April 2015 newsletter – The Bank of England’s research agenda

In last July’s Newsletter,1 Stephen Millard described the Bank of England’s plans to increase contacts with academic economists. In the next key stage of this development, the Bank has now published a One Bank Research Agenda and an accompanying discussion paper. This article states the Bank’s key research themes as set out in the discussion paper.

The Bank’s responsibilities have expanded substantially in recent years to embrace not just monetary policy but also macro/micro and banking/insuranceprudential regulation. Given this increase in the breadth of its responsibilities, Stephen explained the Bank’s desire to increase contacts with researchers working outside the Bank.

As part of its strategy, the Bank has developed a new area of its website entitled One Bank Research Agenda (OBRA), which gives researchers access to a range of resources including additional datasets (over and above those available in the Bank’s statistical database) and a discussion paper. In launching this initiative at a conference on 25th February, the Governor said: ‘The Agenda aims to improve the coordination of our research across all policy areas, to make the best use of our data, and to cultivate an extensive research community that spans the Bank and beyond . . . In short, we are aiming to transform research at the Bank to the same extent as the Bank’s responsibilities have transformed in the wake of the financial crisis.’

The research themes
OBRA sets out the Bank’s five key research priorities (‘themes’), suggests a number of ‘issues’ raised by those themes and shows how those issues might be converted to a set of researchable ‘questions’.

The five themes listed in the Bank’s Agenda are:

1: Central bank policy frameworks and the interactions between monetary policy, macroprudential policy and microprudential policy, domestically and internationally;

2: Evaluating regulation, resolution and market structures in light of the financial crisis and in the face of the changing nature of financial intermediation;

3: Operationalising central banking: evaluating and enhancing policy implementation, supervision and communication;

4: Using new data, methodologies and approaches to understand household and corporate behaviour, the domestic and international macroeconomy, and risks to the financial system; and

5: Central bank response to fundamental technological, institutional, societal and environmental change.


Competitions and datasets
To promote interest in its One Bank Research Agenda, the Bank of England has launched two competitions. The first is on Data Visualisation. To coincide with the release of the new Bank data sets, it wants to see what novel insights they might yield. Entrants are free to focus on whatever they like, as long as the subject employs some of the newly available data in some way.

The second competition is for the best research paper — the ‘One Bank research’ competition. The paper should fall under the topic of the interaction between microprudential, macroprudential and/or monetary policy. The Bank is particularly keen to encourage early-career researchers.

The winners of each competition will be decided by separate judging panels of Bank staff and external academics. The prize for both competitions will be £5,000.

Further details on these competitions and how to apply can be found via the links below.

By opening up its research agenda, the Bank aims to improve the coordination and openness of its research across all policy areas, to ensure the Bank makes the best use of the data, and to cultivate an extensive research community both within and outside of the Bank. Readers who are interested in finding out more should follow the link to the website and/or send an e-mail to OBRAgeneral@bankofengland.co.uk.

Note: 1. ‘The Bank of England’s engagement with academia’, Newsletter no.166, July 2014.