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Staff analytical notes

Redistributive Effects of a Change in the Inflation Target

Staff Analytical Note 2017-13 Robert Amano, Thomas J. Carter, Yaz Terajima
In light of the financial crisis and its aftermath, several economists have argued that inflation-targeting central banks should reconsider the level of their inflation targets. While the appropriate level for the inflation target remains an open question, it’s important to note that any transition to a new target would entail certain costs.

Comparing Forward Guidance and Neo-Fisherianism as Strategies for Escaping Liquidity Traps

Staff Analytical Note 2016-16 Robert Amano, Thomas J. Carter, Rhys R. Mendes
What path should policy-makers select for the nominal rate when faced with a liquidity trap during which the effective lower bound binds?

A Primer on Neo-Fisherian Economics

Staff Analytical Note 2016-14 Robert Amano, Thomas J. Carter, Rhys R. Mendes
Conventional models imply that central banks aiming to raise inflation should lower nominal rates and thus stimulate aggregate demand. However, several economists have recently challenged this conventional wisdom in favour of an alternative “neo-Fisherian’’ view under which higher nominal rates might in fact lead to higher inflation.

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Staff discussion papers

Strengthening Inflation Targeting: Review and Renewal Processes in Canada and Other Advanced Jurisdictions

Staff Discussion Paper 2020-7 Robert Amano, Thomas J. Carter, Lawrence L. Schembri
We summarize the review and renewal process at four central banks (Reserve Bank of New Zealand, Bank of England, Sveriges Riksbank and the US Federal Reserve Bank) and compare them with the process at the Bank of Canada, which has been well-established since 2001.

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Staff working papers

Downward Nominal Wage Rigidity Meets the Zero Lower Bound

Staff Working Paper 2017-16 Robert Amano, Stefano Gnocchi
We add downward nominal wage rigidity to a standard New Keynesian model with sticky prices and wages, where the zero lower bound on nominal interest rates is allowed to bind. We find that wage rigidity not only reduces the frequency of zero bound episodes but also mitigates the severity of corresponding recessions.

Price-Level Targeting and Inflation Expectations: Experimental Evidence

Staff Working Paper 2011-18 Robert Amano, Jim Engle-Warnick, Malik Shukayev
In this paper, we use an economics decision-making experiment to test a key assumption underpinning the efficacy of price-level targeting relative to inflation targeting for business cycle stabilization and mitigating the effects of the zero lower bound on nominal interest rates.
Content Type(s): Staff research, Staff working papers Topic(s): Monetary policy framework JEL Code(s): E, E3, E32, E5, E52

Risk Premium Shocks and the Zero Bound on Nominal Interest Rates

Staff Working Paper 2009-27 Robert Amano, Malik Shukayev
There appears to be a disconnect between the importance of the zero bound on nominal interest rates in the real-world and predictions from quantitative DSGE models. Recent economic events have reinforced the relevance of the zero bound for monetary policy whereas quantitative models suggest that the zero bound does not constrain (optimal) monetary policy.
Content Type(s): Staff research, Staff working papers Topic(s): Monetary policy framework JEL Code(s): E, E3, E32, E5, E52

Canadian City Housing Prices and Urban Market Segmentation

Staff Working Paper 2006-49 Jason Allen, Robert Amano, David Byrne, Allan Gregory
The authors provide a detailed empirical analysis of Canadian city housing prices. They examine the long-run relationship between city house prices in Canada from 1981 to 2005 as well as idiosyncratic relations between city prices and city-specific variables.
Content Type(s): Staff research, Staff working papers Topic(s): Regional economic developments JEL Code(s): C, C2, C22, C3, C32, R, R2

Monetary Rules When Economic Behaviour Changes

Staff Working Paper 1999-8 Robert Amano, Donald Coletti, Tiff Macklem
This paper examines the implications of changes in economic behaviour for simple inflation-forecast–based monetary rules of the type currently used at two inflation-targeting central banks. Three types of changes in economic behaviour are considered, changes that are motivated by developments in monetary and fiscal policy in the 1990s: changes in monetary policy credibility, changes in […]

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Bank publications

Bank of Canada Review articles

May 16, 2016

The Micro and Macro of Downward Nominal Wage Rigidity

The article examines the extent of downward nominal wage rigidity in Canada and its implications for monetary policy. The authors ask whether its existence is a sufficient argument for a higher inflation target if concerns about the effective lower bound are adequately addressed.
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.
April 9, 2009

Next Steps for Canadian Monetary Policy

In 2006, the Bank initiated a research program exploring two alternatives to the current inflation-targeting framework: (i) lowering the inflation target and (ii) shifting to a price-level target. This article discusses progress to date, places the Bank's findings in the context of a broader literature, and identifies avenues for future research.
April 15, 2006

Issues in Inflation Targeting: A Summary of the Bank of Canada Conference Held 28-29 April 2005

The Bank of Canada's 2005 conference focused on two critical issues: price-level targets versus inflation targets, and the appropriate level of inflation. Session topics included new methodological approaches to examining the validity of the New Keynesian Phillips curve for Canada; the monetary policy implications of border effects and the financial-accelerator model; the zero lower bound on nominal interest rates; and inflation and welfare in general-equilibrium macroeconomic models. A panel of invited speakers discussed the issues of each session, and two distinguished speakers gave their perspectives on inflation.
May 21, 2003

Conference Summary: Price Adjustment and Monetary Policy

The 2002 Bank of Canada Conference focused on price adjustment, a critically important issue for monetary policy. Given the acceptance throughout the 1990s and 2000s of the existence of price stickiness in goods or labour markets, or both, and of the important role that monetary policy can play in an economy, the time was right for a conference that would focus on current developments in this area of research, particularly within a Canadian context. Conference papers covering both theoretical and empirical studies explored such themes as sources of the persistence of inflation, forward-looking models of inflation, models of inflation in open economies, the macroeconomic effects of technology shocks, and models of the interaction between wages, prices, and real economic outcomes.
May 15, 2000

Credibility and Monetary Policy

A highly credible monetary policy helps to reduce the degree of uncertainty that can surround the objectives of such policy. When the monetary policy pursued by the central bank is credible, the expectations of the public are focused on a target. If the public believes that the Bank will act to bring inflation back to the target, then its expectations will not react so strongly to fluctuating price trends. In turn, fluctuations in inflation, interest rates, output, and employment should be less pronounced than in the absence of such credibility. The adoption of inflation control as a monetary policy objective by some countries has led central banks to take steps to enhance the credibility of monetary policy. For the Bank of Canada, these include * the publication of our Monetary Policy Report each May and November, with formal updates each February and August * the initiation of communications activities across the country * the use of the overnight interest rate as a short-term operating target * the issuing of a press release each time the Bank changes its key rates To date, most of the studies on this topic have concluded that success in keeping inflation within a target range has helped to increase the credibility of Canadian monetary policy. These surveys suggest that expected inflation, which stood at about 5 per cent in 1990, declined to around 2 per cent by 1999 (Chart 1, page 15). Indeed, according to these surveys, for the entire period during which the Bank has had a target range for inflation, expected inflation rates have remained within that range. Inflation expectations have also reacted very little to changes in the total CPI, suggesting that the targets have helped to focus expectations on the target rate and have thus enhanced the credibility of monetary policy (Chart 2, page 16). One particular study shows that the life of collective wage agreements in Canada has been increasing and that the number of such agreements containing cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) clauses has steadily declined. The authors of this study suggest that this may reflect the greater credibility of Canadian monetary policy (Table 1, page 16). The proportion of mortgages with five-year terms is now higher than it was in the mid-1980s, and many financial institutions have been offering 7- to 10-year mortgages. This also suggests that inflation targets have gained credibility.

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Journal publications

Refereed journals

  • "Risk Premium Shocks and the Zero Bound on Nominal Interest Rates"
    (with Malik Shukayev). Forthcoming Journal of Money, Credit, and Banking.
  • "Optimal Price-Level Drift Under Commitment in the Canonical New Keynesian Model"
    (with Steven Ambler and Malik Shukayev). Canadian Journal of Economics, 45 (3): 1023-1036.
  • "Trend Inflation, Wage and Price Rigidities, and Productivity Growth"
    (with Kevin Moran, Stephen Murchison, and Andrew Rennison) Journal of Monetary Economics (2009) 56: 353-364.
  • "Canadian City Housing Prices and Urban Market Segmentation"
    (with Jason Allen, David P. Byrne, and Allan W. Gregory). Canadian Journal of Economics (2009) 42: 1132-1149.
  • "The Macroeconomic Effects of Non-Zero Trend Inflation"
    (with Steve Ambler and Nooman Rebei). Journal of Money, Credit and Banking (2007) 39: 1819-1836.
  • "Inflation Persistence and Monetary Policy: A Simple Result"
    Economics Letters (2007) 94: 26-31.
  • "Government Expenditures and the Permanent-Income Model"
    (with Tony Wirjanto) Review of Economic Dynamics (1998) 1: 719-730.
  • "Intratemporal Substitution and Government Spending"
    (with Tony Wirjanto) Review of Economics and Statistics (1997) 79: 605-609.
  • "Intertemporal Substitution, Imports and the Permanent-Income Model"
    (with Tony Wirjanto) Journal of International Economics (1996) 40: 439-457.
  • "Nonstationary Regression Model with a Lagged Dependent Variable"
    (with Tony Wirjanto) Communications in Statistics: Theory and Methods (1996) 25: 1489-1503.
  • "Terms of Trade and Real Exchange Rates: The Canadian Evidence"
    (with Simon van Norden) Journal of International Money and Finance (1995) 14: 83-104.