and his colleagues conducted as part of the Royal Commission, Helliwell devotes most of his attention to the Bank's econometric modelling efforts, starting with RDX1 and RDX2 in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He cites some of the internal, as well as external, obstacles that had to be overcome as the Bank's modelling efforts advanced, and how shifting trends in the economics profession have sometimes posed a challenge. Helliwell concludes that these developments helped the Bank to come of age and take its place in the front ranks of the world's evidence-based policy-research institutions.
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