Microdata for Macro Models: the Distributional Effects of Monetary Policy

Corrado LuisaFantozzi Daniela
CEIS Research Paper
In this paper we investigate the effect of standard and non-standard monetary policy implemented by the ECB on income inequality in Italy. We use for the first time the survey microdata on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC, Istat) in a repeated cross-section experiment to build measures of inequality and the distribution over time for incomes and subgroups of individuals. The identification strategy is based on surprises estimated in the EA-MPD database for the Euro Area. Using a battery of Local Projections, we evaluate the impact of monetary policy by comparing the performance of the impulse response functions of our inequality measures in different policy scenarios (pre and post-QE). The main findings show that an expansionary unconventional monetary policy shock compressed inequality of disposable and labor income more persistently than a conventional monetary shock. The financial channel has an equalizing effect favoring the less wealthy households mainly in the long-run. Overall, our evidence suggests that QE is associated with a decrease in Italian households inequality.

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Number: 491
Keywords: Income Inequality, Monetary Policy, Local Projections, Survey Data, High Frequency Data
JEL codes: C81,D31,E52,E58
Volume: 18
Issue: 5
Date: Wednesday, June 3, 2020
Revision Date: Wednesday, June 3, 2020