Tilman Bletzinger, European Central Bank

“My expertise at the IMFS helped me a lot"

Tilman Bletzinger joined the Chair of Monetary Economics at the IMFS as a research assistant from 2012 until August 2016 with a focus on monetary and fiscal policies since the financial crisis. In 2014, he obtained his M.Sc. degree in Quantitative Economics at Goethe University. Prior to entering the Ph.D. program, he completed his undergraduate studies at Maastricht University and University of California, Los Angeles. In 2016, he entered the ECB graduate program where he now works in the risk strategy division of the Directorate Risk Management.

How would you describe your job to other people?

I am an economist in the risk management function of the European Central Bank. It is our task to protect the ECB’s balance sheet against financial risks and to ensure that its monetary policy is implemented in a risk-efficient way. In this context, risk efficiency means that the chosen stance of monetary policy (be it conventional or unconventional) is implemented in the least risky fashion from the perspective of the ECB and the Eurosystem.

What are your main tasks at the ECB?

Within the Directorate Risk Management, I am working in the Risk Strategy Division. This division is responsible for the design and maintenance of the risk management frameworks. My specific tasks relate to the third covered bond purchase programme (CBPP3), the public sector purchase programme (PSPP) and the collateral framework for standard refinancing operations. I am responsible for preparing background analyses, drafting and presenting policy proposals internally in the ECB and to the Eurosystem, and writing policy briefings for the ECB Executive Board and the Governing Council.

What do you like most about your job?

While being a relatively small directorate, the Directorate Risk Management is involved in a large amount of policy decisions taken at the ECB due to the very nature of its operations, which all inherit some sort of financial risk. As a result, it is crucial to have both a broad and, at the same time, deep understanding of the different operations. I like the broad range of tasks and the corresponding variety in my work. Moreover, all tasks I am working on have an impact on the Eurosystem and hence often contain a political dimension as well. The ensuing challenges certainly enrich my daily work.

What was the main focus of your research at the IMFS?

At the IMFS, I was working on my dissertation with the entitled ‘Essays on the monetary policy in the euro area’. As the title suggests, I mainly worked on questions related to monetary policy in the euro, starting from more applied research on how the ECB set is interest rate in the past and how it embarked on forward guidance (together with Prof. Volker Wieland) up to purely theoretical research on questions about quantitative easing in a multi-country model of a currency area. As part of my job at the IMFS, I was also responsible for the regular calculation of interest rate prescriptions resulting from different interest rate rules.

How is your job at the ECB related to your work at the IMFS?

Having worked at the Chair of Monetary Economics of Prof. Wieland at the IMFS, I was continuously exposed to the current political debate about monetary policy. The possibility to attend a number of great events, such as lectures and conferences, including “The ECB and Its Watchers” conference, helped me understand monetary policy better and also form my own view on the various decisions. This expertise allows me to prepare policy briefings at the ECB, not only with a technical, expert-based analysis but also with a more holistic approach.

What did you enjoy most regarding your time as doctorate at the IMFS?

The IMFS made it possible to combine my work and the research for my dissertation as part of my doctorate. I am thankful for this valuable opportunity. Also the fact that the IMFS has contributed and shaped the current political debate made my time very interesting and passing by quickly.