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8306 Results

Menu Costs, Relative Prices, and Inflation: Evidence for Canada

Staff Working Paper 1997-14 Robert Amano, Tiff Macklem
The menu-cost models of price adjustment developed by Ball and Mankiw (1994;1995) predict that short-run movements in inflation should be positively related to the skewness and the variance of the distribution of disaggregated relative-price shocks in each period. We test these predictions on Canadian data using the distribution of changes in disaggregated producer prices to measure the skewness and standard deviation of relative-price shocks.
May 30, 1997

Flexible Exchange Rates in a World of Low Inflation

Remarks Gordon Thiessen FOREX '97 Conference Toronto, Ontario
There is a good deal of discussion these days about Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) in Europe - about the benefits and difficulties of organizing such a union. However, today I would like to examine a somewhat different issue, one that is at the other end of the spectrum; namely, How is the international system of flexible exchange rates working these days?
May 14, 1997

The changing business activities of banks in Canada

Over the last 30 years, the business mix of banks in Canada has changed significantly. Progress in information-processing technology, legislative changes, and market forces have combined to blur the traditional distinctions between banks and other financial institutions and have allowed banks to offer a much wider range of products and services. In this article, the author reviews the expansion of bank lending to households over this period and their recent movement into personal wealth management. While these trends were facilitated by revisions to legislation, they also reflected the changing needs of the "baby boom" generation, first as home-buyers and, more recently, as middle-aged investors. On the commercial and corporate side, banks reacted to the rapid expansion of securities markets (and to the reduced demand for intermediation by both lenders/depositors and borrowers) by moving into investment banking, after legislative changes opened this business to them in the late 1980s. They also used their expertise in credit assessment and risk management to provide credit guarantees and to act as counterparties and intermediaries in derivatives markets. Notable in this broadening of bank activities has been their more recent entry into the trust, mutual fund, and retail brokerage business. The banks have also made preliminary forays into insurance. The expansion of off-balance-sheet activities has made fee income an increasingly important part of bank earnings. The article also looks at the emerging tools and techniques that will most likely transform the structure of banking in the future.
May 13, 1997

Capacity constraints, price adjustment, and monetary policy

The short-run Phillips curve describes a positive short-run relationship between the level of economic activity and inflation. When the level of demand in the economy as a whole runs ahead of the level of output that the economy can supply in the short run, price pressures increase and inflation rises. This article reviews the origins of the short-run Phillips curve with particular emphasis on the long-standing idea that the shape of this curve may be non-linear, with inflation becoming more sensitive to changes in output when the cycle of economic activity is high than when it is low. This type of non-linearity in the short-run Phillips curve, which is typically motivated by the effects of capacity constraints that limit the ability of the economy to expand in the short run, has recently attracted renewed attention. The article surveys recent research that finds some evidence of this type of non-linearity in the Phillips curve in Canada and considers the potential implications for monetary policy.

A Micro Approach to the Issue of Hysteresis in Unemployment: Evidence from the 1988­1990 Labour Market Activity Survey

Staff Working Paper 1997-12 Gordon Wilkinson
This paper uses a rich set of microeconomic labour market data—the 1988­90 Labour Market Activity Survey published by Statistics Canada—to test whether there is negative duration dependence in unemployment spells. It updates and extends similar work carried out by Jones (1995) who used the 1986­87 Labour Market Activity Survey.
Content Type(s): Staff research, Staff working papers Topic(s): Labour markets JEL Code(s): E, E2, E24

The Structure of Interest Rates in Canada: Information Content about Medium-Term Inflation

Staff Working Paper 1997-10 Jim Day, Ron Lange
This paper examines the relationship between the term structure of interest rates and future changes in inflation for Canada using a newly constructed par-value yield series. The main conclusion of the empirical work is that the slope of the nominal term structure from 1- to 5-year maturities is a reasonably good predictor of future changes in inflation over these horizons.
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