The paper proposes a theory of ambiguous financial contracts. Leaving contractual contingencies unspecified may be optimal, even when stipulating them is costless. We show that an ambiguous contract has two advantages. First, it permits the guarantor to sacrifice reputational capital in order to preserve financial capital as well as information reusability in states where such tradeoff is optimal. Second, it fosters the development of reputation. This theory is then used to explain ambiguity in mutual fund contracts, bank loan commitments, bank holding company relationships, the investment banker's "highly confident" letter, non-recourse debt contracts in project financing, and other financial contracts.
Different monetary aggregates covary very differently with short term nominal interest rates. Broad monetary aggregates like Ml and the monetary base covary positively with current and future values of short term interest rates. In contrast, the nonborrowed reserves of banks covary negatively with current and future interest rates. Observations like this 'sign switch' lie at the core of recent debates about the effects of monetary policy actions on short term interest rates. This paper develops a general equilibrium monetary business cycle model which is consistent with these facts. Our basic explanation of the 'sign switch' is that movements in nonborrowed reserves are dominated by exogenous shocks to monetary policy, while movements in the base and Ml are dominated by endogenous responses to non-policy shocks.
In this paper a dynamic model is constructed in which labor and capital taxes are determined endogenously through majority voting. The wealth distribution of the economy is shown to influence the voting behavior, and hence the equilibrium levels of the tax rates, which in turn affect the future distribution of wealth. It is shown that the economy exhibits a unique dynamic behavior. Because of the endogenously determined taxes, the asset prices, wealth distribution, and the tax rates can display persistent fluctuations, and even limit cycles, in reaction to exogenous disturbances, or even due to initial conditions. It is also shown that "tax smoothing" does not necessarily appear to naturally arise in such a model, as the economy can display extreme fluctuations in the endogenously determined tax rates.