Recent Reserve Bank discussion papers (with abstracts)
Reserve Bank discussion and research papers present the detailed scholarly research of staff economists and visiting scholars. The papers are published throughout the year mainly for academic and professional economists.
(NB. If you do not have the free Acrobat reader software necessary to read these discussion papers already installed, go to the Adobe website.)
Using a gravity equation, Andrew Rose finds that currency-union countries trade more intensively with each other than do other country pairs, and others report same result. Using a nonparametric test, however, Persson finds that trade flows between currency-union countries are not significantly different in size from other bilateral trade flows. Using another way to identify a currency-union country, this paper reproduces Persson's result but also produces an anomaly. When Rose's gravity equation is re-estimated using the data set furnished by the alternative definition of a currency-union country, Rose's result survives, although the currency-union effect is smaller than the effect he reported initially.
Gravity models have been shown to be fairly effective in modelling bilateral trading patterns, explaining more than 50 per cent of the variation in trade. This paper examines bilateral trade patterns using a data set provided by Rose and van Wincoop (2001). Rose (2000) has suggested that forming a currency union has a dramatic effect on the volume of intra-union trade. A number of econometric issues are identified with respect to this claim. There is some evidence that Rose's (2000) empirical results are not entirely robust to the sample of countries used, and to the estimation method. In particular, some of the regressors may be endogenous, which casts doubt on the magnitude of the parameter estimates.
Many critics of the Taylor rule claim that it is inferior to inflation forecast based (IFB) rules because it is not forward-looking, is not aggressive enough, and because of uncertainty surrounding the output gap. Nevertheless, the Taylor rule serves a constructive purpose because it abstracts from the Bank's macroeconomic model, FPS, and its performance is robust across various economic models. The Taylor rule thus provides a useful cross-check to the IFB rule, whose recommendations necessarily rely on a particular model structure, its dynamics and specific judgements over the forecast horizon. Additionally, this paper contends that any interest rate rule or model must account for the fall in the ex-ante real interest rate and the non-stationarity of short-term rates in New Zealand. We show how the neutral real interest rate (NRR) in the Taylor rule drifts downward since the second quarter of 1988, and explain why this presents additional real-time difficulties for the Taylor rule.
Of the five major banks in New Zealand three are owned by Australian parent companies, one operates as the New Zealand branch of an Australian bank, and one has a British parent. Thus, bank ownership in New Zealand is foreign, but not very diversified. The literature on foreign bank ownership predominately focuses on developing countries and highlights the fact that large, diversified banks can enhance stability. New Zealand differs from the developing countries previously studied, as it is a developed country with foreign, but not necessarily diversified ownership. This paper explores the composition of bank ownership in New Zealand and the implications for financial stability. The paper begins with an analysis of the diversification of parent companies' assets and discusses the implications of institutional arrangements between parents and their subsidiaries for financial stability. Next, the degree of interdependence between Australia and New Zealand is analysed. Finally, the paper presents stylised implications of the structure of the market on bank behaviour during a time of crisis. The interaction of these three factors dictates the implications of foreign bank ownership on financial stability in New Zealand.
What are the odds of a large shift in the exchange rate? Is a large depreciation more likely than a large appreciation? This paper uses over-the-counter New Zealand dollar/US dollar option prices to quantify market expectations of exchange rate uncertainty through measures based on risk-neutral probability distribution functions. Results suggest that the estimated probability distributions can provide important insights into market perceptions about exchange rate risk in the future. Econometric evidence indicates that the higher moments calculated from risk-neutral probability density functions can be used to explain the dynamic behaviour of the forward bias measured in the New Zealand dollar/US dollar exchange rate.
Some observers have worried that under or over-estimating the output gap may unnecessarily induce tightening or loosening of monetary conditions, causing real fluctuations. To investigate the relationship between the output gap and inflation, we examine models of inflation that do and do not use the output gap. The Phillips curve, which relates inflation to real activity, is regarded as the maintained theory of inflation. Models of inflation without the output gap include the equation of exchange of the quantity theory of money, the real interest rate gap, and two versions of themodel. Since none of these economic models are either totally wrong nor complete, it makes sense to diversify across models rather than relying on one model exclusively. The forecasts derived from different stable models can be combined through averaging, which offsets biases and reduces the forecast error variance. Such model diversification spreads the risks of errors (i.e., insurance about bad outcomes that arise from the reliance on a single model) and provides greater robustness for policy. This paper examines ten different models of inflation and estimates sixty-seven different specifications, some of which outperform others. Some explanatory variables like money and the real interest rate gap seem to provide more information about future inflation than does estimates of output gap.
The usefulness of the concept of an equilibrium exchange rate has been brought into sharp focus by the dramatic depreciation of the euro since its inception in 1999. Does this movement reflect a movement of the actual exchange rate relative to its equilibrium or has the equilibrium shifted relative to the perception of where the euro was in 1999? Similar kinds of questions have been asked about the behaviour of the New Zealand dollar since the latter part of 1999. To answer these kinds of questions it is necessary to have some measure of an equilibrium exchange rate and there are a plethora of alternative approaches available in the literature. In this paper we use the behavioural equilibrium exchange rate (BEER) approach of Clark and MacDonald (1999) to produce long-run equilibrium exchange rates for the effective real exchange rates of the New Zealand dollar. We demonstrate that a well founded measure of the equilibrium value of the dollar may be recovered from a relatively small set of fundamental variables and that this can be used to produce an assessment of the dollar in terms of periods of misalignment.
The hypothesis that a forward term-premium (FTP) exists between forward 1-day rates calculated from the New Zealand bank-risk yield curve and the corresponding ex-post Official Cash Rate (OCR) is tested by applying a single equation method for a cointegrated system to daily data from March 1999 to December 2001. The results indicate that the FTP is statistically significant for all forward horizons tested. The results also indicate that the estimates of the FTP appear to be an increasing function of the forward horizon, and the FTP may be tentatively represented as a simple monotonically-increasing analytical function. The model may be used in reverse to imply current ex-ante expectations of the OCR.
Discussion paper correspondence can be directed to:
Reserve Bank of New Zealand
PO Box 2498