Francesca Diluiso, Barbara Annicchiarico and Marco Carli
While climate change is often seen as a long-term concern, climate mitigation policies can have different short-term effects, since they affect the transmission mechanism of conventional macroeconomic shocks. In a new working paper, we show that cap-and-trade schemes lead to lower volatility in GDP and financial variables, and result in reduced welfare costs of the business cycle, when compared to the more widely known carbon taxes. As we find that these welfare differences are primarily driven by distortions in financial markets, we argue that countercyclical macroprudential regulation, even without any green-biased component, can effectively align the welfare performance of these policies and mitigate their short-run costs.
Álvaro Fernández-Gallardo, Simon Lloyd and Ed Manuel
Since the 2007–09 Global Financial Crisis, central banks have developed a range of macroprudential policies (‘macropru’) to address fault lines in the financial system. A key aim of macropru is to reduce ‘left-tail risks‘ – ie, minimise the probability and severity of future economic crises. However, building this resilience could influence other parts of the GDP-growth distribution and so may not always be costless. In our Working Paper, we gauge these potential costs and benefits by estimating the effects of macropru on the entire GDP-growth distribution, and explore its transmission channels. We find that macropru is effective at reducing the variance of GDP growth, and that it does so by reducing the probability and severity of excessive credit booms.
Kristin Forbes, Christian Friedrich and Dennis Reinhardt
Recent episodes of financial stress, including the ‘dash for cash’ at the onset of the Covid-19 (Covid) pandemic, pressure in the UK’s liability-driven investment funds in 2022, and the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank in 2023, were stark reminders of the vulnerability of financial institutions to shocks that disrupt liquidity and access to funding. This post explores how the funding choices of banking systems and corporates affected their resilience during the early stages of Covid and whether subsequent policy actions were effective at mitigating financial stress. The results suggest that policy responses targeting specific structural vulnerabilities were successful at reducing financial stress.
In less than two decades, the system of market-based finance (MBF) – which involves mainly non-bank financial institutions (NBFIs) providing credit to the economy through bonds rather than loans – has both mitigated and amplified the economic effects of financial crises. It mitigated effects after the global financial crisis (GFC), when it substituted for banks in providing credit. But it amplified effects at the outbreak of the Covid pandemic, when NBFIs propagated a dash for cash (DFC), and more recently when pension fund gilt sales exacerbated increases in yields. This post outlines five different aspects of MBF that contribute to such amplification and summarises some policy proposals – suggested and debated internationally by regulators, academics and market participants – to make MBF more resilient.
Open-ended funds (OEFs) offer daily redemptions to investors, often while holding illiquid assets that take longer to sell. There is evidence that this mismatch creates an incentive for investors to redeem ahead of others, which could lead to large redemptions from OEFs and asset price falls. Some research has suggested that ‘swing pricing’ can help to moderate these redemptions, but until now, no-one has considered the impact of its use on the wider economy. In a recent paper, we carry out a financial stability cost-benefit analysis of more widespread and consistent usage of swing pricing by OEFs, finding that enhanced swing pricing could reduce amplification of shocks to corporate bond prices, providing benefits to the financial system and economy.
Alina Barnett, Sinem Hacioglu Hoke and Simon Lloyd
Since 2007, macroprudential policymakers have grappled with a broad set of vulnerabilities. While regulators cannot be sure what risks the next decade will feature, they can be sure that the set of issues will continuously evolve. In this post, we explore threetimely challenges that financial stability policymakers are likely to face in the coming years, including risks associated with: non-bank financial intermediation, cryptoassets and decentralised finance (DeFi), and climate change. These challenges have been noted by many, and are already stimulating development of macroprudential frameworks. But while some of this development can build on well-grounded principles for financial stability policy, other aspects are likely to come up against threetimeless challenges, requiring novel and innovative thinking to overcome.
Many UK firms weathered the Covid shock by taking on debt. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in particular borrowed at an unprecedented rate and their debt increased by around a quarter since end-2019. But debt that allowed SMEs to survive the pandemic could now hamper the recovery as indebted firms may struggle to invest and grow. Debt on SMEs’ balance sheets could also make firms more vulnerable to future shocks and could amplify downturns if indebted firms reduce investment more following shocks. To understand how investment might evolve, our recent FS paper examines how leverage affected SME investment during and after the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) and discusses potential differences given regulatory and other changes since the GFC.
Any distributional effects on credit of macroprudential policies are only one part of the distributional story. Relatively little is known about how such policies affect the income distribution in the longer term via their role in preventing crises or mitigating their severity. Our paper helps to fill that gap in the literature by looking at the impact of past recessions and crises on inequality, and the amplifying roles of credit and capital within that. This helps to shed light on the distributional implications of not intervening – in the form of an amplified recession. We find that inequality rises following recessions and that rapid credit growth prior to recessions exacerbates that effect by around 40%.
Stephen Millard, Margarita Rubio and Alexandra Varadi
The 2008 global financial crisis showed the need for effective macroprudential policy. But what tools should macroprudential policy makers use and how effective are they? We examined these questions in in a recent staff working paper. We introduced different macroprudential tools into a dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) model of the UK economy and compared their impact on the economy and household welfare, as well as their interaction with each other and with monetary policy. We found that capital requirements reduce the effects of financial shocks. Instead, a limit on how much of borrowers’ income is spent on mortgage interest payments reduces the volatility of lending, output and inflation resulting from housing market shocks.
Central banks don’t just care about what is expected to happen. They also care about what could happen if things turn out worse than expected. In line with this, an emerging literature has developed models for measuring and predicting overall levels of macroeconomic risk. This body of work has focused on estimating the level of ‘tail risk‘ in a country by monitoring a range of domestic developments. But this misses a key part of the picture. In a recent Staff Working Paper, we show that monitoring developments abroad is as important as monitoring developments at home when assessing the vulnerability of the economy to a severe downturn.