Why central bankers should be humble

This article appeared in the Winter 2020 edition of “The International Economy”. White argues that there is a fundamental intertemporal inconsistency in the repeated use of monetary easing by advanced countries to stimulate aggregate demand. This arises from the fact that monetary stimulus encourages the buildup of debt which eventually strangles further spending.  Moreover, such stimulus in the advanced economies has undesirable side effects. It threatens financial instability, has negative effects on productivity growth and can seriously injure emerging market economies as well. Looking forward, there should be greater reliance on fiscal expansion in response to economic downturns, complemented by stronger fiscal contractions in upturns. Improvements are urgently needed in administrative and judicial procedures for debt restructuring, both private and public.

Posted by williamw in Publications

Fault Lines in the Pursuit of Financial Stabilty

This paper will in time be published as a chapter in a book. In the interim it will be forthcoming as an INET Working Paper. It argues that, while significant efforts have been made in the post-crisis period to  to make the global financial system more stable, worrying shortcomings remain. Comments would be appreciated before a final version is decided upon.


Posted by williamw in Publications

Is a Global Currency War Still Possible?

William White, along with other economists, gave his answer to this question in the Summer 2019 edition of The International Economy. He concludes that “The world has been in a currency war for about a decade” as important central banks have eased domestic monetary policy either to encourage currency depreciation or to prevent appreciation. Whatever the rhetoric about the objective of policy being solely domestic, the end result has been global monetary stimulus of unprecedented magnitude.




Posted by williamw in Publications

The 2008 Financial Crisis in Retrospect: Panel Discussion

William White made comments in the concluding panel of a two day meeting (August, 2018) in Reykjavik, Iceland. The papers and proceedings of this conference have just been published by Palgrave Macmillan as

“The 2008 Global Financial Crisis in Retrospect”  Edited by R Z Aliber and G Zoega (2019).

Mr White’s comments focus on whether post-crisis reforms to financial regulation have been sufficiently robust. He welcomes the progress made to date but concludes that threats to financial stability remain uncomfortably high.



Posted by williamw in Publications

The Limits of Macroprudential Policy

This article was published in the Winter edition of The International Economy, 2019. It suggests that monetary and macroprudential policies should be tightened jointly to resist credit bubbles and the build up of debt to dangerous levels. While central banks have shown no appetite for this, they are increasingly inclined to use macroprudential policies to allow “lower for longer” monetary policies. This implies that monetary and macroprudential policies are now working at cross purposes, which risks raising the costs of future financial instability.

Posted by williamw in Publications

The Decade of Catching Up: Within the EU

Bill White made a presentation at the annual Lamfalussy Conference held at the Central Bank of Hungary, this year on February 4 in Budapest. His topic was the process of economic convergence between the Central, Eastern and South Eastern Economies (CESEE) in Europe and those richer economies further to the West. After looking at the recent history, Mr White suggested that future prospects for convergence depended in large part on the CESEE economies being resilient in resisting downturns. Historical studies indicated clearly that political division and the erosion of the rule of law reduced the trust and cooperation required for a resilient economy.

Posted by williamw in Publications

Review of a Book of Essays by Alexander Lamfalussy

Alexander Lamfalussy was the General Manager of the BIS and later the head of the European Monetary Institute, the precursor of the European Central Bank. Lamfalussy’s analysis of problems like financial instability and debt overhang, still with us today, provide important insights into possible solutions. A book that can be read cover to cover, or dipped into as the need arises.;1.172


Posted by williamw in Publications

Thinking Like an Economist

This essay was used as a foreward to a research study, published on May 8 2018, which looked closely into the course content of eight undergraduate macroeconomic courses taught at Dutch universites. It concludes that the overwhelming emphasis on Neoclassical models and mathematical methods means these courses provide no practical insights into solving the real problems faced by economists in the real world.

ForwardThinkingLikeanEconomist (1)
Posted by williamw in Publications