Bank of Canada Review - Autumn 2014

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In 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.

The Bank of Canada Review is published twice a year. Articles undergo a thorough review process. The views expressed in the articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Bank.

The contents of the Review may be reproduced or quoted, provided that the authors and the publication, with its date, are specifically cited as the source.

November 13, 2014

Recent Developments in Experimental Macroeconomics

This 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.
November 13, 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.
November 13, 2014

Spillover Effects of Quantitative Easing on Emerging-Market Economies

While quantitative easing (QE) in the United States likely increased capital flows to emerging-market economies (EMEs), putting upward pressure on asset prices and exchange rates, diverging fundamentals between advanced economies and EMEs were also important drivers. Evidence suggests that the benefits of QE to EMEs, in higher global demand and increased confidence, appear to outweigh the costs. When advanced economies begin to normalize monetary policy, the best defence for EMEs against any potential instability is likely to be further strengthening of their macroeconomic and financial policy frameworks.
November 13, 2014

Firm Strategy, Competitiveness and Productivity: The Case for Canada

At 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.
November 13, 2014

The Use of Financial Derivatives by Canadian Firms

In Canada, about one-third of publicly listed non-financial firms use financial derivatives. The use of derivatives is widespread across all sectors of the economy and increases during periods of greater uncertainty. Non-financial firms that use derivatives are typically larger and more profitable and have lower volatility of earnings than those that do not use derivatives. Overall, the firm characteristics of Canadian hedgers seem to be consistent with those found in other jurisdictions.
Content Type(s): Publications, Bank of Canada Review Article Topic(s): Exchange rates, Financial markets JEL Code(s): G, G1, G10, G3, G32

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