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Demographics, monetary policy and the zero lower bound


  • Marcin Bielecki

    (University of Warsaw and Narodowy Bank Polski)

  • Marcin Kolasa

    (Narodowy Bank Polski)

  • Michał Brzoza-Brzezina

    (Narodowy Bank Polski)


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 significantly to the decline in the NRI, lowering it by 2 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 & Marcin Kolasa & Michał Brzoza-Brzezina, 2018. "Demographics, monetary policy and the zero lower bound," 2018 Meeting Papers 810, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed018:810

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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. Ansgar Rannenberg, 2019. "Inequality, the risk of secular stagnation and the increase in household deb," Working Paper Research 375, National Bank of Belgium.
    3. Frank Smets, 2021. "Comment expliquer la faiblesse durable des taux directeurs dans la zone euro ?," Revue d'économie financière, Association d'économie financière, vol. 0(4), pages 47-60.
    4. Marcin Bielecki & Michał Brzoza-Brzezina & Marcin Kolasa, 2022. "Intergenerational Redistributive Effects of Monetary Policy [Price-Level Changes and the Redistribution of Nominal Wealth Across the Euro Area]," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 20(2), pages 549-580.
    5. Brand, Claus & Goy, Gavin W & Lemke, Wolfgang, 2020. "Natural rate chimera and bond pricing reality," VfS Annual Conference 2020 (Virtual Conference): Gender Economics 224546, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    6. Marcin Bielecki & Michał Brzoza-Brzezina & Marcin Kolasa, 2022. "Aging, Migration and Monetary Policy in Poland," Gospodarka Narodowa. The Polish Journal of Economics, Warsaw School of Economics, issue 1, pages 5-30.
    7. Leon Podkaminer, 2021. "Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium: macroeconomics at a dead end," Bank i Kredyt, Narodowy Bank Polski, vol. 52(2), pages 97-122.
    8. Tomas Reichenbachas & Linas Jurkšas & Rokas Kaminskas, 2021. "Natural real rates of interest across Euro area countries: Are R-stars getting closer together?," Bank of Lithuania Discussion Paper Series 24, Bank of Lithuania.
    9. Kimberly A. Berg & Chadwick C. Curtis & Steven Lugauer & Nelson C. Mark, 2021. "Demographics and Monetary Policy Shocks," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 53(6), pages 1229-1266, September.
    10. Papetti, Andrea, 2021. "Demographics and the natural real interest Rate: historical and projected paths for the euro area," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 132(C).
    11. 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.
    12. Ludmila Fadejeva & Zeynep Kantur, 2020. "Wealth distribution and monetary policy," Working Papers 2020/03, Latvijas Banka.
    13. Patrik Kupkovic, 2020. "R-star in Transition Economies: Evidence from Slovakia," Working and Discussion Papers WP 3/2020, Research Department, National Bank of Slovakia.
    14. Alberto Locarno & Alessandra Locarno, 2021. "Is inflation targeting a strategy past its sell-by date?," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 1316, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    15. 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.
    16. 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.
    17. Michał Brzoza-Brzezina & Jacek Suda, 2021. "Are DSGE models irreparably flawed?," Bank i Kredyt, Narodowy Bank Polski, vol. 52(3), pages 227-252.

    More about this item

    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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