Thomas J. Carter is the Director of International Model Development in the International Economic Analysis Department. In this capacity, he plays an important role in expanding and maintaining a suite of models that the Bank uses to explore various economic issues and their implications for policy. He also conducts research and analysis on a range of monetary policy framework issues.
Thomas received his PhD in economics from Princeton University and previously worked as a Principal Economist in the Canadian Economic Analysis Department.
Staff analytical notes
This note provides an update on Bank of Canada staff’s assessment of the Canadian neutral rate. The neutral rate is the policy rate needed to keep output at its potential level and inflation at target once the effects of any cyclical shocks have dissipated. This medium- to long-run concept serves as a benchmark for gauging the degree of monetary stimulus provided by a given policy setting.
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.
What path should policy-makers select for the nominal rate when faced with a liquidity trap during which the effective lower bound binds?
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.
Staff discussion papers
This paper presents Bank of Canada staff’s current assessment of the US neutral rate, along with a newly developed set of models on which that assessment is based. The overall assessment is that the US neutral rate currently lies in a range of 1.75 to 2.75 percent.
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.
We analyze money financing of fiscal transfers (helicopter money) in two simple New Keynesian models: a “textbook” model in which all money is non-interest-bearing (e.g., all money is currency), and a more realistic model with interest-bearing reserves.
In 1991, Canada became the second country to adopt an inflation target as a central pillar of its monetary policy framework. The regime has proven much more successful than initially expected, both in achieving price stability and in stabilizing the real economy against a wide range of shocks.
The authors use microdata from the 1999 and 2005 Surveys of Financial Security to identify changes in household debt, and discuss their potential implications for monetary policy and financial stability. They document an increase in the debt-income ratio, which rose from 0.75 to 0.95, on average.
Staff working papers
Recent years have seen renewed interest in the regulation of interbank markets. A review of the literature in this area identifies two gaps: first, the literature has tended to make ad hoc assumptions about the interbank contract space, which makes it difficult to generate convincing policy prescriptions; second, the literature has tended to focus on ex-post interventions that kick in only after an interbank disruption has come underway (e.g., open-market operations, lender-of-last-resort interventions, bail-outs), rather than ex-ante prudential policies.
The long-run relation between growth and inflation has not yet been studied in the context of nominal price and wage rigidities, despite the fact that these rigidities now figure prominently in workhorse macroeconomic models.
Bank of Canada Review articles
April 9, 2009
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.