Fit for the Future? Evaluating Central Banks’ Toolkit

ESRC Grand Union Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) collaborative doctoral studentship.

The Department of Economics, the University of Oxford and the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR).



Professor Andrea Ferrero, The University of Oxford

Non-academic supervisor from NIESR (TBA)



The last two decades have been marked by a series of unprecedented economic shocks including the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), the Covid-19 pandemic, and the ongoing cost-of-living crisis. In response, monetary policymakers have adapted their policy frameworks by introducing new instruments and improving their communication strategies.

Today’s economic environment is markedly different compared to the years that saw policy rates persistently at the ZLB. While monetary policy may be returning to ‘normal’, the economic environment remains highly uncertain. With some of the toughest challenges still lying ahead, from demographic changes to inequality and the climate crisis, it is vital to assess whether the current monetary policy toolkit is fit for the future.

These issues motivate further research assessing central banks’ toolkit in a changing economic climate. Specific topics include re-assessing the role of QE and the scope for ‘green QE’; investigating the implications of demographic trends, the move to net zero, and rising inequality for the equilibrium real interest rate and the optimal inflation target; and evaluating how such trends may prompt structural or behavioural changes that impact the transmission of monetary policy.

To carry out this research, we need modelling frameworks that can identify and isolate the aggregate and distributional channels through which monetary instruments transmit to a changing macroeconomy. These models should take a quantitative approach, explicitly featuring a realistic degree of heterogeneity and potentially incorporating recent development from other behavioural sciences. Ultimately, the research should aim to achieve policy impact.

A systematic assessment of the performance of different monetary policy instruments in response to these novel challenges will increase our understanding of the monetary toolkit and make it fit for the future.



The partner institution for this project is NIESR, Britain’s longest established politically independent research institute, which operates as a charity with the objective of understanding the economic and social issues that most affect people’s lives and to propose better policy responses.

NIESR would contribute to the project by offering the selected student (i) additional guidance and supervision (ii) the opportunity to participate in and observe policy discussions with domestic and international organisations; (iii) the possibility to interact with leading researchers at the Bank of England; (iv) a workspace at their Westminster offices during the university vacations; and (v) a chance to present their work at seminars and workshops, organised internally or jointly with other institutions.



The PhD studentship will be funded by the Grand Union DTP for an expected 3.5 years (or part-time equivalent) from October 2024. The award length offered may differ depending on the candidate’s prior training and how they meet ESRC training requirements. The part-time option is only available to students with a Home status, or those that do not require a Visa for study in the UK.

Information about Grand Union DTP ESRC studentships and eligibility can be found on the Grand Union DTP website.



12:00 midday UK time on Wednesday 19 January 2024



To apply for the studentship, you must submit an application to study for a DPhil Economics at the University of Oxford. Details about applying can be found via

Your application should include a research proposal that indicates how your proposed research would engage with the core elements of this project if you were offered the studentship. Your proposal may draw on the description of the research detailed above.

In addition you must complete a Grand Union DTP Application Form and upload it, together with your graduate application form. Please ensure you also select 'ESRC Grand Union DTP Studentships in Social Sciences' in the University of Oxford scholarships section of the University's graduate application form.

The admissions process is in two parts: applications will be assessed by the institution and the selected candidate will then be assessed as part of the applicant pool for ESRC Grand Union DTP funding.



For queries about this studentship, please contact Professor Andrea Ferrero at: