The Effects of Housing Prices and Monetary Policy in a Currency Union
Many developed countries have seen housing prices and residential invest- ment soar in the last decade. This fact has refreshed the debate on the drivers of housing cycles as well as the appropriate policy response. We analyze these issues for the case of Spain, who has seen the interest rates at historical lows since it joined the EMU, and increasing housing demand pressures from im- migration and the baby boom generation. First, we present evidence based on a VAR model that suggests that both monetary and demand shocks are be- hind Spain's housing boom. Second, we calibrate a New Keynesian dynamic general equilibrium model of a small open economy in a currency area with durable goods. We study the effects of a housing demand shock, a monetary policy shock and a risk premium shock in the model. This allows us to bet- ter understand the factors amplifying a housing boom, the role played by the ECB and the recessionary effects of a housing bust. Our results are as follows. First, the model confirms that a combination of these shocks is indeed behind Spain's housing boom. Second, labor market rigidities provide strong ampli- fication effects to all type of shocks, while financial frictions play a secondary role. Third, monetary policy autonomy is of first order importance to cushion risk premium shocks, while this is not the case for housing demand shocks.
Offshoring and wage inequality in the UK, 1992-2004
This paper considers whether offshoring has been a contributing factor to the increase in the wage gap between lower and higher skilled workers. It shows that offshoring was not a driver of the increasing skills premium in the United Kingdom between 1992 and 2004. On the contrary, the wage gap would actually have been bigger in the absence of offshoring. Offshoring reduced the wage gap between the most skilled and the least skilled workers in the UK relative to what it would otherwise have been.
Broadband Regulation: An Empirical Assessment
This paper provides an empirical assessment of the broadband policy of the European Union. In particular, we assess in more detail the effects of mandatory local loop unbundling on several market dimensions. We find that it has benefited broadband adoption through significant quality improvements. However, we also find that other regulatory features outside the scope of the new regulatory framework hinder broadband development in a significant manner.
European Telecoms Regulation: Past Performance and Prospects
This paper provides a review of the telecommunications policy of the Eu- ropean Union. We discuss the motivations for the Commission's regulatory choices and provide some evidence on their performance. We find that the outcome of the first regulatory period varied significantly between member states, reflecting the numerous implementation choices that were left at their consideration. The recent reform of the regulation addresses some of the past shortcomings, but still poses some risks for technological neutrality.