Nordic Economic Policy Review 2020

Financial Regulation and Macroeconomic Stability in the Nordics

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How well designed are the financial regulations that have been imposed after the global financial crisis in 2008–09 and the subsequent euro crisis? Will the new bail-in rules work in a systemic crisis, or do we risk further costly bail-outs by governments? How does monetary policy influence household debt? Have macroprudential tools been well-calibrated? Answers to these questions are crucial for judging the risks that the current corona crisis might also trigger a new financial crisis. The 2020 issue of the Nordic Economic Policy Review consists of six papers, including an introduction by editors Lars Calmfors and Peter Englund.



Monetary Policy and Household Debt

We address the interplay between household debt accumulation and monetary policy. Monetary policy likely affects household debt-to-income ratios via disposable income and inflation, not just by changing the financial incentive to save. We provide micro-level snapshots from Norway on how households' income flows and debt accumulation co-move with interest rates and inflation. Real interest rate hikes are associated with increased real debt due to strong negative association between inflation and real debt. We therefore caution against pursuing contractionary policies to curb household debt. By lowering inflation, such policies might backfire and increase household debt burdens.


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