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Creator: Holmes, Thomas J. and Singer, Ethan Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 739 Abstract:
This paper develops and estimates a model of indivisibilities in shipping and economies of scale in consolidation. It uses highly detailed data on imports where it is possible to observe the contents of individual containers. In the model, ﬁrms are able to adapt to indivisibility constraints by using consolidation strategies and by making adjustments to shipment size. The ﬁrm determines the optimal number of domestic ports to use, taking into account that adding more ports lowers inland freight cost, at the expense of a higher indivisibility cost. The estimated model is able to roughly account for Walmart’s port choice behavior. The model estimates are used to evaluate how mergers or dissolutions of ﬁrms or countries, and changes in variety, affect indivisibility costs and inland freight costs.
Palabra clave: Scale economies, Walmart, Indivisibilities, and Technological change Tema: F14 - Empirical Studies of Trade, R40 - Transportation Economics: General, and L10 - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance: General
Creator: Holmes, Thomas J., McGrattan, Ellen R., and Prescott, Edward C. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 687 Abstract:
It is widely believed that an important factor underlying the rapid growth in China is increased foreign direct investment (FDI) and the transfer of foreign technology capital, which is accumulated know-how from investment in research and development (R&D), brands, and organizations that is not specific to a plant. In this paper, we study two channels through which FDI can contribute to upgrading of the stock of technology capital: knowledge spillovers and appropriation. Knowledge spillovers lead to new ideas that do not directly compete or devalue the foreign affiliate's stock. Appropriation, on the other hand, implies a redistribution of property rights over patents and trademarks; the gain to domestic companies comes at a loss to the multinational company (MNC). In this paper we build these sources of technology capital transfer into the framework developed by McGrattan and Prescott (2009, 2010) and introduce an endogenously-chosen intensity margin for operating technology capital in order to capture the trade-offs MNCs face when expanding their markets internationally. We first demonstrate that abstracting from technology capital transfers results in predicted bilateral FDI inflows to China that are grossly at odds with the data. We then use the bilateral inflows to parameterize the model with technology capital transfers and compute the global economic impact of Chinese policies that encouraged greater inflows of FDI and technology capital transfers. Microevidence on automobile patents is used to support our parameter choices and main findings.
Tema: O33 - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes, F41 - Open Economy Macroeconomics, F23 - Multinational Firms; International Business, and O34 - Intellectual Property and Intellectual Capital
Creator: Holmes, Thomas J. and Thornton Snider, Julia Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 669 Abstract:
We develop a theory of outsourcing in which there is market power in one factor market (labor) and no market power in a second factor market (capital). There are two intermediate goods: one labor-intensive and the other capital-intensive. We show there is always outsourcing in the market allocation when a friction limiting outsourcing is not too big. The key factor underlying the result is that labor demand is more elastic, the greater the labor share. Integrated plants pay higher wages than the specialist producers of labor-intensive intermediates. We derive conditions under which there are multiple equilibria that vary in the degree of outsourcing. Across these equilibria, wages are lower the greater the degree of outsourcing. Wages fall when outsourcing increases in response to a decline in the outsourcing friction.
Tema: L22 - Firm Organization and Market Structure, J31 - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials, and L23 - Organization of Production
Creator: Holmes, Thomas J. and Lee, Sanghoon Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 668 Abstract:
We estimate the factors determining specialization of crop choice at the level of individual fields, distinguishing between the role of natural advantage (soil characteristics) and economies of density (scale economies achieved when farmers plant neighboring fields with the same crop). Using rich geographic data from North Dakota, including new data on crop choice collected by satellite, we estimate the analog of a social interactions econometric model for the planting decisions on neighboring fields. We find that planting decisions on a field are heavily dependent on the soil characteristics of the neighboring fields. Through this relationship, we back out the structural parameters of economies of density. Setting an Ellison-Glaeser dartboard level of specialization as a benchmark, we find that of the actual level of specialization achieved beyond this benchmark, approximately two-thirds can be attributed to natural advantage and one-third to density economies.
Tema: R12 - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity, R14 - Land Use Pattern, and Q10 - Agriculture: General
Creator: Holmes, Thomas J. and Schmitz, James Andrew Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 545 Abstract:
This paper develops a model of small business failure and sale that is motivated by recent evidence concerning how the failure and sale of small businesses vary with the age of the business and the tenure of the manager. This evidence motivates two key features of the model: A match between the manager and the business, and characteristics of businesses that survive beyond the current match. The parameters of the model are estimated, and the properties of this parametric model are studied. This analysis results in a simple characterization of the workings of the small business sector.
Creator: Holmes, Thomas J. and Ohanian, Lee E. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 501 Abstract:
As part of compensation, municipal employees typically receive promises of future benefits. Motivated by the recent bankruptcy of Detroit, we develop a model of the equilibrium size of a city and use it to analyze how pay-with-promises schemes interact with city growth. The paper examines the circumstances under which a death spiral arises, where cutbacks of city services and increases in taxes lead to an exodus of residents, compounding financial distress. The model is put to work to analyze issues such as the welfare effects of having cities absorb pension risk and how unions affect the likelihood of a death spiral.
Palabra clave: Defined benefit pension plans, Death spiral, City growth, Pay with promises, Detroit, and Retiree health benefits Tema: H20 - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue: General, H75 - State and Local Government: Health; Education; Welfare; Public Pensions, R51 - Finance in Urban and Rural Economies, and R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics: Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population; Neighborhood Characteristics
Creator: Holmes, Thomas J. and Stevens, John J. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 445 Abstract:
There is wide variation in the sizes of manufacturing plants, even within the most narrowly defined industry classifications used by statistical agencies. Standard theories attribute all such size differences to productivity differences. This paper develops an alternative theory in which industries are made up of large plants producing standardized goods and small plants making custom or specialty goods. It uses confidential Census data to estimate the parameters of the model, including estimates of plant counts in the standardized and specialty segments by industry. The estimated model fits the data relatively well compared with estimates based on standard approaches. In particular, the predictions of the model for the impacts of a surge in imports from China are consistent with what happened to U.S. manufacturing industries that experienced such a surge over the period 1997--2007. Large-scale standardized plants were decimated, while small-scale specialty plants were relatively less impacted.
Creator: Holmes, Thomas J. and Schmitz, James Andrew Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 439 Abstract:
Does competition spur productivity? And if so, how does it do so? These have long been regarded as central questions in economics. This essay reviews the literature that makes progress toward answering both questions.
Palabra clave: Monopoly, Innovation, and Market power