Creator: Fogli, Alessandra and Perri, Fabrizio Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 512 Abstract:
Does macroeconomic volatility/uncertainty affect accumulation of net foreign assets? In OECD economies over the period 1970-2012, changes in country specific aggregate volatility are, after controlling for a wide array of factors, significantly positively associated with net foreign asset position. An increase in volatility (measured as the standard deviation of GDP growth) of 0.5% over period of 10 years is associated with an increase in the net foreign assets of around 8% of GDP. A standard open economy model with time varying aggregate uncertainty can quantitatively account for this relationship. The key mechanism is precautionary motive: more uncertainty induces residents to save more, and higher savings are in part channeled into foreign assets. We conclude that both data and theory suggest uncertainty/volatility is an important determinant of the medium/long run evolution of external imbalances in developed countries.
Keyword: Uncertainty, Global imbalances, Precautionary saving, Current account, and Business cycles Subject (JEL): F41 - Open Economy Macroeconomics, F34 - International Lending and Debt Problems, and F32 - Current Account Adjustment; Short-term Capital Movements
Creator: Aguiar, Mark, Amador, Manuel, Farhi, Emmanuel, and Gopinath, Gita, 1971- Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 511 Abstract:
We study fiscal and monetary policy in a monetary union with the potential for rollover crises in sovereign debt markets. Member-country fiscal authorities lack commitment to repay their debt and choose fiscal policy independently. A common monetary authority chooses inflation for the union, also without commitment. We first describe the existence of a fiscal externality that arises in the presence of limited commitment and leads countries to over-borrow; this externality rationalizes the imposition of debt ceilings in a monetary union. We then investigate the impact of the composition of debt in a monetary union, that is the fraction of high-debt versus low-debt members, on the occurrence of self-fulfilling debt crises. We demonstrate that a high-debt country may be less vulnerable to crises and have higher welfare when it belongs to a union with an intermediate mix of high- and low-debt members, than one where all other members are low-debt. This contrasts with the conventional wisdom that all countries should prefer a union with low-debt members, as such a union can credibly deliver low inflation. These findings shed new light on the criteria for an optimal currency area in the presence of rollover crises.
Keyword: Monetary union, Fiscal policy , Coordination failures, and Debt crisis Subject (JEL): E50 - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit: General, E40 - Money and Interest Rates: General, F30 - International Finance: General, and F40 - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance: General
Creator: Alonso, Irasema Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 510 Abstract:
We seem to observe different patterns of exchange at different times and in different places. The first goal of this paper is to develop a model of money as a medium of exchange which allows multiple transaction patterns. A dynamic version of Shubik’s trading post economy is used, and it is shown that this economy allows a role for fiat money, and that fiat money can coexist with barter in exchange. There are multiple decentralized equilibria, and one of these resembles the equilibrium of a cash-in-advance economy—indeed, the model can be viewed as a generalization of the cash-in-advance framework. The second goal of the paper is to show that the present model can help explain why inflation seems far more disruptive and costly than what is implied by empirical studies on the cash-in-advance model. The argument for this is based on misestimations due to the unobservability of the patterns of exchange, which are variable in this model.
Creator: Koijen, Ralph S. J. and Yogo, Motohiro Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 510 Abstract:
We develop an asset pricing model with flexible heterogeneity in asset demand across investors, designed to match institutional and household holdings. A portfolio choice model implies characteristics-based demand when returns have a factor structure and expected returns and factor loadings depend on the assets' own characteristics. We propose an instrumental variables estimator for the characteristics-based demand system to address the endogeneity of demand and asset prices. Using U.S. stock market data, we illustrate how the model could be used to understand the role of institutions in asset market movements, volatility, and predictability.
Keyword: Institutional investors, Portfolio choice, Asset pricing model, Demand system, and Liquidity Subject (JEL): G23 - Pension Funds; Non-bank Financial Institutions; Financial Instruments; Institutional Investors and G12 - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
Creator: Green, Edward J. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 509 Abstract:
Thinking regarding the privatization of state industries and enterprises in the former Comecon countries has tended to focus on the efficiency gains that would occur in the privatized sector. Based on the comparatively good performance and the rather rigid configuration of Comecon production institutions, the scope for such productivity gains seems small. Rather, productivity and innovation in the post-Comecon economies are likely to depend greatly on the emergence of new, initially small, entrepreneurial firms. The extent and form of privatization may affect these firms' prospects for success. How the privatized-firm and entrepreneurial sector will interact depends on public-finance considerations as well as on considerations of industrial organization.
Keyword: Soviet bloc, Entrepreneurship, State enterprise, Comecon, Eastern bloc, Privatization, Council for Mutual Economic Assistance, Private enterprise, and Growth Subject (JEL): G38 - Corporate Finance and Governance: Government Policy and Regulation, L16 - Industrial Organization and Macroeconomics: Industrial Structure and Structural Change; Industrial Price Indices, and L33 - Comparison of Public and Private Enterprises and Nonprofit Institutions; Privatization; Contracting Out
Creator: Luttmer, Erzo G. J. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 509 Abstract:
Randomness in individual discovery disperses productivities, whereas learning from others keeps productivities together. Long-run growth and persistent earnings inequality emerge when these two mechanisms for knowledge accumulation are combined. This paper considers an economy in which those with more useful knowledge can teach others, with competitive markets assigning students to teachers. In equilibrium, students with an ability to learn quickly are assigned to teachers with the most productive knowledge. This sorting on ability implies large differences in earnings distributions conditional on ability, as shown using explicit formulas for the tail behavior of these distributions.
Keyword: Knowledge diffusion, Income inequality, and Growth Subject (JEL): J20 - Demand and Supply of Labor: General, O30 - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights: General, O10 - Economic Development: General, and O40 - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity: General
Creator: Heathcote, Jonathan and Perri, Fabrizio Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 508 Abstract:
Between 2007 and 2013, U.S. households experienced a large and persistent decline in net worth. The objective of this paper is to study the business cycle implications of such a decline. We first develop a tractable monetary model in which households face idiosyncratic unemployment risk that they can partially self-insure using savings. A low level of liquid household wealth opens the door to self-fullfilling fluctuations: if wealth-poor households expect high unemployment, they have a strong precautionary incentive to cut spending, which can make the expectation of high unemployment a reality. Monetary policy, because of the zero lower bound, cannot rule out such expectations-driven recessions. In contrast, when wealth is sufficiently high, an aggressive monetary policy can keep the economy at full employment. Finally, we document that during the U.S. Great Recession wealth-poor households increased saving more sharply than richer households, pointing towards the importance of the precautionary channel over this period.
Keyword: Zero lower bound, Precautionary saving, Multiple equilibria, Business cycles, Aggregate demand, and Self-fulfilling crises Subject (JEL): E21 - Macroeconomics: Consumption; Saving; Wealth, E12 - General Aggregative Models: Keynes; Keynesian; Post-Keynesian, and E52 - Monetary Policy
Creator: Aiyagari, S. Rao Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 508 Abstract:
For a wide class of dynamic models, Chamley (1986) has shown that the optimal capital income tax rate is zero in the long run. Lucas (1990) has argued that for the U.S. economy there is a significant welfare gain from switching to this policy. We show that for the Bewley (1986) class of models with heterogeneous agents and incomplete markets (due to uninsured idiosyncratic shocks), and borrowing constraints the optimal tax rate on capital income is positive even in the long run. Quantitative analysis of a parametric version of such a model suggests that one cannot dismiss the possibility that the observed tax rates on capital and labor income for the U.S. economy are fairly close to being (long run) optimal. We also provide an existence proof for the dynamic Ramsey optimal tax problem in this environment.
Creator: Hansen, Gary D. (Gary Duane) and Prescott, Edward C. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 507 Description:
Presented at the ASSA meetings in Anaheim, CA.
Keyword: 1991, Recession, Technology shock, Labor, 1990, Productivity, Knowledge, and Technological shocks Subject (JEL): G14 - Information and Market Efficiency; Event Studies; Insider Trading and O33 - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes