Creator: Chodorow-Reich, Gabriel, Karabarbounis, Loukas, and Kekre, Rohan Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 758 Abstract:
The Greek economy experienced a boom until 2007, followed by a prolonged depression resulting in a 25 percent shortfall of GDP by 2016. Informed by a detailed analysis of macroeconomic patterns in Greece, we estimate a rich dynamic general equilibrium model to assess quantitatively the sources of the boom and bust. Lower external demand for traded goods and contractionary fiscal policies account for the largest fraction of the Greek depression. A decline in total factor productivity, due primarily to lower factor utilization, substantially amplifies the depression. Given the significant adjustment of prices and wages observed throughout the cycle, a nominal devaluation would only have short-lived stabilizing effects. By contrast, shifting the burden of adjustment away from taxes toward spending or away from capital taxes toward other taxes would generate longer-term production and consumption gains. Eliminating the rise in transfers to households during the boom would significantly reduce the burden of tax adjustment in the bust and the magnitude of the depression.
Keyword: Greek depression, Taxes, Fiscal policy, Nominal rigidity, and Productivity Subject (JEL): E44 - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy, E62 - Fiscal Policy, F41 - Open Economy Macroeconomics, E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles, and E20 - Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy: General (includes Measurement and Data)
Creator: Bengui, Julien and Bianchi, Javier Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 754 Abstract:
The outreach of macroprudential policies is likely limited in practice by imperfect regulation enforcement, whether due to shadow banking, regulatory arbitrage, or other regulation circumvention schemes. We study how such concerns affect the design of optimal regulatory policy in a workhorse model in which pecuniary externalities call for macroprudential taxes on debt, but with the addition of a novel constraint that financial regulators lack the ability to enforce taxes on a subset of agents. While regulated agents reduce risk taking in response to debt taxes, unregulated agents react to the safer environment by taking on more risk. These leakages undermine the effectiveness of macroprudential taxes but do not necessarily call for weaker interventions. A quantitative analysis of the model suggests that aggregate welfare gains and reductions in the severity and frequency of financial crises remain, on average, largely unaffected by even significant leakages.
Keyword: Regulatory arbitrage, Macroprudential policy, Financial crises, and Limited regulation enforcement Subject (JEL): F32 - Current Account Adjustment; Short-term Capital Movements, E44 - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy, E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles, F41 - Open Economy Macroeconomics, and D62 - Externalities
Creator: Luttmer, Erzo G. J. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 748 Abstract:
Most firms begin very small, and large firms are the result of typically decades of persistent growth. This growth can be understood as the result of some form of capital accumulation-organization capital. In the US, the distribution of firm size k has a right tail only slightly thinner than 1/k. This means that most capital accumulation must be accounted for by incumbent fi rms. This paper describes a range of circumstances in which this implies aggregate convergence rates that are only about half of what they are in the standard Cass-Koopmans economy. Through the lens of the models described in this paper, the aftermath of the Great Recession of 2008 is unsurprising if the events of late 2008 and early 2009 are interpreted as a destruction of organization capital.
Keyword: Slow recoveries, Firm size distribution, Zipf's law, and Business cycles Subject (JEL): E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles and L11 - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
Creator: Eggertsson, Gauti B., Mehrotra, Neil R., and Robbins, Jacob A. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 742 Abstract:
This paper formalizes and quantifies the secular stagnation hypothesis, defined as a persistently low or negative natural rate of interest leading to a chronically binding zero lower bound (ZLB). Output-inflation dynamics and policy prescriptions are fundamentally different from those in the standard New Keynesian framework. Using a 56-period quantitative life cycle model, a standard calibration to US data delivers a natural rate ranging from -1.5% to -2%, implying an elevated risk of ZLB episodes for the foreseeable future. We decompose the contribution of demographic and technological factors to the decline in interest rates since 1970 and quantify changes required to restore higher rates.
Keyword: Secular stagnation, Zero lower bound, and Monetary policy Subject (JEL): E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles, E31 - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation, and E52 - Monetary Policy
Creator: Crouzet, Nicolas and Mehrotra, Neil R. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 741 Abstract:
Drawing from confidential firm-level data of US manufacturing firms, we provide new evidence on the cyclicality of small and large firms. We show that the cyclicality of sales and investment declines with firm size. The effect is primarily driven by differences between the top 0.5% of firms and the rest. Moreover, we show that, due to the skewness of sales and investment, the higher cyclicality of small firms has a negligible influence on the behavior of aggregates. We argue that the size asymmetry is unlikely to be driven by financial frictions given 1) the absence of statistically significant differences in the behavior of production inputs or debt in recessions, 2) the survival of the size effect after directly controlling for proxies of financial strength, and 3) the predictions of a simple financial frictions model, in which unconstrained (large) firms contract more in recessions than constrained (small) firms.
Keyword: Financial accelerator, Firm size, and Business cycles Subject (JEL): E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles, G30 - Corporate Finance and Governance: General, and E23 - Macroeconomics: Production
Creator: Bianchi, Javier Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 730 Abstract:
We develop a quantitative equilibrium model of financial crises to assess the interaction between ex-post interventions in credit markets and the buildup of risk ex ante. During a systemic crisis, bailouts relax balance sheet constraints and mitigate the severity of the recession. Ex ante, the anticipation of such bailouts leads to an increase in risk-taking, making the economy more vulnerable to a financial crisis. We find that moral hazard effects are limited if bailouts are systemic and broad-based. If bailouts are idiosyncratic and targeted, however, this makes the economy significantly more exposed to financial crises.
Keyword: Credit crunch, Macroprudential policy, Moral hazard, and Financial shocks Subject (JEL): E44 - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy, G18 - General Financial Markets: Government Policy and Regulation, E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles, and F40 - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance: General
Creator: Bocola, Luigi Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 722 Abstract:
This paper examines the macroeconomic implications of sovereign credit risk in a business cycle model where banks are exposed to domestic government debt. The news of a future sovereign default hampers financial intermediation. First, it tightens the funding constraints of banks, reducing their available resources to finance firms (liquidity channel). Second, it generates a precautionary motive for banks to deleverage (risk channel). I estimate the model using Italian data, finding that i) sovereign credit risk was recessionary and that ii) the risk channel was sizable. I then use the model to evaluate the effects of subsidized long term loans to banks, calibrated to the ECB’s longer-term refinancing operations. The presence of strong precautionary motives at the time of policy enactment implies that bank lending to firms is not very sensitive to these credit market interventions.
Keyword: Credit policies, Financial constraints, and Sovereign debt crises Subject (JEL): E44 - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy, G21 - Banks; Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages, E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles, and G01 - Financial Crises
Creator: Luttmer, Erzo G. J. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 703 Abstract:
Consider an economy in which various types of labor are used to produce consumption, but not all types of labor are useful for upgrading the stock of organization capital–that is, for replacing old projects with more productive new projects. When news induces consumers to want to save more, low-quality projects are destroyed across all sectors of the economy, even though the economy is set to increase its stock of new projects. Labor that can be used to create new projects becomes more expensive and labor that cannot becomes cheap. Average wages may not change at all, and the employment of workers who cannot invest in new projects will decline. If physical capital complements the inputs of these workers, investment in physical capital tends to move together with their employment. These results are derived analytically for a prototype economy that has the essential ingredients of empirically relevant equilibrium models of firm heterogeneity.
Keyword: Aggregate consumption, Factor prices, and Bayesian updating Subject (JEL): E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles, L16 - Industrial Organization and Macroeconomics: Industrial Structure and Structural Change; Industrial Price Indices, and E25 - Aggregate Factor Income Distribution
Creator: McGrattan, Ellen R. and Prescott, Edward C. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 694 Abstract:
Prior to the mid-1980s, labor productivity growth was a useful barometer of the U.S. economy’s performance: it was low when the economy was depressed and high when it was booming. Since then, labor productivity has become significantly less procyclical. In the recent downturn of 2008–2009, labor productivity actually rose as GDP plummeted. These facts have motivated the development of new business cycle theories because the conventional view is that they are inconsistent with existing business cycle theory. In this paper, we analyze recent events with existing theory and find that the labor productivity puzzle is much less of a puzzle than previously thought. In light of these findings, we argue that policy agendas arising from new untested theories should be disregarded.
Keyword: Intangible capital, Nonneutral technology change, Labor productivity, Labor wedge, and RBC models Subject (JEL): E01 - Measurement and Data on National Income and Product Accounts and Wealth; Environmental Accounts, E13 - General Aggregative Models: Neoclassical, and E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
Creator: Gu, Chao and Wright, Randall D. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 689 Abstract:
We study models of credit with limited commitment, which implies endogenous borrowing constraints. We show that there are multiple stationary equilibria, as well as nonstationary equilibria, including some that display deterministic cyclic and chaotic dynamics. There are also stochastic (sunspot) equilibria, in which credit conditions change randomly over time, even though fundamentals are deterministic and stationary. We show this can occur when the terms of trade are determined by Walrasian pricing or by Nash bargaining. The results illustrate how it is possible to generate equilibria with credit cycles (crunches, freezes, crises) in theory, and as recently observed in actual economies.
Keyword: Credit and Cycles Subject (JEL): E51 - Money Supply; Credit; Money Multipliers and E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
Creator: McGrattan, Ellen R. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 670 Abstract:
Previous studies quantifying the effects of increased taxation during the U.S. Great Depression find that its contribution is small, in accounting for both the downturn in the early 1930s and the slow recovery after 1934. This paper shows that this conclusion rests critically on the assumption that the only taxable capital income is business profits. Effects of capital taxation are much larger when taxes on property, capital stock, excess profits, undistributed profits, and dividends are included in the analysis. When fed into a general equilibrium model, the increased taxes imply significant declines in investment and equity values and nontrivial declines in gross domestic product (GDP) and hours of work. Of particular importance during the Great Depression was the dramatic rise in the effective tax rate on corporate dividends.
Subject (JEL): E13 - General Aggregative Models: Neoclassical, E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles, and H25 - Business Taxes and Subsidies including sales and value-added (VAT)
Creator: Chari, V. V., Kehoe, Patrick J., and McGrattan, Ellen R. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 664 Abstract:
In the 1970s macroeconomists often disagreed bitterly. Macroeconomists have now largely converged on method, model design, and macroeconomic policy advice. The disagreements that remain all stem from the practical implementation of the methodology. Some macroeconomists think that New Keynesian models are on the verge of being useful for quarter-to-quarter quantitative policy advice. We do not. We argue that the shocks in these models are dubiously structural and show that many of the features of the model as well as the implications due to these features are inconsistent with microeconomic evidence. These arguments lead us to conclude that New Keynesian models are not yet useful for policy analysis.
Subject (JEL): E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles and E58 - Central Banks and Their Policies
Creator: Liu, Zheng, Waggoner, Daniel F., and Zha, Tao Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 653 Abstract:
The possibility of regime shifts in monetary policy can have important effects on rational agents’ expectation formation and equilibrium dynamics. In a DSGE model where the monetary policy rule switches between a dovish regime that accommodates inflation and a hawkish regime that stabilizes inflation, the expectation effect is asymmetric across regimes. Such an asymmetric effect makes it difficult, but still possible, to generate substantial reductions in the volatilities of inflation and output as the monetary policy switches from the dovish regime to the hawkish regime.
Keyword: Structural breaks, Monetary policy regime, Expectations formation, Lucas critique, and Macroeconomic volatility Subject (JEL): E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles, E42 - Monetary Systems; Standards; Regimes; Government and the Monetary System; Payment Systems, and E52 - Monetary Policy
Creator: Kehoe, Patrick J. and Perri, Fabrizio Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 621 Abstract:
Previous literature has shown that the study and characterization of constrained efficient allocations in economies with limited enforcement is useful to understand the limited risk sharing observed in many contexts, in particular between sovereign countries. In this paper we show that these constrained efficient allocations arise as equilibria in an economy in which private agents behave competitively, taking as given a set of taxes. We then show that these taxes, which end up limiting risk sharing, arise as an equilibrium of a dynamic game between governments. Our decentralization is different from the existing ones proposed in the literature. We find it intuitively appealing and we think it goes farther than the existing literature in endogenizing the primitive forces that lead to a lack of risk sharing in equilibrium.
Keyword: Sustainable equilibrium, Decentralization, Incomplete markets, Default, Enforcement constraints, Sovereign debt, and Risk-sharing Subject (JEL): E44 - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy, D50 - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium: General, E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles, F34 - International Lending and Debt Problems, E21 - Macroeconomics: Consumption; Saving; Wealth, and F30 - International Finance: General
Creator: Luttmer, Erzo G. J. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 585 Abstract:
Most firms begin very small, and large firms are the result of typically decades of persistent growth. This growth can be understood as the result of some form of organization capital accumulation. In the US, the distribution of firm size k has a right tail only slightly thinner than 1/k. This is shown to imply that incumbent firms account for most aggregate organization capital accumulation. And it implies potentially extremely slow aggregate convergence rates. A benchmark model is proposed in which managers can use incumbent organization capital to create new organization capital. Workers are a specific factor for producing consumption, and they require managerial supervision. Through the lens of the model, the aftermath of the Great Recession of 2008 is unsurprising if the events of late 2008 and early 2009 are interpreted as a destruction of organization capital, or as a belief shock that made consumers want to reduce consumption and accumulate more wealth instead.
Keyword: Zipf's law, Business cycles, Firm size distribution, and Slow recoveries Subject (JEL): L11 - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms and E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
Creator: Kehoe, Patrick J., Midrigan, Virgiliu, and Pastorino, Elena Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 566 Abstract:
Modern business cycle theory focuses on the study of dynamic stochastic general equilibrium models that generate aggregate fluctuations similar to those experienced by actual economies. We discuss how this theory has evolved from its roots in the early real business cycle models of the late 1970s through the turmoil of the Great Recession four decades later. We document the strikingly different pattern of comovements of macro aggregates during the Great Recession compared to other postwar recessions, especially the 1982 recession. We then show how two versions of the latest generation of real business cycle models can account, respectively, for the aggregate and the cross-regional fluctuations observed in the Great Recession in the United States.
Keyword: New Keynesian models, Financial frictions, and External validation Subject (JEL): E52 - Monetary Policy, E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles, E13 - General Aggregative Models: Neoclassical, and E61 - Policy Objectives; Policy Designs and Consistency; Policy Coordination
Creator: Gavazza, Alessandro, Mongey, Simon J., and Violante, Giovanni L. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 553 Abstract:
We develop an equilibrium model of firm dynamics with random search in the labor market where hiring firms exert recruiting effort by spending resources to fill vacancies faster. Consistent with microevidence, fast-growing firms invest more in recruiting activities and achieve higher job-filling rates. These hiring decisions of firms aggregate into an index of economy-wide recruiting intensity. We study how aggregate shocks transmit to recruiting intensity, and whether this channel can account for the dynamics of aggregate matching efficiency during the Great Recession. Productivity and financial shocks lead to sizable pro-cyclical fluctuations in matching efficiency through recruiting effort. Quantitatively, the main mechanism is that firms attain their employment targets by adjusting their recruiting effort in response to movements in labor market slackness.
Keyword: Firm dynamics, Unemployment, Macroeconomic shocks, Recruiting intensity, Aggregate matching efficiency, and Vacancies Subject (JEL): E44 - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy, E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles, E24 - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity, D25 - Intertemporal Firm Choice: Investment, Capacity, and Financing, G01 - Financial Crises, J23 - Labor Demand, J64 - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search, and J63 - Labor Turnover; Vacancies; Layoffs
Creator: McGrattan, Ellen R. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 545 Abstract:
Because ﬁrms invest heavily in R&D, software, brands, and other intangible assets—at a rate close to that of tangible assets—changes in measured GDP, which does not include all intangible investments, understate the actual changes in total output. If changes in the labor input are more precisely measured, then it is possible to observe little change in measured total factor productivity (TFP) coincidentally with large changes in hours and investment. This mismeasurement leaves business cycle modelers with large and unexplained labor wedges accounting for most of the ﬂuctuations in aggregate data. To address this issue, I incorporate intangible investments into a multi-sector general equilibrium model and parameterize income and cost shares using data from an updated U.S. input and output table, with intangible investments reassigned from intermediate to ﬁnal uses. I employ maximum likelihood methods and quarterly observations on sectoral gross outputs for the United States over the period 1985–2014 to estimate processes for latent sectoral TFPs—that have common and sector-speciﬁc components. Aggregate hours are not used to estimate TFPs, but the model predicts changes in hours that compare well with the actual hours series and account for roughly two-thirds of its standard deviation. I ﬁnd that sector-speciﬁc shocks and industry linkages play an important role in accounting for ﬂuctuations and comovements in aggregate and industry-level U.S. data, and I ﬁnd that the model’s common component of TFP is not correlated at business cycle frequencies with the standard measures of aggregate TFP used in the macroeconomic literature.
Keyword: Intangible investments, Input-output linkages, Total factor productivity, and Business cycles Subject (JEL): E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles, D57 - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium: Input-Output Tables and Analysis, and O41 - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models