Assessing the ECB's Performance since the Global Slowdown
A Structural Policy Bias Coming Home to Roost?
This paper assesses the ECB's performance, which the author finds to be seriously lacking but which is of paramount importance to understanding euroland's ongoing stagnation and fragility. A main finding is that the series of policy blunders which characterized the bank's conduct features a bias. Institutions as well as personalities appear to be behind the bank's tendency to err systematically in one direction. Curiously, this bias is adverse not only to growth, but to price stability. The author shows that viewing the ECB through inflation-targeting lenses is very misleading, since that view does not reflect the bank's perspective at all, and that standard Taylor rule exercises are superfluous. The ECB's words and deeds may be far more consistent than is widely held, without making them any less detrimental to economic performance.