Creator: Aiyagari, S. Rao and Wallace, Neil Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 516 Abstract:
An interpretation of government policy regarding what it accepts in transactions is embedded in a version of the Kiyotaki-Wright model of media of exchange. In an example with two goods and one fiat money, the policies consistent with fiat money being the unique medium of exchange are identified. These uniqueness policies have the government favoring fiat money in its transactions. Benefits and costs accompany any such policy. The benefit is that a worse nonmonetary equilibrium is eliminated; the cost is that a better monetary equilibrium is also eliminated.
Subject (JEL): E40 - Money and Interest Rates: General
Creator: Bils, Mark, Klenow, Peter J., and Malin, Benjamin A. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 516 Abstract:
Employment and hours appear far more cyclical than dictated by the behavior of productivity and consumption. This puzzle has been called “the labor wedge” — a cyclical intratemporal wedge between the marginal product of labor and the marginal rate of substitution of consumption for leisure. The intratemporal wedge can be broken into a product market wedge (price markup) and a labor market wedge (wage markup). Based on the wages of employees, the literature has attributed the intratemporal wedge almost entirely to labor market distortions. Because employee wages may be smoothed versions of the true cyclical price of labor, we instead examine the self-employed and intermediate inputs, respectively. Looking at the past quarter century in the United States, we find that price markup movements are at least as important as wage markup movements — including during the Great Recession and its aftermath. Thus, sticky prices and other forms of countercyclical markups deserve a central place in business cycle research, alongside sticky wages and matching frictions.
Keyword: Price markups, Business cycles, Labor wedge, and Wage markups Subject (JEL): E24 - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity and E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
Creator: Boyd, John H., Daley, Lane A., 1953-, and Runkle, David Edward Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 515 Abstract:
This paper examines the seasonal pattern of accruals for loan-loss provisions and chargeoffs chosen by bank managers. Using the existing literature on intra-year discretionary accruals, knowledge of the incentive systems used to evaluate bank managers' performance, and various regulatory characteristics, we predict that accruals for provisions and chargeoffs will cluster in the fourth quarter of each year. We examine quarterly data for 105 large bank holding companies from the first quarter of 1980 through the fourth quarter of 1990. Our results indicate that: (1) provisions and chargeoffs are clustered in the fourth quarter, (2) this clustering is not related to the level of business activity of the banks, (3) the proximity of a bank's actual capital to its regulatory capital requirement does not affect this clustering, and (4) current provisions are affected both by current chargeoffs and by expectations about future chargeoffs. To examine whether the systematic characteristics of these loan-loss provision and chargeoff decisions are understood by users, we also estimate a quarterly equity valuation model in which quarterly provisions should be differentially weighted to reflect their seasonal characteristics. We find strong evidence to indicate that equity prices behave as if the market participants take these seasonal properties into account.
Keyword: Bank lending, Loan-loss provision, Seasonality, Loans, Loan losses, Charge-off, and Banks Subject (JEL): G14 - Information and Market Efficiency; Event Studies; Insider Trading and G21 - Banks; Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
Creator: Arellano, Cristina, Atkeson, Andrew, and Wright, Mark L. J. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 515 Abstract:
The recent debt crises in Europe and the U.S. states feature similar sharp increases in spreads on government debt but also show important differences. In Europe, the crisis occurred at high government indebtedness levels and had spillovers to the private sector. In the United States, state government indebtedness was low, and the crisis had no spillovers to the private sector. We show theoretically and empirically that these different debt experiences result from the interplay between differences in the ability of governments to interfere in private external debt contracts and differences in the flexibility of state fiscal institutions.
Keyword: Debt crises, Tax flexibility, Interference with private contracts, and Sudden stops Subject (JEL): K10 - Basic Areas of Law: General (Constitutional Law), F30 - International Finance: General, and H70 - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations: General
Creator: McGrattan, Ellen R. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 514 Keyword: Finite element method, Computational time, Accuracy, Stochastic growth model, Applied economics, and Computational method Subject (JEL): C52 - Model Evaluation, Validation, and Selection and C63 - Computational Techniques; Simulation Modeling
Creator: Chodorow-Reich, Gabriel and Karabarbounis, Loukas Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 514 Abstract:
The flow opportunity cost of moving from unemployment to employment consists of foregone public benefits and the foregone value of non-working time in units of consumption. We construct a time series of the opportunity cost of employment using detailed microdata and administrative or national accounts data to estimate benefit levels, eligibility and take-up of benefits, consumption by labor force status, hours per worker, taxes, and preference parameters. Our estimated opportunity cost is procyclical and volatile over the business cycle. The estimated cyclicality implies far less unemployment volatility in many leading models of the labor market than that observed in the data, irrespective of the level of the opportunity cost.
Keyword: Opportunity cost of employment and Unemployment fluctuations Subject (JEL): J64 - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search, E24 - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity, and E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
Creator: Atkeson, Andrew and Kehoe, Patrick J. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 513 Abstract:
In this paper, we build a model of the transition following large-scale economic reforms that predicts both a substantial drop in output and a prolonged pause in physical investment as the initial phase of the optimal transition following the reform. We model reform as a change in policy which induces agents to close existing enterprises using old technologies of production and to open up new enterprises adopting new technologies of production. The central idea of our paper is that it is costly to close old enterprises and open new enterprises because, in doing so, information capital built up about old enterprises is lost and time must pass before information capital about new enterprises can be acquired. Thus, an acceleration of the pace of industry evolution leads in the short run to a net loss of information capital, a drop in productivity, a recession, and a fall in physical investment. We calibrate our model of industry evolution, information capital, and transition to match micro data on industry evolution in the United States and macro data from the United States, Japan, and the former communist countries of Europe. We find that the loss of information capital that accompanies a major acceleration in the pace of industry evolution in an economy leads initially to a decade of recession and a five year pause in physical investment before the benefits of reform are realized.
Keyword: Information capital, Recession, Transition, Industrial evolution, Economic reform, Technological evolution, Policy change, and Technology change Subject (JEL): O25 - Industrial Policy and O33 - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
Creator: Anderson, Eric, Malin, Benjamin A., Nakamura, Emi, Simester, Duncan, and Steinsson, Jón, 1976- Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 513 Abstract:
We use unique price data to study how retailers react to underlying cost changes. Temporary sales account for 95% of price changes in our data. Simple models would, therefore, suggest that temporary sales play a central role in price responses to cost shocks. We find, however, that, in response to a wholesale cost increase, the entire increase in retail prices comes through regular price increases. Sales actually respond temporarily in the opposite direction from regular prices, as though to conceal the price hike. Additional evidence from responses to commodity cost and local unemployment shocks, as well as broader evidence from BLS data reinforces these findings. We present institutional evidence that sales are complex contingent contracts, determined substantially in advance. We show theoretically that these institutional practices leave little money “on the table”: in a price-discrimination model of sales, dynamically adjusting the size of sales yields only a tiny increase in profits.
Keyword: Regular Retail Prices, Retail Sales, and Trade Deals Subject (JEL): L11 - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms, E30 - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles: General (includes Measurement and Data), and M30 - Marketing and Advertising: General
Creator: Boyd, John H. and Smith, Bruce D. (Bruce David), 1954-2002 Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 512 Abstract:
We investigate ex-ante efficient contracts in an environment in which implementation is costless. In this environment, standard debt contracts will typically not be optimal. Optimal contracts may involve defaults, even in states in which the borrower is fully able to repay. We then examine the welfare costs of arbitrarily restricting the set of feasible contracts to standard debt contracts. When model parameters are calibrated to realistic values, the welfare loss from exogenously imposing this restriction is extremely small. Thus, if the implementation costs are actually nontrivial (as seems likely), standard debt contracts will be (very close to) optimal.
Keyword: CSV, Optimal contract, CESV, Standard debt contract, Ex ante contract, Costly state verification, Loans, Financial contract, Bankruptcy, Costly ex-post state verification, Contracts, and Debt Subject (JEL): G10 - General Financial Markets: General (includes Measurement and Data) and D86 - Economics of Contract: Theory