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Why is inflation so low in the euro area?

Author

Listed:
  • Antonio M. Conti

    () (Bank of Italy)

  • Stefano Neri

    () (Bank of Italy)

  • Andrea Nobili

    () (Bank of Italy)

Abstract

Inflation in the euro area has been falling steadily since early 2013 and at the end of 2014 turned negative. Part of the decline has been due to oil prices, but the weakness of aggregate demand has also played a significant role. This paper uses a VAR model to quantify the contribution of oil supply, aggregate demand and monetary policy shocks (identified by means of sign restrictions) on inflation in the euro area. The analysis suggests that in the last two years inflation has been driven down by all three factors, as the effective lower bound to policy rates has prevented the European Central Bank from reducing the short-term rates to support economic activity and align inflation with the definition of price stability. Remarkably, the joint contribution of monetary and demand shocks is at least as important as that of oil price developments to the deviation of inflation from its baseline. Country-by-country analysis shows that both aggregate demand and oil supply shocks have driven inflation down everywhere, albeit with varying intensity. The findings stand confirmed after a series of robustness checks.

Suggested Citation

  • Antonio M. Conti & Stefano Neri & Andrea Nobili, 2015. "Why is inflation so low in the euro area?," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 1019, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  • Handle: RePEc:bdi:wptemi:td_1019_15
    as

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

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    2. N. Berardi. & E. Gautier., 2016. "Adjustments in consumer prices in France in periods of low inflation," Quarterly selection of articles - Bulletin de la Banque de France, Banque de France, issue 41, pages 51-65, spring.
    3. Abbate, Angela & Eickmeier, Sandra & Prieto, Esteban, 2016. "Financial shocks and inflation dynamics," Discussion Papers 41/2016, Deutsche Bundesbank.
    4. Harashima, Taiji, 2018. "Why Are Inflation and Real Interest Rates So Low? A Mechanism of Low and Floating Real Interest and Inflation Rates," MPRA Paper 84311, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. S. Avouyi-Dovi. & R. Lecat. & C. O’Donnell. & B. Bureau. & J.-P. Villetelle., 2016. "Corporate loans at particularly low rates in France," Quarterly selection of articles - Bulletin de la Banque de France, Banque de France, issue 41, pages 27-39, spring.
    6. Jongrim Ha & M. Ayhan Kose & Franziska L. Ohnsorge, 2019. "Understanding Inflation in Emerging and Developing Economies," Koç University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum Working Papers 1902, Koc University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum.
    7. Sune Karlsson & Pär Österholm, 2020. "A note on the stability of the Swedish Phillips curve," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 59(6), pages 2573-2612, December.
    8. Elena Bobeica & Marek Jarociński, 2019. "Missing Disinflation and Missing Inflation: A VAR Perspective," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 15(1), pages 199-232, March.
    9. Hanisch, Max, 2019. "US monetary policy and the euro area," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 77-96.
    10. R. Cezar & A. Duguet & G. Gaulier & V. Vicard, 2017. "Competition for global value added: domestic and export market shares," Rue de la Banque, Banque de France, issue 36, january..
    11. N. Berardi. & E. Gautier., 2016. "Adjustments in consumer prices in France in periods of low inflation," Quarterly selection of articles - Bulletin de la Banque de France, Banque de France, issue 41, pages 51-65, spring.
    12. Mariarosaria Comunale & Jonas Striaukas, 2017. "Unconventional Monetary Policy: Interest Rates and Low Inflation. A Review of Literature and Methods," Bank of Lithuania Occasional Paper Series 13, Bank of Lithuania.
    13. Andrea Colabella, 2019. "Do the ECB’s monetary policies benefit emerging market economies? A GVAR analysis on the crisis and post-crisis period," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 1207, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    14. S. Castor. & H. Caradant. & V. Chauvin. & T. Mosquera Yon., 2016. "France’s international trade in services," Quarterly selection of articles - Bulletin de la Banque de France, Banque de France, issue 41, pages 17-26, spring.
    15. Jakob de Haan & Marco Hoeberichts & Renske Maas & Federica Teppa, 2016. "Inflation in the euro area and why it matters," DNB Occasional Studies 1403, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
    16. Galati, Gabriele & Gorgi, Zion & Moessner, Richhild & Zhou, Chen, 2018. "Deflation risk in the euro area and central bank credibility," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 167(C), pages 124-126.
    17. Antonio M. Conti & Andrea Nobili, 2019. "Wages and prices in the euro area: exploring the nexus," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 518, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    18. Mazumder, Sandeep, 2018. "Inflation in Europe after the Great Recession," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 202-213.
    19. Lei Lv & Zhixin Liu & Yingying Xu, 2019. "Technological progress, globalization and low-inflation: Evidence from the United States," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 14(4), pages 1-19, April.
    20. Antonio M. Conti & Elisa Guglielminetti & Marianna Riggi, 2019. "Labour productivity and the wageless recovery," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 1257, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    21. Max Hanisch, 2017. "US Monetary Policy and the Euro Area," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1701, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    22. S. Humbertclaude. & R. Lecat. & F. Monteil., 2016. "France’s national economic wealth declined by 1.8% in 2014," Quarterly selection of articles - Bulletin de la Banque de France, Banque de France, issue 41, pages 41-49, spring.
    23. RUGEA Felicia Elisabeta, 2017. "Towards Sustainable Development: Real Convergence And Growth In Romania," Revista Economica, Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu, Faculty of Economic Sciences, vol. 69(4), pages 137-147, November.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    oil supply; monetary policy; inflation; VAR models; Bayesian methods;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C32 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes; State Space Models
    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy

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