Creator: McGrattan, Ellen R. and Prescott, Edward C. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 610 Abstract:
U.S. stock prices have increased much faster than gross domestic product GDP) in the postwar period. Between 1962 and 2000, corporate equity value relative to GDP nearly doubled. In this paper, we determine what standard growth theory says the equity value should be in 1962 and 2000, the two years for which our steady-state assumption is a reasonable one. We find that the actual valuations were close to the theoretical predictions in both years. The reason for the large run-up in equity value relative to GDP is that the average tax rate on dividends fell dramatically between 1962 and 2000. We also find that, given legal constraints that effectively prohibited the holding of stocks as reserves for pension plans, there is no equity premium puzzle in the postwar period. The average returns on debt and equity are as theory predicts.
Subject (JEL): E13 - General Aggregative Models: Neoclassical, G12 - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates, and H30 - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents: General
Creator: Atkeson, Andrew and Kehoe, Patrick J. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 606 Abstract:
During the Second Industrial Revolution, 1860–1900, many new technologies, including electricity, were invented. These inventions launched a transition to a new economy, a period of about 70 years of ongoing, rapid technical change. After this revolution began, however, several decades passed before measured productivity growth increased. This delay is paradoxical from the point of view of the standard growth model. Historians hypothesize that this delay was due to the slow diffusion of new technologies among manufacturing plants together with the ongoing learning in plants after the new technologies had been adopted. The slow diffusion is thought to be due to manufacturers’ reluctance to abandon their accumulated expertise with old technologies, which were embodied in the design of existing plants. Motivated by these hypotheses, we build a quantitative model of technology diffusion which we use to study this transition to a new economy. We show that it implies both slow diffusion and a delay in growth similar to that in the data.
Subject (JEL): O47 - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence, E13 - General Aggregative Models: Neoclassical, L60 - Industry Studies: Manufacturing: General, O51 - Economywide Country Studies: U.S.; Canada, and O40 - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity: General
Creator: Alvarez, Fernando, 1964-, Atkeson, Andrew, and Kehoe, Patrick J. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 605 Abstract:
This paper analyzes the effects of money injections on interest rates and exchange rates in a model in which agents must pay a Baumol-Tobin style fixed cost to exchange bonds and money. Asset markets are endogenously segmented because this fixed cost leads agents to trade bonds and money only infrequently. When the government injects money through an open market operation, only those agents that are currently trading absorb these injections. Through their impact on these agents’ consumption, these money injections affect real interest rates and real exchange rates. We show that the model generates the observed negative relation between expected inflation and real interest rates. With moderate amounts of segmentation, the model also generates other observed features of the data: persistent liquidity effects in interest rates and volatile and persistent exchange rates. A standard model with no fixed costs can produce none of these features.
Creator: Cole, Harold Linh, 1957- and Ohanian, Lee E. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 597 Abstract:
There are two striking aspects of the recovery from the Great Depression in the United States: the recovery was very weak and real wages in several sectors rose significantly above trend. These data contrast sharply with neoclassical theory, which predicts a strong recovery with low real wages. We evaluate the contribution of New Deal cartelization policies designed to limit competition and increase labor bargaining power to the persistence of the Depression. We develop a model of the bargaining process between labor and firms that occurred with these policies, and embed that model within a multi-sector dynamic general equilibrium model. We find that New Deal cartelization policies are an important factor in accounting for the post-1933 Depression. We also find that the key depressing element of New Deal policies was not collusion per se, but rather the link between paying high wages and collusion.
Subject (JEL): E65 - Studies of Particular Policy Episodes
Creator: Katzman, Brett, 1966-, Kennan, John, and Wallace, Neil Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 595 Abstract:
The effects on ex ante optima of a lag in seeing monetary realizations are studied using a matching model of money. The main new ingredient in the model is meetings in which producers have more information than consumers. A consequence is that increases in the amount of money that occur with small enough probability can have negative impact effects on output, because it is optimal to shut down trade in such low probability meetings rather than have lower output when high probability realizations occur. The information lag also produces prices that do not respond much to current monetary realizations.
Subject (JEL): E30 - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles: General (includes Measurement and Data), E40 - Money and Interest Rates: General, and D82 - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
Creator: Boyd, John H., Chang, Chun, and Smith, Bruce D. (Bruce David), 1954-2002 Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 593 Abstract:
This paper undertakes a simple general equilibrium analysis of the consequences of deposit insurance programs, the way in which they are priced and the way in which they fund revenue shortfalls. We show that the central issue is how the government will make up any FDIC losses. Under one scheme for making up the losses, we show that FDIC policy is irrelevant: it does not matter what premium is charged, nor does it matter how big FDIC losses are. Under another scheme, all that matters is the magnitude of the losses. And there is no presumption that small losses are “good.” We also show that multiple equilibria can be observed and Pareto ranked. Some economies may be “trapped” in equilibria with inefficient financial systems. Our analysis provides counterexamples to the following propositions. (1) Actuarially fair pricing of deposit insurance is always desirable. (2) Implicit FDIC subsidization of banks through deposit insurance is always undesirable. (3) “Large” FDIC losses are necessarily symptomatic of a poorly designed deposit insurance system.
Keyword: Deposit insurance Subject (JEL): G18 - General Financial Markets: Government Policy and Regulation, G00 - Financial Economics: General, and G21 - Banks; Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
Creator: Kleiner, Morris and Soltas, Evan J. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 590 Abstract:
We assess the welfare consequences of occupational licensing for workers and consumers. We estimate a model of labor market equilibrium in which licensing restricts labor supply but also affects labor demand via worker quality and selection. On the margin of occupations licensed differently between U.S. states, we find that licensing raises wages and hours but reduces employment. We estimate an average welfare loss of 12 percent of occupational surplus. Workers and consumers respectively bear 70 and 30 percent of the incidence. Higher willingness to pay offsets 80 percent of higher prices for consumers, and higher wages compensate workers for 60 percent of the cost of mandated investment in occupation-specific human capital.
Keyword: Labor supply, Welfare analysis, Human capital, and Occupational licensing Subject (JEL): J24 - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity, D61 - Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis, K31 - Labor Law, J44 - Professional Labor Markets; Occupational Licensing, and J38 - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs: Public Policy
Creator: Arellano, Cristina, Mateos-Planas, Xavier, and Ríos-Rull, José-Víctor Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 589 Abstract:
In the data sovereign default is always partial and varies in its duration. Debt levels during default episodes initially increase and do not experience reductions upon resolution. This paper presents a theory of sovereign default that replicates these properties, which are absent in standard sovereign default theory. Partial default is a flexible way to raise funds as the sovereign chooses its intensity and duration. Partial default is also costly because it amplifies debt crises as the defaulted debt accumulates and interest rate spreads increase. This theory is capable of rationalizing the large heterogeneity in partial default, its comovements with spreads, debt levels, and output, and the dynamics of debt during default episodes. In our theory, as in the data, debt grows during default episodes, and large defaults are longer, and associated with higher interest rate spreads, higher debt levels, and deeper recessions.
Keyword: Sovereign risk, Emerging markets, Debt crises, and Debt restructuring Subject (JEL): F34 - International Lending and Debt Problems, H63 - National Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt, and G01 - Financial Crises
Creator: Velde, François R. and Weber, Warren E. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 588 Abstract:
Bimetallism has been the subject of considerable debate: Was it a viable monetary system? Was it a desirable system? In our model, the (exogenous and stochastic) amount of each metal can be split between monetary uses to satisfy a cash-in-advance constraint, and nonmonetary uses in which the stock of uncoined metal yields utility. The ratio of the monies in the cash-in-advance constraint is endogenous. Bimetallism is feasible: we find a continuum of steady states (in the certainty case) indexed by the constant exchange rate of the monies; we also prove existence for a range of fixed exchange rates in the stochastic version. Bimetallism does not appear desirable on a welfare basis: among steady states, we prove that welfare under monometallism is higher than under any bimetallic equilibrium. We compute welfare and the variance of the price level under a variety of regimes (bimetallism, monometallism with and without trade money) and find that bimetallism can significantly stabilize the price level, depending on the covariance between the shocks to the supplies of metals.
Creator: Boyd, John H., Chang, Chun, and Smith, Bruce D. (Bruce David), 1954-2002 Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 585 Abstract:
Many claims have been made about the potential benefits and the potential costs of adopting a system of universal banking in the United States. We evaluate these claims using a model where there is a moral hazard problem between banks and "borrowers," a moral hazard problem between banks and a deposit insurer, and a costly state verification problem. Under conditions we describe, allowing banks to take equity positions in firms strengthens their ability to extract surplus, and exacerbates problems of moral hazard. The incentives of universal banks to take equity positions will often be strongest when these problems are most severe.
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: Chari, V. V., Jones, Larry E., and Marimon, Ramon, 1953- Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 582 Abstract:
In U.S. elections, voters often vote for candidates from different parties for president and Congress. Voters also express dissatisfaction with the performance of Congress as a whole and satisfaction with their own representative. We develop a model of split-ticket voting in which government spending is financed by uniform taxes but the benefits from this spending are concentrated. While the model generates split-ticket voting, overall spending is too high only if the president’s powers are limited. Overall spending is too high in a parliamentary system, and our model can be used as the basis of an argument for term limits.
Subject (JEL): H40 - Publicly Provided Goods: General, H00 - Public Economics: General, and H30 - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents: General
Creator: Chari, V. V., Nicolini, Juan Pablo, and Teles, Pedro Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 581 Abstract:
We use the Ramsey and Mirrlees approaches to study how fiscal and trade policy should be set cooperatively when governments must raise revenues with distorting taxes. Free trade and unrestricted capital mobility are optimal. Efficient outcomes can be implemented with taxes only on final consumption goods and labor income. We study alternative tax systems, showing that uniform taxation of household asset returns, and not taxing corporate income yields efficient outcomes. Border adjustments exempting exports from and including imports in the tax base are desirable. Destination- and residence-based tax systems are desirable compared to origin- and source-based systems.
Keyword: Origin- and destination-based taxation, Value-added taxes, Free trade, Production efficiency, Border adjustment, and Capital income tax Subject (JEL): E62 - Fiscal Policy, E60 - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook: General, and E61 - Policy Objectives; Policy Designs and Consistency; Policy Coordination
Creator: Bhandari, Anmol, Birinci, Serdar, McGrattan, Ellen R., and See, Kurt Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 578 Abstract:
In this appendix, we provide details on the data sources and construction of variables for our analysis in "What Do Survey Data Tell Us about U.S. Businesses?" We also include the auxiliary tables and figures omitted from the main text.
Keyword: Survey data Subject (JEL): C83 - Survey Methods; Sampling Methods
Creator: Alvarez, Fernando, 1964- and Atkeson, Andrew Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 577 Abstract:
We develop a new general equilibrium model of asset pricing and asset trading volume in which agents’ motivations to trade arise due to uninsurable idiosyncratic shocks to agents’ risk tolerance. In response to these shocks, agents trade to rebalance their portfolios between risky and riskless assets. We study a positive question — When does trade volume become a pricing factor? — and a normative question — What is the impact of Tobin taxes on asset trading on welfare? In our model, economies in which marketwide risk tolerance is negatively correlated with trade volume have a higher risk premium for aggregate risk. Likewise, for a given economy, we ﬁnd that assets whose cash ﬂows are concentrated on states with high trading volume have higher prices and lower risk premia. We then show that Tobin taxes on asset trade have a ﬁrst-order negative impact on ex-ante welfare, i.e., a small subsidy to trade leads to an improvement in ex-ante welfare. Finally, we develop an alternative version of our model in which asset trade arises from uninsurable idiosyncratic shocks to agents’ hedging needs rather than shocks to their risk tolerance. We show that our positive results regarding the relationship between trade volume and asset prices carry through. In contrast, the normative implications of this speciﬁcation of our model for Tobin taxes or subsidies depend on the speciﬁcation of agents’ preferences and non-traded endowments.
Keyword: Liquidity, Tobin taxes, Asset pricing, and Trade volume Subject (JEL): G12 - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
Creator: Chari, V. V. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 576 Abstract:
This chapter is an introductory essay to the volume Climate Change Economics: The Role of Uncertainty and Risk, edited by V. V. Chari and Robert Litterman. This volume consists of a collection of papers that were presented at "The Next Generation of Economic Models of Climate Change," a conference hosted by the Heller-Hurwicz Economics Institute at the University of Minnesota.
Keyword: Greenhouse gases, Externalities, and Global warming Subject (JEL): H41 - Public Goods and G12 - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
Creator: Ayres, João, Garcia, Márcio Gomes Pinto, Guillen, Diogo, and Kehoe, Patrick J. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 575 Abstract:
Brazil has had a long period of high inflation. It peaked around 100 percent per year in 1964, decreased until the first oil shock (1973), but accelerated again afterward, reaching levels above 100 percent on average between 1980 and 1994. This last period coincided with severe balance of payments problems and economic stagnation that followed the external debt crisis in the early 1980s. We show that the high-inflation period (1960-1994) was characterized by a combination of fiscal deficits, passive monetary policy, and constraints on debt financing. The transition to the low-inflation period (1995-2016) was characterized by improvements in all of these features, but it did not lead to significant improvements in economic growth. In addition, we document a strong positive correlation between inflation rates and seigniorage revenues, although inflation rates are relatively high for modest levels of seigniorage revenues. Finally, we discuss the role of the weak institutional framework surrounding the fiscal and monetary authorities and the role of monetary passiveness and inflation indexation in accounting for the unique features of inflation dynamics in Brazil.
Keyword: Brazil's stagnation, Brazil's hyperinflation, Fiscal deficit, Stabilization plans, and Debt accounting Subject (JEL): E42 - Monetary Systems; Standards; Regimes; Government and the Monetary System; Payment Systems, H62 - National Deficit; Surplus, E63 - Comparative or Joint Analysis of Fiscal and Monetary Policy; Stabilization; Treasury Policy, and H63 - National Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt
Creator: Hur, Sewon, Kondo, Illenin O., and Perri, Fabrizio Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 574 Abstract:
This paper argues that the comovement between inflation and economic activity is an important determinant of real interest rates over time and across countries. First, we show that for advanced economies, periods with more procyclical inflation are associated with lower real rates, but only when there is no risk of default on government debt. Second, we present a model of nominal sovereign debt with domestic risk-averse lenders. With procyclical inflation, nominal bonds pay out more in bad times, making them a good hedge against aggregate risk. In the absence of default risk, procyclical inflation yields lower real rates. However, procyclicality implies that the government needs to make larger (real) payments when the economy deteriorates, which could increase default risk and trigger an increase in real rates. The patterns of real rates predicted by the model are quantitatively consistent with those documented in the data.
Keyword: Nominal bonds, Inflation risk, Government debt, and Sovereign default Subject (JEL): F34 - International Lending and Debt Problems, E31 - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation, G12 - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates, and H63 - National Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt