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Demographics, monetary policy, and the zero lower bound

Author

Listed:
  • Marcin Bielecki

    (Narodowy Bank Polski and University of Warsaw)

  • Michał Brzoza-Brzezina

    (Narodowy Bank Polski and SGH Warsaw School of Economics)

  • Marcin Kolasa

    (Narodowy Bank Polski and SGH Warsaw School of Economics)

Abstract

The recent literature shows that demographic trends may affect the natural rate of interest (NRI), which is one of the key parameters affecting stabilization policies implemented by central banks. However, little is known about the quantitative impact of these processes on monetary policy, especially in the European context, despite persistently low fertility rates and an ongoing increase in longevity in many euro area economies. In this paper we develop a New Keynesian life-cycle model, and use it to assess the importance of population ageing for monetary policy. The model is fitted to euro area data and successfully matches the age profiles of consumption-savings decisions made by European households. It implies that demographic trends have contributed and are projected to continue to contribute significantly to the decline in the NRI, lowering it by more than 1.5 percentage points between 1980 and 2030. Despite being spread over a long time, the impact of ageing on the NRI may lead to a sizable and persistent deflationary bias if the monetary authority fails to account for this slow moving process in real time. We also show that, with the current level of the inflation target, demographic trends have already exacerbated the risk of hitting the lower bound (ZLB) and that the pressure is expected to continue. Delays in updating the NRI estimates by the central bank elevate the ZLB risk even further.

Suggested Citation

  • Marcin Bielecki & Michał Brzoza-Brzezina & Marcin Kolasa, 2018. "Demographics, monetary policy, and the zero lower bound," NBP Working Papers 284, Narodowy Bank Polski, Economic Research Department.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbp:nbpmis:284
    Note: Comments received at the Chief Economists Meeting at the Bank of England, NBP-NBU Conference in Kyiv, Dynare conference in Tokyo and seminars at Deutsche Bundesbank, Lietuvos Bankas and Narodowy Bank Polski are gratefully acknowledged.
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    Cited by:

    1. Carlo Ciccarelli & Matteo Gomellini & Paolo Sestito, 2019. "Demography and Productivity in the Italian Manufacturing Industry: Yesterday and Today," CEIS Research Paper 457, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 16 May 2019.
    2. Papapetrou, Evangelia & Tsalaporta, Pinelopi, 2020. "The impact of population aging in rich countries: What’s the future?," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 77-95.
    3. Claus Brand & Gavin Goy & Wolfgang Lemke, 2020. "Natural Rate Chimera and Bond Pricing Reality," DNB Working Papers 666, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
    4. Lis, Eliza & Nickel, Christiane & Papetti, Andrea, 2020. "Demographics and inflation in the euro area: a two-sector new Keynesian perspective," Working Paper Series 2382, European Central Bank.
    5. Brand, Claus & Bielecki, Marcin & Penalver, Adrian, 2018. "The natural rate of interest: estimates, drivers, and challenges to monetary policy JEL Classification: E52, E43," Occasional Paper Series 217, European Central Bank.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    ageing; monetary policy; zero lower bound; life-cycle models;

    JEL classification:

    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts

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