Will a Common European Monetary Policy Have Asymmetric Effects?
We survey the existing work on the cross-country differences in the transmission of European monetary policy. We find that prior work, focusing on macroeconomic data, does not clearly answer the question posed in the title and offer some explanations for the ambiguity. Aside from the inappropriate design of the prior empirical exercises, we point to the need to use microeconomic data to disentangle the potentially confounding effects of differences in the behavior of agents in different countries and the composition of agents across countries. We review the leading theories of monetary non-neutrality to find the structural features of the economy that in principle could alter the transmission mechanism. We provide some evidence that these structural features do differ markedly among the major European economies. We then explore the potential importance of these structural factors drawing on firm-level data from one country, Italy, and we show how the business cycle has differentially affected firms in Italy over the last decade. It appears that the 1992 monetary tightening and 1993 recession were not uniformly felt by Italian firms, but differed along the lines suggested by several of the theories. Several of the dimensions which appear to be important in the Italian experience are dimensions which vary noticeably across European countries, suggesting that further work on firm-level comparisons in other European countries may be valuable.
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- Bernanke, Ben S. & Gertler, Mark & Gilchrist, Simon, 1999.
"The financial accelerator in a quantitative business cycle framework,"
Handbook of Macroeconomics,in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 21, pages 1341-1393
- Bernanke, B. & Gertler, M. & Gilchrist, S., 1998. "The Financial Accelerator in a Quantitative Business Cycle Framework," Working Papers 98-03, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
- Ben Bernanke & Mark Gertler & Simon Gilchrist, 1998. "The Financial Accelerator in a Quantitative Business Cycle Framework," NBER Working Papers 6455, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Guiso, Luigi & Jappelli, Tullio & Terlizzese, Daniele, 1991. "Why is Italy's Savings Rate So High?," CEPR Discussion Papers 572, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.