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October 2018

By Gilbert Cette and Ombeline Jullien de Pommerol

The diffusion of information and communication technology (ICT) and the associated benefits in terms of growth appear to have petered out at the start of the 2000s in advanced countries. This suggests we are experiencing a pause in the third industrial revolution, ahead of the incipient shock linked to the digital economy.

Chart 1 – Stabilisation of the nominal ICT capital coefficient since 2000
Chart 1 – Stabilisation of the nominal ICT capital coefficient since 2000 Source: authors' calculations using ICT investment data from the OECD.

By Adrien Boileau and Olivier Gonzalez

The Economic Modernisation Act has reduced payment periods, by capping them, for the most part, at 60 days. Today, average payment times are stable, but late payments continue to weigh on the cash flow of businesses, which seem unwilling to pay their suppliers faster so as not to weaken their solvency. Yet reconciling these two goals is possible.

Chart 1: Sharp fall in days payable outstandings (DPOs) and days sales outstandings (DSOs) as a result of the Economic Modernisation Act
Chart 1: Sharp fall in days payable outstandings (DPOs) and days sales outstandings (DSOs) as a result of the Economic Modernisation Act Source: Banque de France –FIBEN database, data to October 2017.

By Baptiste Meunier

Despite full employment, Japan is struggling with wage stagnation. Although this "enigma" can in part be explained by cyclical factors - subdued productivity and inflation expectations - it is also being exacerbated by structural factors linked to the country’s social model, notably the duality of its labour market. As a result, the prospects for a rise in wages and hence inflation remain limited.

Croissance des salaires et chômage au Japon
Chart1 – Wage growth and unemployment in Japan Source: OECD

Women are underrepresented in central bank governance. In 2018, only 11 out of 173 central banks are headed by a woman. The ethical case for gender rebalancing in central bank governance is a sufficient reason alone, but we could go further and provokingly ask whether women have a different leaning to monetary policy objectives than men? An investigation of former and present US Fed policymakers suggests that this is not necessarily the case.

Women are poorly represented in monetary policy decision committees
Figure 1. Women are poorly represented in monetary policy decision committees Note: GC, the Governing Council of the ECB (1998-2018), FOMC, the Federal Open Market Committee of the Fed (1960-2015), MPC, the Monetary Policy Committee of the BoE (1997-2018).

By Stéphane Dupraz

Several prominent experts in US central banking have recently advocated a new policy framework: price-level targeting. What is it and what advantages and disadvantages does it offer over the current inflation targeting framework? Its main benefit would be to bring the policy of keeping interest rates low for some time after a recession – an unconventional policy tool used in fighting the last recession – into a conventional policy framework.

Price levels in the United States and the euro area since 1998
Chart 1. Price levels in the United States and the euro area since 1998. The blue and orange lines give the realised evolution of consumer prices in the US and euro area, normalising the 1998 level at 100. The black line gives the counterfactual evolution if inflation had been exactly 2% every year since 1998