Research Areas and Programme
The Bundesbank’s research activities are directed towards developing and strengthening academic expertise in order to support decision-making and policy implementation in its core business areas. To meet high academic standards, Bundesbank research is peer-reviewed and is aimed at publication in top-ranking journals.
This research programme provides a detailed overview of the current topics of Bundesbank research. The areas covered comprise existing research with a longer-term perspective as well as new projects inspired by recent academic literature and the novel challenges that policymakers are facing. All ongoing and planned research is organised into three broad areas in this programme.
The figure below visualises the topics covered by the three research areas of the Bundesbank Research Programme. Some of the topics shown have an overarching nature, as they inspire research projects in more than one research area. The figure emphasises the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, and digitalisation as particularly prominent issues, which influence the three research areas as outlined in the overview sections above.
The following sections provide more information on the topics addressed in the three research areas. For additional information on research at the Bundesbank, readers are encouraged to contact us. The Research Centre’s website provides contact details for individual researchers at the Bundesbank and contains information about the wide range of seminars, academic workshops and conferences that the Bundesbank organises throughout the year, as well as the various opportunities for cooperation and interaction.
Note that the Research Programme reflects a current snapshot of research topics, which are relevant to the Bundesbank. New academic trends or changes in demand for research-based policy advice may lead to updates of the Research Programme in the future.
Research area 1: Monetary policy in times of crisis and structural change
The COVID-19 pandemic has posed serious challenges to societies worldwide. In response to the severe economic disruptions caused by the pandemic, governments, central banks and supervisory authorities have provided unparalleled support to households, firms, and financial markets.
When the pandemic hit, monetary policy in the euro area was already operating in a challenging environment characterised by historically low policy rates and a strongly expanded Eurosystem balance sheet.
In July 2021, the Eurosystem concluded a review of its monetary policy framework, which culminated in the approval of a new monetary policy strategy featuring, amongst other things, a symmetric 2% inflation target over the medium term. The Eurosystem also published an ambitious action plan to include climate risks in its new monetary policy strategy. This plan recognises that climate change and climate policies will have longlasting effects on financial markets and the broader economy, which central banks need to better understand and incorporate into their modelling and forecasting toolkit. Digitalisation is another important driver of structural change worldwide, with implications for financial markets and the real economy. Digitalisation has also led to significant innovations in money and payments systems. The Eurosystem has itself recently started to evaluate the costs and benefits of a digital euro.
Research area 2: The role of heterogeneities in an integrated global economy
The global economy is characterised by substantial regional and sectoral heterogeneities, many of which were further amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic. In the European Union, the pandemic and policy responses by governments have led to sharp increases in public debt levels, renewing questions concerning debt sustainability and the fiscal framework.
New tariffs and trade barriers have the potential to disrupt global value chains and risk the disintegration of international trade.
As well as differences between countries, heterogeneities among households and firms are important for central banks. Understanding the granular microeconomic response to monetary, fiscal and macroprudential policies can support their proper calibration. Household and firm heterogeneities are also important for assessing the macroeconomic impact of climate change and climate policies as well as the COVID-19 pandemic.
Research area 3: Safeguarding financial stability in an era of transformation
Structural change in the banking sector, accompanied by the emergence of new business models and digital technologies in financial services, poses new challenges for banking supervision and financial stability policies.
The COVID-19 pandemic has put further pressure on the financial services industry. Climate change and the policies that address it will also have a profound impact on financial intermediaries and markets. As part of their financial stability and banking supervision mandates, central banks need to understand the implications of these trends.
In response to the global financial crisis, policymakers have passed wide-ranging regulatory reforms and expanded their set of instruments, strengthening existing regulations and introducing new macro and microprudential requirements and supervisory practices. Further research is needed to evaluate the effectiveness of these measures as well as their potential side effects and interactions with monetary policy in a low interest rate environment.