There are two striking aspects of the recovery from the Great Depression in the United States: the recovery was very weak and real wages in several sectors rose significantly above trend. These data contrast sharply with neoclassical theory, which predicts a strong recovery with low real wages. We evaluate whether New Deal cartelization policies designed to limit competition among firms and increase labor bargaining power can account for the persistence of the Depression. We develop a model of the intraindustry bargaining process between labor and firms that occurred with these policies, and embed that model within a multi-sector dynamic general equilibrium model. We find that New Deal cartelization policies are an important factor in accounting for the post-1933 Depression. We also find that the key depressing element of New Deal policies was not collusion per se, but rather the link between paying high wages and collusion.
This paper is part of a project to model the interaction between heterogeneous agents in intertemporal stochastic models and to develop numerical algorithms to solve these kind of models. It is well-known that solving dynamic heterogeneous agent models is a challenging problem, since in these models the distribution of wealth and other characteristics evolve endogenously over time. Existing dynamic models in the literature contain therefore just two agents or other simplifying assumptions to limit the heterogeneity.
The objective of this paper is to investigate whether, in a Sidrauski type model with uncertainty, welfare maximization calls for following the famous "Chicago Rule". This question will be answered in the affirmative in this paper, i.e. social welfare optimization calls for a zero nominal interest rate on one-period bonds. The zero nominal interest rate, however, does not imply in an uncertain world that there is no systematic difference between the expected rate of deflation and the rate of time preference in an economy without growth. The magnitude of this difference turns out to be small, however. Numerical welfare comparisons are made between the optimal policy and policies in which the growth rate of money is fixed. The optimal policy requires that the monetary authorities react every period to the available information and they choose a growth level of the money stock that will set the interest rate equal to zero. If we compare the time paths of the real variables under the optimal policy with the time paths if the money supply decreases at a rate equal to the rate of time preference, then we see hardly any differences. The price dynamics can be very different, however. The paper also investigates the issue of superneutrality and finds that the quantitative deviations from superneutrality are substantial if a model with a shopping time technology is used. The neo-classical models in this paper are solved numerically using a technique developed in Marcet (1988).
This paper develops a new method for approximating dynamic competitive equilibria in economies in which competitive equilibrium is not necessarily Pareto optimal. The method involves finding approximate equilibrium policy functions by iterating on the stochastic Euler equations which characterize the economy's equilibrium. Two applications are presented: the stochastic growth model of Brock and Mirman (1971) modified to allow distortionary taxation, and a model of inflation and capital accumulation based on Stockman (1981). The computational speed and accuracy of this approach suggests that it may be a feasible method for studying suboptimal economies with large state spaces.
Elasticities of substitutions between U.S. imports from Mexico, Canada, the rest of the world, and competing domestic production are estimated for 128 mining and manufacturing sectors, based on quarterly data for 1980-88. Results will be useful for subsequent computable general equilibrium (CGE) model simulations of North American trade, including the proposed free trade area between Mexico and the United States.
This paper develops a unified model of growth, population, and technological progress that is consistent with long-term historical evidence. The economy endogenously evolves through three phases. In the Malthusian regime, population growth is positively related to the level of income per capita. Technological progress is slow and is matched by proportional increases in population, so that output per capita is stable around a constant level. In the post-Malthusian regime, the growth rates of technology and total output increase. Population growth absorbs much of the growth of output, but income per capita does rise slowly. The economy endogenously undergoes a demographic transition in which the traditionally positive relationship between income per capita and population growth is reversed. In the Modern Growth regime, population growth is moderate or even negative, and income per capita rises rapidly. Two forces drive the transitions between regimes: First, technological progress is driven both by increases in the size of the population and by increases in the average level of education. Second, technological progress creates a state of disequilibrium, which raises the return to human capital and induces parents to substitute child quality for quantity.
How much technological progress has there been in structures? An attempt is made to measure this using panel data on the age and rents for buildings. This data is interpreted through the eyes of a vintage capital model where buildings are replaced at some chosen periodicity. There appears to have been significant technological advance in structures that accounts for a major part of economic growth.
There were three important changes in the United States economy during the 1980s. First, from 1982-90, the decade featured the longest consecutive stretch of positive quarterly output growth in United States history. Second, wage inequality expanded greatly as the wages of highly skilled workers grew markedly faster than the wages of less skilled workers (Katz and Murphy (1992)). Finally, consumption inequality also expanded as the consumption of highly skilled workers grew faster than that of less skilled workers (Attanasio and Davis (1994)). This paper argues that these three aspects of the United States economic experience can be interpreted as being part of an efficient response to a macroeconomic shock given the existence of a particular technological impediment to full insurance. I examine the properties of efficient allocations of risk in an economic environment in which the outside enforcement of risksharing arrangements is infinitely costly. In these allocations, relative productivity movements have effects on both the current and future distribution of consumption across individuals. If preferences over consumption and leisure are nonhomothetic, these changes in the allocation of consumption will generate persistent cycles in aggregate output that do not occur in efficient allocations when enforcement is costless.
We introduce, into a version of the Real Business Cycle model, mild increasing returns-to-scale. These increasing returns-to-scale occur as a consequence of sector specific externalities, that is externalities where the output of the consumption and investment sectors have external effects on the output of firms within their own sector. Keeping the production technologies for both sectors identical for expositional simplicity, we show that indeterminacy can easily occur for parameter values typically used in the real business cycle literature, and in contrast to some earlier literature on indeterminacies, for externalities mild enough so that labor demand curves are downward sloping.
A cash-in-advance model with sequential markets is constructed, where unanticipated monetary injections are nonneutral and can potentially produce large liquidity effects. However, if the monetary authority adheres to an optimal money rule, money should not respond to unanticipated shocks, so that a Friedman rule is suboptimal and the monetary authority does not exploit the liquidity effect. Quantitatively, the model can generate variability in money and nominal interest rates close to what is observed, and can produce data with no obvious evidence of the existence of liquidity effects.
Procedures for computing the parameters of a broad class of multifactor continuous time models of the term structure based on indirect estimation methods are proposed. The approach consists of simulating the unknown factors from a set of stochastic differential equations which are used to compute synthetic bond yields. The bond yields are calibrated with actual bond yields via an auxiliary model. The approach circumvents many of the difficulties associated with direct estimation of this class of models using maximum likelihood. In particular, the paper addresses the identification issues arising from singularities in the yields and spreads which tend not to be recognised in existing estimation procedures and thereby overcome potential misspecification problems inherrent in direct methods. Indirect estimates of single and multifactor models are computed and compared with the estimates based on existing estimation procedures.
"Sudden Stops " experienced during emerging markets crises are characterized by large reversals of capital inflows and the current account, deep recessions, and collapses in asset prices. This paper proposes an open-economy equilibrium asset pricing model in which financial frictions cause Sudden Stops. Margin requirements impose a collateral constraint on foreign borrowing by domestic agents and trading costs distort asset trading by foreign securities firms. At equilibrium, margin constraints may or may not bind depending on portfolio decisions and equilibrium asset prices. If margin constraints do not bind, productivity shocks cause a moderate fall in consumption and a widening current account deficit. If debt is high relative to asset holdings, the same productivity shocks trigger margin calls forcing domestic agents to fire-sell equity to foreign traders. This sets off a Fisherian asset-price deflation and subsequent rounds of margin calls. A current account reversal and a collapse in consumption occur when equity sales cannot prevent a sharp rise in net foreign assets.