Freitag, 2. Oktober 2015

Blanchards Vermächtnis an IWF

Prakash Loungani, während Olivier Blanchards Zeit beim IWF selbst in der Forschungsabteilung tätig, beschreibt die Diskussionen und Positionsänderungen, die Blanchards Arbeit am IWF zwischen 2008 und 2015 angestoßen hat.
In seinem Blog fasst er zusammen:
"The biggest change that Blanchard brought about was in the IMF’s advice on fiscal policies. This came in three steps:
  1. In early 2008, Larry Summers advocated a U.S. fiscal stimulus that was “timely, targeted and temporary.” Avoiding alliteration’s allure, Blanchard and co-authors advocated a global fiscal stimulus that was “timely, large, lasting, diversified, contingent, collective, and sustainable.”
  2. Next came a chapter in the October 2010 edition of the IMF’s flagship publication (World Economic Outlook), which Blanchard played an active role in shaping. To the question “Will austerity hurt?” the chapter gave a clear answer: “Yes.
  3. And then came three pages that Gavyn Davies in a FT blog said could have “a greater effect on global economic policy than all of the interminable” sessions held in Tokyo that year at the Bank-Fund annual meetings. This was in the October 2012 World Economic Outlook—and subsequent paper — where Blanchard and his colleague Daniel Leigh showed that “in advanced economies, stronger planned fiscal consolidation has been associated with lower growth than expected.”

    The upshot of this work was not that fiscal consolidation should never be undertaken. Rather, it was that one should expect austerity to lower output. [...]

Here are three other areas where Blanchard left his imprint through his own writing, by guiding the work of others or by creating an open atmosphere where his staff could explore new pastures: [...]

  1. Blanchard presided over a series of papers by IMF staff that nudged the Fund towards a more flexible position on capital controls.

    A December 2012 blog by Blanchard and Ostry “explains the logic and research that underpins the shift” in the Fund’s position.
  2. In a paper with Giovanni Dell’Ariccia and Paolo Mauro, Olivier posed the question: “Should policymakers therefore aim for a higher target inflation rate in normal times, in order to increase the room for monetary policy to react to such shocks?”

    Though the paper never explicitly advocated a new 4% target (that was done later by Larry Ball in an IMF working paper), and certainly not one to be adopted right away, this quickly became known as the “4 percent solution.”
  3. The IMF has received a lot of credit for its work on inequality. The finding that captured attention — by Jonathan Ostry and Andy Berg — was that inequality was detrimental to sustained growth.

    Blanchard initially regarded this finding as an interesting cross-section correlation and then as a correlation that had cleverly tapped into the zeitgeist.

    It is only more recently, in his foreword to the April 2014 WEO, that Blanchard has come to the view that the implications of inequality for macroeconomic developments are a “central issue.”
In den nächsten Jahren wird nun Maurice Obstfeld als Chefvolkswirt am IWF tätig sein.

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