- A genetic validation study reveals a role of vitamin D metabolism in the response to interferon-alfa-based therapy of chronic hepatitis C (2012)
- Background: To perform a comprehensive study on the relationship between vitamin D metabolism and the response to interferon-α-based therapy of chronic hepatitis C. Methodology/Principal Findings: Associations between a functionally relevant polymorphism in the gene encoding the vitamin D 1α-hydroxylase (CYP27B1-1260 rs10877012) and the response to treatment with pegylated interferon-α (PEG-IFN-α) and ribavirin were determined in 701 patients with chronic hepatitis C. In addition, associations between serum concentrations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 (25[OH]D3) and treatment outcome were analysed. CYP27B1-1260 rs10877012 was found to be an independent predictor of sustained virologic response (SVR) in patients with poor-response IL28B genotypes (15% difference in SVR for rs10877012 genotype AA vs. CC, p = 0.02, OR = 1.52, 95% CI = 1.061–2.188), but not in patients with favourable IL28B genotype. Patients with chronic hepatitis C showed a high prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency (25[OH]D3<20 ng/mL) during all seasons, but 25(OH)D3 serum levels were not associated with treatment outcome. Conclusions/Significance: Our study suggests a role of bioactive vitamin D (1,25[OH]2D3, calcitriol) in the response to treatment of chronic hepatitis C. However, serum concentration of the calcitriol precursor 25(OH)D3 is not a suitable predictor of treatment outcome.
- Deflation and relative prices : evidence from Japan and Hong Kong (2007)
- We test the menu cost model of Ball and Mankiw (1994, 1995), which implies that the impact of price dispersion on inflation should differ between inflation and deflation episodes, using data for Japan and Hong Kong. We use a random cross-section sample split when calculating the moments of the distribution of price changes to mitigate the small-cross-sectionsample bias noted by Cecchetti and Bryan (1999). The parameter on the third moment is positive and significant in both countries during both the inflation and deflation periods, and the parameter on the second moment changes sign in the deflation period, as the theory predicts. Keywords: inflation, deflation, menu costs, Hong Kong, Japan JEL Numbers: E31
- Monetary factors and inflation in Japan (2008)
- Recently, the Bank of Japan outlined a “two perspectives” approach to the conduct of monetary policy that focuses on risks to price stability over different time horizons. Interpreting this as pertaining to different frequency bands, we use band spectrum regression to study the determination of inflation in Japan. We find that inflation is related to money growth and real output growth at low frequencies and the output gap at higher frequencies. Moreover, this relationship reflects Granger causality from money growth and the output gap to inflation in the relevant frequency bands. Keywords: spectral regression, frequency domain, Phillips curve, quantity theory. JEL Numbers: C22, E3, E5
- Ensuring financial stability : financial structure and the impact of monetary policy on asset prices (2008)
- This paper studies the responses of residential property and equity prices, inflation and economic activity to monetary policy shocks in 17 countries, using data spanning 1986-2006. We estimate VARs for individual economies and panel VARs in which we distinguish between groups of countries on the basis of the characteristics of their financial systems. The results suggest that using monetary policy to offset asset price movements in order to guard against financial instability may have large effects on economic activity. Furthermore, while financial structure influences the impact of policy on asset prices, its importance appears limited. Keywords: asset prices, monetary policy, panel VAR. JEL Number: C23, E52
- The risk of deflation (2009)
- This paper was prepared for the meeting on Financial Regulation and Macroeconomic Stability: Key issues for the G20, organised by the CEPR and the Reinventing Bretton Woods Committee, London, 31 January 2009. Introduction: The onset of financial instability in August 2007, which quickly spread across the world, raises a number of questions for policy makers. First, what are the roots of the crisis? Many factors have been emphasized in the debate, including the opacity of complex financial products; the excessive confidence in ratings; weak risk management by financial institutions; massive reliance on wholesale funding; and the presumption that markets would always be liquid. Furthermore, poorly understood incentive effects – arising from the originate-to-distribute-model, remuneration policies and the period of low interest rates – are also widely seen as having played a role. Second, how can a repetition of the crisis can be avoided? Much attention is being focused on regulation and supervision of financial intermediaries. The G-20, at its summit in November 2008, noted that measures need to be taken in five areas: (i) financial market transparency and disclosure by firms need to be strengthened; (ii) regulation needs to be enhanced to ensure that all financial markets, products and participants are regulated or subject to oversight, as appropriate; (iii) the integrity of financial markets should be improved by bolstering investor and consumer protection, avoiding conflicts of interest, and by promoting information sharing; (iv) international cooperation among regulators must be enhanced; and (v) international financial institutions must be reformed to reflect changing economic weights in the world economy better in order to increase the legitimacy and effectiveness of these institutions. Third, how can the consequences for economic activity be minimized? Many of the adverse developments in financial markets – in particular the collapse of term interbank markets – reflect deeply entrenched perceptions of counterparty risk. Prompt and far-reaching action to support the financial system, in particular the infusion of equity capital in financial institutions to reduce counter-party risk and get credit to flow again, is essential in order to restore market functioning. A particular risk at present is that the rapid decline in inflation in many countries in recent months will turn into deflation with highly adverse real economic developments. This background paper considers how large the risk of deflation may be and discusses what policy can do to reduce it. It is organized as follows. Section 2 defines deflation and discusses downward nominal wage rigidities and the zero lower bound on interest rates. While these factors are frequently seen as two reasons why deflation can be associated with very poor economic outcomes, they should not be overemphasized. Section 3 looks at the current situation. Inflation expectations and forecasts in the subset of economies we look at (the euro area, the UK and the US) are positive, indicating that deflation is not expected. This does not imply that the current concerns of deflation are unwarranted, only that the public expects the central bank to be successful in avoiding deflation. The section also looks at the evolution of headline and “core” inflation, focusing on data from the US and the euro area. Section 4 reviews how monetary and fiscal policy can be conducted to ensure that deflation is avoided. Section 5 briefly discusses special issues arising in emerging market economies. Finally, Section 6 offers some conclusions. An Appendix discusses deflation episodes in the period 1882-1939.
- Financial structure and the impact of monetary policy on asset prices (2008)
- We study the responses of residential property and equity prices, inflation and economic activity to monetary policy shocks in 17 countries, using data spanning 1986-2006, using single-country VARs and panel VARs in which we distinguish between groups of countries depending on their financial systems. The effect of monetary policy on property prices is about three times as large as its impact on GDP. Using monetary policy to guard against financial instability by offsetting asset-price movements thus has sizable effects on economic activity. While the financial structure influences the impact of policy on asset prices, its importance appears limited. JEL Classification: C23, E52
- Monetary policy and TIPS yields before the crisis (2011)
- We make three points. First, the decade before the financial crisis in 2007 was characterized by a collapse in the yield on TIPS. Second, estimated VARs for the federal funds rate and the TIPS yield show that while monetary policy shocks had negligible effects on the TIPS yield, shocks to the latter had one-to-one effects on the federal funds rate. Third, these findings can be rationalized in a New Keynesian model. JEL Classification: E43, E52, E58 Keywords: Monetary Policy, Long Real Interest Rates, TIPS