Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Is the Bank of Israel targeting NGDP?

Scott Sumner has not really seen this so far.

Evan Soltas points to couple of interesting charts showing BoI under Stan Fisher seems to be targeting NGDP (HT: WSJ Blog).

What gives the Bank of Israel’s NGDP level target away, to me, is the temporary increase in inflation in 2008 and 2009, which cancels out the slowdown in real growth such that NGDP growth is constant through the recession, and the tendency of monetary policy to correct for past errors to maintain a 6.5 percent year-over-year growth path; see the swing between 2006 and 2007. As real growth has slowed since the first quarter of 2011, inflation has been allowed to rise.

The idea that Israel may now be pursuing a de facto NGDP target is very exciting — more real-world examples of the policy are needed, especially since the Bank of England has fallen off the bandwagon. Even better, Fischer has written several papers about monetary policy in which he appears more than a little sympathetic to the idea

And Israel economy is doing quite well.
If the Bank of Israel is indeed de facto targeting the path of NGDP under Fischer, the results are impressive. The Israeli unemployment rate, over 9 percent when Fischer took charge, stands just above 5 percent today, having only increased 2 percentage points — from 6 to 8 — during the most recent recession, and the labor market recovery post-recession was swift. Civilian employment grew right through the recession.

Private final consumption expenditures were barely dented by the recession and quickly returned to their path, as have total retailsales. Manufacturing or industrial production has also grown steadily, without the pronounced unit-root drop seen in other developed nations whose central banks target the rate of inflation. (If anything, it seems that Israel’s construction sector is growing a little too fast.)

Israel is a shining example of how successful monetary policy is at macroeconomic stabilization when it targets NGDP.

Hmmm.. Over to Scott Sumner..

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