Pierre St-Amant

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Staff Analytical Notes

April 2016 Annual Reassessment of Potential Output in Canada

This note summarizes the Bank of Canada’s 2016 annual reassessment of potential output growth, which is projected to be 1.5 per cent over 2016–18 and 1.6 per cent in 2019–20. This projection is weaker than the one presented in the April 2015 Monetary Policy Report.

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Staff Discussion Papers

Trends in Firm Entry and New Entrepreneurship in Canada

Staff Discussion Paper 2015-11 Shutao Cao, Mohanad Salameh, Mai Seki, Pierre St-Amant
Recently released data show downward trends for both the firm entry rate and the rate of new entrepreneurship since the early 1980s in Canada. This paper documents these trends and discusses potential explanations.

Measuring Potential Output at the Bank of Canada: The Extended Multivariate Filter and the Integrated Framework

Staff Discussion Paper 2015-1 Lise Pichette, Pierre St-Amant, Ben Tomlin, Karine Anoma
Estimating potential output and the output gap - the difference between actual output and its potential - is important for the proper conduct of monetary policy. However, the measurement and interpretation of potential output, and hence the output gap, is fraught with uncertainty, since it is unobservable.

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Staff Working Papers

The Trend Unemployment Rate in Canada: Searching for the Unobservable

In this paper, we assess several methods that have been used to measure the Canadian trend unemployment rate (TUR). We also consider improvements and extensions to some existing methods.

The Productivity Slowdown in Canada: An ICT Phenomenon?

Staff Working Paper 2019-2 Jeffrey Mollins, Pierre St-Amant
We ask whether a weaker contribution of information and communication technologies (ICT) to productivity growth could account for the productivity slowdown observed in Canada since the early 2000s. To answer this question, we consider several methods capturing channels through which ICT could affect aggregate productivity growth.
Content Type(s): Staff research, Staff working papers Topic(s): Productivity JEL Code(s): D, D2, D24, O, O4, O41, O47

Firm Dynamics and Multifactor Productivity: An Empirical Exploration

Staff Working Paper 2018-15 Pierre St-Amant, David Tessier
There are indications that business dynamism has declined in advanced economies. In particular, firm entry and exit rates have fallen, suggesting that the creative destruction process has lost some of its vitality. Meanwhile, productivity growth has slowed. Some believe that lower entry and exit rates partly explain the weaker productivity growth.
Content Type(s): Staff research, Staff working papers Topic(s): Firm dynamics, Productivity JEL Code(s): D, D2, D24, M, M1, M13, O, O4, O47

Dismiss the Gap? A Real-Time Assessment of the Usefulness of Canadian Output Gaps in Forecasting Inflation

We use a new real-time database for Canada to study various output gap measures. This includes recently developed measures based on models incorporating many variables as inputs (and therefore requiring real-time data for many variables).

Credit Conditions and Consumption, House Prices and Debt: What Makes Canada Different?

Staff Working Paper 2015-40 John Muellbauer, Pierre St-Amant, David Williams
There is widespread agreement that, in the United States, higher house prices raise consumption via collateral or possibly wealth effects. The presence of similar channels in Canada would have important implications for monetary policy transmission.

Financial Stress, Monetary Policy, and Economic Activity

Staff Working Paper 2010-12 Fuchun Li, Pierre St-Amant
This paper examines empirically the impact of financial stress on the transmission of monetary policy shocks in Canada. The model used is a threshold vector autoregression in which a regime change occurs if financial stress conditions cross a critical threshold.

Canada's Exchange Rate Regime and North American Economic Integration: The Role of Risk-Sharing Mechanisms

Staff Working Paper 1999-17 Zahir Antia, Ramdane Djoudad, Pierre St-Amant
Our contribution in this paper is threefold. First, we survey the empirical literature on consumption smoothing mechanisms of regional economic shocks. Second, building on the work of Asdrubali et al. (1996), we present evidence on the role played by various smoothing mechanisms for specific economic shocks affecting Canadian provinces. Third, we assess whether smoothing mechanisms […]
Content Type(s): Staff research, Staff working papers Topic(s): Exchange rate regimes, Exchange rates JEL Code(s): F, F3, F33, F36, G, G1, G15

Optimal Currency Areas: A Review of the Recent Literature

Staff Working Paper 1999-16 Robert Lafrance, Pierre St-Amant
This paper surveys the recent literature on optimal currency areas (OCAs). Topics that are covered include theoretical developments in the context of general-equilibrium models and empirical work on shocks asymmetry and adjustment mechanisms. Issues relating to the endogeneity of OCA criteria, the role of exchange rate flexibility in promoting greater macroeconomic stability, and the links […]
Content Type(s): Staff research, Staff working papers Topic(s): Exchange rate regimes JEL Code(s): E, E4, E42, F, F3, F33

Résultats empiriques multi-pays relatifs à l'impact des cibles d'inflation sur la crédibilité de la politique monétaire

Staff Working Paper 1998-23 Pierre St-Amant, David Tessier
Over the last few years, many countries have adopted inflation targets. The objective of this paper is to report some empirical results that bear on the link between the adoption of inflation targets and the behaviour of the main macroeconomic variables. After a discussion of some recent articles analyzing international experience, some simple statistical tests […]

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Technical Reports

A Comparison of Twelve Macroeconomic Models of the Canadian Economy

In this report, the authors examine and compare twelve private and public sector models of the Canadian economy with respect to their paradigm, structure, and dynamic properties. These open-economy models can be grouped into two economic paradigms.

The Performance and Robustness of Simple Monetary Policy Rules in Models of the Canadian Economy

In this report, we evaluate several simple monetary policy rules in twelve private and public sector models of the Canadian economy. Our results indicate that none of the simple policy rules we examined is robust to model uncertainty, in that no single rule performs well in all models.
Content Type(s): Staff research, Technical reports Topic(s): Uncertainty and monetary policy JEL Code(s): E, E5, E52, E58

Measurement of the Output Gap: A Discussion of Recent Research at the Bank of Canada

Technical Report No. 79 Pierre St-Amant, Simon van Norden
In this paper, we discuss some methodologies for estimating potential output and the output gap that have recently been studied at the Bank of Canada. The assumptions and econometric techniques used by the different methodologies are discussed in turn, and applications to Canadian data are presented.
Content Type(s): Staff research, Technical reports Topic(s): Potential output JEL Code(s): D, D2, D24

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Bank Publications

Bank of Canada Review articles

August 15, 2013

The Accuracy of Short-Term Forecast Combinations

This article examines whether combining forecasts of real GDP from different models can improve forecast accuracy and considers which model-combination methods provide the best performance. In line with previous literature, the authors find that combining forecasts generally improves forecast accuracy relative to various benchmarks. Unlike several previous studies, however, they find that, rather than assigning equal weights to each model, unequal weighting based on the past forecast performance of models tends to improve accuracy when forecasts across models are substantially different.
March 16, 2008

Developing a Framework to Assess Financial Stability: Conference Highlights and Lessons

Central banks are still defining their approach to financial stability and are at an early stage in the development of useful models. The Bank of Canada's 2007 economic conference was organized to stimulate progress in the development of financial-stability frameworks. Among the highlights reported here are the discussions centred around three proposed frameworks: a contingent-claims-analysis framework, a semi-structural framework, and structural financial-stability models. Participants also reported on their experiences with stress-testing under the International Monetary Fund's Financial Sector Assessment Program and discussed the implications for financial stability of linkages among payment, clearing, and settlement systems.
November 22, 2004

The Evolving Financial System and Public Policy: Conference Highlights and Lessons

At the 12th annual Bank of Canada economic conference, held in Ottawa on 4 and 5 December 2003, representatives from various public and private organizations and Bank of Canada staff discussed papers presented on three key issues affecting the financial system: financial contagion, the implications of bank diversification, and financial sector regulation. Papers on financial contagion studied the effect of globalization on Canadian foreign-asset exposures, developed a general-equilibrium model of a competitive interfirm lending market in which firms can borrow or lend, and used market-based indicators to determine the probability that contagion can be generated by interbank exposures. The papers on bank diversification focused on the links between the changing behaviour of financial institutions and risk-return trade-offs. Issues of financial sector regulation included the relationship between governance and financial sector soundness, the theoretical basis of bank regulations for capital requirements, and the implications of bank capital requirements for the transmission of monetary policy. A panel discussion provided extended discussion of the conference papers.
August 18, 2002

The Role of Simple Rules in the Conduct of Canadian Monetary Policy

The third strategy employed by the Bank when dealing with uncertainty is the consideration of appropriate simple reaction functions or "rules" for the setting of the policy interest rate. Since John Taylor's presentation of his much-discussed rule, research on simple policy rules has exploded. Simple rules have several advantages. In particular, they are easy to construct and communicate and are believed by some to be robust, in the sense of generating good results in a variety of economic models. This article provides an overview of the recent research regarding the usefulness and robustness of simple monetary policy rules, particularly in models of the Canadian economy. It also describes and explains the role of simple rules in the conduct of monetary policy in Canada.
November 14, 1999

Real Exchange Rate Indexes for the Canadian Dollar

In this article, the authors explain the methodology used to construct real exchange rate (RER) indexes. They also compare and assess various Canadian RER indexes from both an empirical and conceptual standpoint. The authors conclude that both theory and empirical evidence suggest that the best RER indexes are those based on unit labour costs. They note, however, that, for practical reasons, policy-makers should also consider RER indexes based on prices when formulating monetary policy.

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