Ian Christensen is Senior Director in the Bank’s Financial Markets Department. His primary interests include financial system regulation and the assessment of risks to financial stability. Ian has also worked extensively on monetary policy, specifically the financial channels of policy. He obtained his Masters in Economics from the University of Victoria.

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Staff Working Papers

Housing Market Dynamics and Macroprudential Policy

Staff Working Paper 2016-31 Gabriel Bruneau, Ian Christensen, Césaire Meh
We perform an analysis to determine how well the introduction of a countercyclical loanto- value (LTV) ratio can reduce household indebtedness and housing price fluctuations compared with a monetary policy rule augmented with house price inflation.

Predicting Financial Stress Events: A Signal Extraction Approach

Staff Working Paper 2014-37 Ian Christensen, Fuchun Li
The objective of this paper is to propose an early warning system that can predict the likelihood of the occurrence of financial stress events within a given period of time. To achieve this goal, the signal extraction approach proposed by Kaminsky, Lizondo and Reinhart (1998) is used to monitor the evolution of a number of economic indicators that tend to exhibit an unusual behaviour in the periods preceding a financial stress event.

A Semiparametric Early Warning Model of Financial Stress Events

Staff Working Paper 2013-13 Ian Christensen, Fuchun Li
The authors use the Financial Stress Index created by the International Monetary Fund to predict the likelihood of financial stress events for five developed countries: Canada, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Bank Leverage Regulation and Macroeconomic Dynamics

Staff Working Paper 2011-32 Ian Christensen, Césaire Meh, Kevin Moran
This paper assesses the merits of countercyclical bank balance sheet regulation for the stabilization of financial and economic cycles and examines its interaction with monetary policy.

Consumption, Housing Collateral, and the Canadian Business Cycle

Using Bayesian methods, we estimate a small open economy model in which consumers face limits to credit determined by the value of their housing stock. The purpose of this paper is to quantify the role of collateralized household debt in the Canadian business cycle.

Monetary Policy in an Estimated DSGE Model with a Financial Accelerator

Staff Working Paper 2006-9 Ian Christensen, Ali Dib
The authors estimate a sticky-price dynamic stochastic general-equilibrium model with a financial accelerator, à la Bernanke, Gertler, and Gilchrist (1999), to assess the importance of financial frictions in the amplification and propagation of the effects of transitory shocks.

Real Return Bonds, Inflation Expectations, and the Break-Even Inflation Rate

Staff Working Paper 2004-43 Ian Christensen, Christopher Reid, Frédéric Dion
According to the Fisher hypothesis, the gap between Canadian nominal and Real Return Bond yields (or break-even inflation rate) should be a good measure of inflation expectations.

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Bank Publications

Bank of Canada Review Article

November 14, 2013

Assessing Financial System Vulnerabilities: An Early Warning Approach

This article focuses on a quantitative method to identify financial system vulnerabilities, specifically, an imbalance indicator model (IIM) and its application to Canada. An IIM identifies potential vulnerabilities in a financial system by comparing current economic and financial data with data from periods leading up to past episodes of financial stress. It complements other sources of information - including market intelligence and regular monitoring of the economy - that policy-makers use to assess vulnerabilities.
February 21, 2013

Conference Summary: Financial Intermediation and Vulnerabilities

The Bank of Canada’s annual economic conference, held in October 2012, brought together experts from across Canada and around the world to discuss key issues concerning financial intermediation and vulnerabilities. The conference covered such topics as household finances and their relationship to financial stability, as well as bank regulation, securitization and shadow banking.
August 18, 2011

Mortgage Debt and Procyclicality in the Housing Market

This article focuses on the role that loans backed by housing collateral play in amplifying housing booms and, more generally, procyclicality in the housing market. The author uses a model developed to include borrower and lender households, as well as a housing market, to examine the impact that altering the loan-to-value ratio (either permanently or countercyclically) might have on the volatility of house prices and mortgage debt.
October 8, 2006

Modelling Financial Channels for Monetary Policy Analysis

The Bank of Canada considers a wide range of information and analysis before making a monetary policy decision and uses carefully articulated models to produce economic projections and to examine alternative scenarios. This article describes an ongoing research agenda at the Bank to develop models in which financial variables play an active role in the transmission of monetary policy actions to economic activity. Such models can help to analyze information from the financial side of the economy and to provide an overall view of the implications of financial developments for the current economic outlook. The authors also explain how this research can help address other issues relevant to the objectives of monetary policy, including how asset-price movements should be taken into account in the monetary policy framework.
November 23, 2004

Real Return Bonds: Monetary Policy Credibility and Short-Term Inflation Forecasting

The break-even inflation rate (BEIR) is calculated by comparing the yields on conventional and Real Return Bonds. Defined as the average rate of inflation that equates the expected returns on these two bonds, the BEIR has the potential to contain useful information about long-run inflation expectations. Yet the BEIR has been higher, on average, and more variable than survey measures of inflation expectations, which may be explained by the effects of premiums and distortions embedded in the BEIR. Because of the difficulty in accounting for these distortions, the BEIR should not be given a large weight as a measure of long-run inflation expectations at this time. However, as the Real Return Bond market continues to develop, the BEIR should become a more useful indicator of inflation expectations. At present, it demonstrates no clear advantage over survey measures and even past inflation rates in forecasting near-term inflation.

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Financial System Review Article

June 7, 2018

The Bank of Canada’s Financial System Survey

This report presents the details of a new semi-annual survey that will improve the Bank of Canada’s surveillance across the financial system and deepen efforts to engage with financial system participants. The survey collects expert opinions on the risks to and resilience of the Canadian financial system as well as on emerging trends and financial innovations. The report presents an overview of the survey and provides high-level results from the spring 2018 survey.
June 11, 2015

Assessing Vulnerabilities in the Canadian Financial System

The authors present the four common cyclical vulnerabilities that appear in financial systems, providing examples of qualitative and quantitative indicators used to monitor these vulnerabilities across different sectors. They also discuss other inputs to the vulnerability assessment and to the internal process used at the Bank of Canada for identifying, evaluating and communicating vulnerabilities and risks, and highlight some of the key challenges in assessing financial system vulnerabilities and risks.
Content Type(s): Publications, Financial System Review Article Topic(s): Financial stability JEL Code(s): G, G0, G01, G1, G10, G2, G20

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Journal Publications

Refereed journals