Creator: Sargent, Thomas J. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 040 Abstract:
No abstract available.
Creator: Guvenen, Fatih, Schulhofer-Wohl, Sam, Song, Jae, and Yogo, Motohiro Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 546 Abstract:
The magnitude of and heterogeneity in systematic earnings risk has important implications for various theories in macro, labor, and ﬁnancial economics. Using administrative data, we document how the aggregate risk exposure of individual earnings to GDP and stock returns varies across gender, age, the worker’s earnings level, and industry. Aggregate risk exposure is U-shaped with respect to the earnings level. In the middle of the earnings distribution, aggregate risk exposure is higher for males, younger workers, and those in construction and durable manufacturing. At the top of the earnings distribution, aggregate risk exposure is higher for older workers and those in ﬁnance. Workers in larger employers are less exposed to aggregate risk, but they are more exposed to a common factor in employer-level earnings, especially at the top of the earnings distribution. Within an employer, higher-paid workers have higher exposure to employer-level risk than lower-paid workers.
Subject (JEL): G11 - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions and D31 - Personal Income, Wealth, and Their Distributions
Creator: Guvenen, Fatih and Rendall, Michelle Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 704 Abstract:
In this paper, we study the role of education as insurance against a bad marriage. Historically, due to disparities in earning power and education across genders, married women often found themselves in an economically vulnerable position, and had to suffer one of two fates in a bad marriage: either they get divorced (assuming it is available) and struggle as low-income single mothers, or they remain trapped in the marriage. In both cases, education can provide a route to emancipation for women. To investigate this idea, we build and estimate an equilibrium search model with education, marriage/divorce/remarriage, and household labor supply decisions. A key feature of the model is that women bear a larger share of the divorce burden, mainly because they are more closely tied to their children relative to men. Our focus on education is motivated by the fact that divorce laws typically allow spouses to keep the future returns from their human capital upon divorce (unlike their physical assets), making education a good insurance against divorce risk. However, as women further their education, the earnings gap between spouses shrinks, leading to more unstable marriages and, in turn, further increasing demand for education. The framework generates powerful amplification mechanisms, which lead to a large rise in divorce rates and a decline in marriage rates (similar to those observed in the US data) from relatively modest exogenous driving forces. Further, in the model, women overtake men in college attainment during the 1990s, a feature of the data that has proved challenging to explain. Our counterfactual experiments indicate that the divorce law reform of the 1970s played an important role in all of these trends, explaining more than one-quarter of college attainment rate of women post-1970s and one-half of the rise in labor supply for married women.
Keyword: Divorce, Divorce law reform, College-gender gap, Remarriage, Marriage, and Female labor supply Subject (JEL): D13 - Household Production and Intrahousehold Allocation, J12 - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure; Domestic Abuse, and E24 - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
Creator: Green, Edward J. and Weber, Warren E. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 571 Abstract:
A current U.S. policy is to introduce a new style of currency that is harder to counterfeit, but not immediately to withdraw from circulation all of the old-style currency. This policy is analyzed in a random-matching model of money, and its potential to decrease counterfeiting in the long run is shown. For various parameters of the model, three types of equilibria are found to occur. In only one does counterfeiting continue at its initial high level. In the other two, both genuine and counterfeit old-style money go out of circulation—immediately in one and gradually in the other. There are objectives and expectations that can reasonably be imputed to policymakers, under which the policy that they have chosen can make sense.
Creator: Wallace, Neil Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 084 Keyword: Fiat money, Federal Reserve System, Monetary policy, and Central banking Subject (JEL): E51 - Money Supply; Credit; Money Multipliers and E58 - Central Banks and Their Policies
Creator: Smith, Eric and Wright, Randall D. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 139 Abstract:
We document and attempt to explain the observation that automobile insurance premiums vary dramatically across local markets. We argue high premiums can be attributed to the large numbers of uninsured motorists in some cities, while at the same time, the uninsured motorists can be attributed to high premiums. We construct a simple noncooperative equilibrium model, where limited liability can generate inefficient equilibria with uninsured drivers and high, yet actuarially fair, premiums. For certain parameterizations, an optimal full insurance equilibrium and inefficient high price equilibria with uninsured drivers exist simultaneously, consistent with the observed price variability across seemingly similar cities.
Subject (JEL): G22 - Insurance; Insurance Companies; Actuarial Studies, D40 - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design: General, and C72 - Noncooperative Games
Creator: Kehoe, Timothy Jerome, 1953- and Ruhl, Kim J. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 453 Abstract:
Following its opening to trade and foreign investment in the mid-1980s, Mexico’s economic growth has been modest at best, particularly in comparison with that of China. Comparing these countries and reviewing the literature, we conclude that the relation between openness and growth is not a simple one. Using standard trade theory, we find that Mexico has gained from trade, and by some measures, more so than China. We sketch out a theory in which developing countries can grow faster than the United States by reforming. As a country becomes richer, this sort of catch-up becomes more difficult. Absent continuing reforms, Chinese growth is likely to slow down sharply, perhaps leaving China at a level less than Mexico’s real GDP per working-age person.
Subject (JEL): E23 - Macroeconomics: Production, F14 - Empirical Studies of Trade, O20 - Development Planning and Policy: General, O10 - Economic Development: General, E65 - Studies of Particular Policy Episodes, and O47 - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence
Creator: Christiano, Lawrence J. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 339 Keyword: Fluctuations, Investment, Inventory investments, and Inventory Subject (JEL): G31 - Capital Budgeting; Fixed Investment and Inventory Studies; Capacity and E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
Creator: Jagannathan, Ravi and Murray, Frank Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 229 Abstract:
It is well documented that on average, stock prices drop by less than the value of the dividend on ex-dividend days. This has commonly been attributed to the effect of tax clienteles. We use data from the Hong Kong stock market where neither dividends nor capital gains are taxed. As in the U.S.A. the average stock price drop is less than the value of the dividend; specifically, in Hong Kong the average dividend was HK $0.12 and the average price drop was HK $0.06. We are able to account for this both theoretically and empirically through market microstructure based arguments.
Keyword: Asset pricing, Dividends, Market microstructure, and Bid-ask spread Subject (JEL): G12 - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates and G35 - Payout Policy
Creator: Prescott, Edward C. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 321 Abstract:
Americans now work 50 percent more than do the Germans, French, and Italians. This was not the case in the early 1970s when the Western Europeans worked more than Americans. In this paper, I examine the role of taxes in accounting for the differences in labor supply across time and across countries, in particular, the effective marginal tax rate on labor income. The population of countries considered is that of the G-7 countries, which are major advanced industrial countries. The surprising finding is that this marginal tax rate accounts for the predominance of the differences at points in time and the large change in relative labor supply over time with the exception of the Italian labor supply in the early 1970s.
Keyword: International Tax Rates, International Labor Supply, and Social Security Reform Subject (JEL): E13 - General Aggregative Models: Neoclassical, E62 - Fiscal Policy, H20 - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue: General, and E24 - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
Creator: Ohanian, Lee E. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 285 Abstract:
Between 1929 and 1933, real output per adult fell over 30 percent and total factor productivity fell 18 percent. This productivity decrease is much larger than expected from just extrapolating the productivity decrease that typically occurs during recessions. This paper evaluates what factors may have caused this large decrease, including unmeasured factor utilization, changes in the composition of production, and increasing returns. I find that these factors combined explain less than one-third of the 18 percent decrease, and I conclude that the productivity decrease during the Great Depression remains a puzzle.
Subject (JEL): N12 - Economic History: Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations: U.S.; Canada: 1913-, E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles, and O47 - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence
Creator: Chari, V. V. and Cole, Harold Linh, 1957- Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 163 Abstract:
We develop a model of a representative democracy in which a legislature makes collective decisions about local public goods expenditures and how they are financed. In our model of the political process legislators defer to spending requests of individual representatives, particularly committee chairmen, who tend to promote spending requests that benefit their own districts. Because legislators do not fully internalize the tax consequences of their individual spending proposals, there is a free rider problem, and as a result spending is excessively high. This leads legislators to prefer a higher level of debt to restrain excessive future spending.
Creator: Jones, Larry E., Manuelli, Rodolfo E., and McGrattan, Ellen R. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 317 Abstract:
We study the large observed changes in labor supply by married women in the United States over the post–World War II period, a period that saw little change in the labor supply by single women. We investigate the effects of changes in the gender wage gap, the quantitative impact of technological improvements in the production of nonmarket goods, and the potential inferiority of nonmarket goods in explaining the dramatic change in labor supply. We find that small decreases in the gender wage gap can simultaneously explain the significant increases in the average hours worked by married women and the relative constancy in the hours worked by single women and by single and married men. We also find that the impact of technological improvements in the household on married female hours and on the relative wage of females to males is too small for realistic values. Some specifications of the inferiority of home goods match the hours patterns, but they have counterfactual predictions for wages and expenditure patterns.
Keyword: Gender wage gap, Technological improvements, and Hours of work Subject (JEL): J22 - Time Allocation and Labor Supply and E24 - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
Creator: Martin, Antoine and Monnet, Cyril Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 603 Abstract:
This paper proposes a theory of when labor contract should be nominal or, instead, indexed. We find that, contracts should be indexed if prices are difficult to forecast and nominal otherwise. We use a principal-agent model developed by Jovanovic and Ueda (1997), with moral hazard, renegotiation, and where a signal (the nominal value of the sales of the agent) is observed before renegotiation takes place. We show that their result, that the optimal contract is nominal when agents must choose pure strategies, is robust to the case where agents can choose mixed strategies in the sense that, for certain parameters, the optimal contract is still nominal. For other parameters, however, we show that the optimal contract is indexed. Our findings are consistent with two empirical regularities. First prices are more volatile with higher inflation and, second, countries with high inflation tend to have indexed contracts. Our theory suggests that it is because prices are difficult to forecast in high inflation countries that contracts are indexed.
Keyword: Nominal contracts and Theory of uncertainty and information Subject (JEL): D80 - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty: General, E30 - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles: General (includes Measurement and Data), and J40 - Particular Labor Markets: General
Creator: Bridgman, Benjamin, Maio, Michael, Schmitz, James Andrew, and Teixeira, Arilton Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 477 Abstract:
Beginning in the early 1900s, Puerto Rican sugar has entered the U.S. mainland tariff free. Given this new status, the Puerto Rican sugar industry grew dramatically, soon far outstripping Louisiana’s production. Then, in the middle 1960s, something amazing happened. Production collapsed. Manufacturing sugar in Puerto Rico was no longer profitable. Louisiana, in contrast, continued to produce and grow sugar. We argue that local economic policy was responsible for the industry’s demise. In the 1930s and 1940s, the local Puerto Rican government enacted policies to stifle the growth of large cane-farms. As a result, starting in the late 1930s, farm size fell, mechanization of farms essentially ceased, and the Puerto Rican sugar industry’s productivity (relative to Louisiana) rapidly declined until the industry collapsed. The overall Puerto Rican economy also began to perform poorly in the late 1930s. In particular, Puerto Rico’s per capita income was converging to that of the poorest U.S. states until the late 1930s, but since then it has lost ground to these states. One naturally wonders: was the poor overall performance of the Puerto Rican economy also the result of policy? We show that Puerto Rico embarked on other economic policies in the early 1940s that proved to be major setbacks to its economic development.
Keyword: Sugar, Land, Industrial policy, and Puerto Rico Subject (JEL): L52 - Industrial Policy; Sectoral Planning Methods and N56 - Economic History: Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment, and Extractive Industries: Latin America; Caribbean
Creator: Bhandari, Anmol, Birinci, Serdar, McGrattan, Ellen R., and See, Kurt Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 568 Abstract:
This paper examines the reliability of widely used surveys on U.S. businesses. We compare survey responses of business owners with administrative data and document large inconsistencies in business incomes, receipts, and the number of owners. We document problems due to nonrepresentative samples and measurement errors. Nonrepresentativeness is reflected in undersampling of owners with low incomes. Measurement errors arise because respondents do not refer to relevant documents and possibly because of framing issues. We discuss implications for statistics of interest, such as business valuations and returns. We conclude that predictions based on current survey data should be treated with caution.
Keyword: Business taxes and valuation, Intangibles, and Survey data Subject (JEL): H25 - Business Taxes and Subsidies including sales and value-added (VAT), C83 - Survey Methods; Sampling Methods, and E22 - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity
Creator: Guvenen, Fatih, Karahan, Fatih, Ozkan, Serdar, and Song, Jae Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 719 Abstract:
We study the evolution of individual labor earnings over the life cycle using a large panel data set of earnings histories drawn from U.S. administrative records. Using fully nonparametric methods, our analysis reaches two broad conclusions. First, earnings shocks display substantial deviations from lognormality–the standard assumption in the incomplete markets literature. In particular, earnings shocks display strong negative skewness and extremely high kurtosis–as high as 30 compared with 3 for a Gaussian distribution. The high kurtosis implies that in a given year, most individuals experience very small earnings shocks, and a small but non-negligible number experience very large shocks. Second, these statistical properties vary significantly both over the life cycle and with the earnings level of individuals. We also estimate impulse response functions of earnings shocks and find important asymmetries: positive shocks to high-income individuals are quite transitory, whereas negative shocks are very persistent; the opposite is true for low-income individuals. Finally, we use these rich sets of moments to estimate econometric processes with increasing generality to capture these salient features of earnings dynamics.
Keyword: Non-Guassian shocks, Skewness, Earnings dynamics, Kurtosis, Nonparametric estimation, Life-cycle earnings risk, and Normal mixture Subject (JEL): J24 - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity, E24 - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity, and J31 - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
Creator: Schmitz, James Andrew Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 286 Abstract:
Great Lakes iron ore producers had faced no competition from foreign iron ore in the Great Lakes steel market for nearly a century as the 1970s closed. In the early 1980s, as a result of unprecedented developments in the world steel market, Brazilian producers were offering to deliver iron ore to Chicago (the heart of the Great Lakes market) at prices substantially below local iron ore prices. The U.S. and Canadian iron ore industries faced a major crisis that cast doubt on their future. In response to the crisis, these industries dramatically increased productivity. Labor productivity doubled in a few years (whereas it had changed little in the preceding decade). Materials productivity increased by more than half. Capital productivity increased as well. I show that most of the productivity gains were due to changes in work practices. Work practice changes reduced overstaffing and hence increased labor productivity. Changes in work practices, by increasing the fraction of time equipment was in operating mode, also significantly increased materials and capital productivity.
Keyword: Work Rules, Effort, Competition, and Labor Productivity Subject (JEL): J24 - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity, J50 - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining: General, O40 - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity: General, O35 - Social Innovation, and L70 - Industry Studies: Primary Products and Construction: General