Inflation and monetary policy at the forefront of Money, Macro & Finance discussions

Gary Hughes
Kent's School of Economics

Kent’s School of Economics and Macroeconomics, Growth, and History Centre (the focal point for macroeconomic research, events and PhD training at the University) are hosting the Money, Macro and Finance Society 2022 Conference from 5 to 7 September. In anticipation of what promises to be some of the major talking points at this year’s event, Professor Miguel Leon Ledesma, Head of Economics, said:

‘For more than a decade, we have been living with very low interest rates and growing credit availability. However, this was turned upside down in the aftermath of the pandemic. Supply chain bottlenecks, energy price shocks driven by the war in Ukraine, and stimulus packages that overrun the pandemic lockdown periods have led to the highest levels of inflation we have seen for a generation. Not to forget that Central Banks are increasing interest rates and un-winding quantitative easing policies.

‘Consequently, one of this week’s big debates will focus on the ways monetary policy can become more restrictive, causing as little pain as possible. The inflation scenario is a global phenomenon, but different countries appear to be at different cyclical stages. This poses further challenges. Has high inflation now become entrenched in people’s expectations feeding into higher inflation in the future? Since a crucial reason for establishing Central Bank independence was to gain credibility, have we forgotten the lessons learned three decades ago?

‘I expect these questions to be centre stage but there many other important topics to be discussed. From productivity slowdowns to the impact of Brexit and the distributive effects of macroeconomic policies. Decision making under uncertainty will also be a major discussion point, as will the ways and means tax policies can be used to improve social welfare when labour markets, credit markets, and capital markets suffer distortions.’

Conference speakers include representatives of the Bank of England, Cornell University (USA) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, among others.