Monetary Policy

Housing Markets and the Heterogeneous Effects of Monetary Policy Across the Euro Area

Monetary policy has heterogeneous effects across euro area countries. There are strong correlations between cross-country monetary policy potency and housing and mortgage market institutions, namely the share of adjustable-rate mortgages and the homeownership rate. To disentangle the relative importance of these institutions, I incorporate them into a quantitative currency-union New Keynesian model with rich household balance sheets. I calibrate the model to Spain and the euro area. The model fits well: the consumption response in Spain is 2.4 times stronger than the euro area in the model relative to 2.5 in the data. My results reveal that a higher adjustable-rate mortgage share and a higher homeownership rate interact to amplify the effects of monetary policy on economic activity due to smaller mortgage interest payments and a higher fraction of mortgaged homeowners operating in the market. I use the model to show that a banking union requiring shared financial regulation decreases the heterogeneous effects of monetary policy by weakening the pass-through to average mortgage interest rates. Finally, including house prices into the euro area price index stabilizes output at the cost of less stable goods inflation.

Future Policy and Information Dissemination: A Natural Language Processing Approach

Which words matter the most in central bank communication? Making use of a rather unique European monetary policy decision setting, we build the first monetary policy dictionary. We train the dictionary on high frequency movements of the stock market around press conferences of the European Central Bank. This allows us to precisely identify which phrases do the market mainly reacts to. We find that phrases such as "Improved economy", "Market development", and "Stability of the euro" are associated with positive returns. On the other hand, phrases such as "Heightened uncertainties" and "Growth of loans" are associated with negative returns.

A New Keynesian Model with a Rigid Housing Market

House price changes are strongly correlated in the data following monetary policy shocks. I build a New Keynesian model of the housing market where households choose the optimal amount of housing and mortgages. To accommodate realistic house price movements, I extend the housing market structure to include search frictions and house price rigidity so that the housing market clears through the relative fraction of successful buyers and sellers each period. I show that the house price momentum does not translate into slow movements of output and therefore it cannot explain the high degree of persistence found in the data following a contractionary monetary shock. I also highlight important redistributional effects between savers and borrowers in the economy. In particular, house price momentum coupled with the loan-to-value constraint forces the indebted households to cut their consumption for several quarters following a contractionary monetary shock.