Creator: Bianchi, Javier, Ottonello, Pablo, and Presno, Ignacio Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 762 Abstract:
The excess procyclicality of fiscal policy is commonly viewed as a central malaise in emerging economies. We document that procyclicality is more pervasive in countries with higher sovereign risk and provide a model of optimal fiscal policy with nominal rigidities and endogenous sovereign default that can account for this empirical pattern. Financing a fiscal stimulus is costly for risky countries and can render countercyclical policies undesirable, even in the presence of large Keynesian stabilization gains. We also show that imposing austerity can backfire by exacerbating the exposure to default, but a well-designed "fiscal forward guidance" can help reduce the excess procyclicality.
Keyword: Procyclicality, Fiscal stabilization policy, and Sovereign default Subject (JEL): F44 - International Business Cycles, H50 - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies: General, E62 - Fiscal Policy, F41 - Open Economy Macroeconomics, and F34 - International Lending and Debt Problems
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: 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: Earnings dynamics, Nonparametric estimation, Life-cycle earnings risk, Kurtosis, Non-Guassian shocks, Normal mixture, and Skewness Subject (JEL): J24 - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity, J31 - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials, and E24 - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
Creator: Guvenen, Fatih, Kaplan, Greg, and Song, Jae Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 716 Abstract:
We analyze changes in the gender structure at the top of the earnings distribution in the United States over the last 30 years using a 10% sample of individual earnings histories from the Social Security Administration. Despite making large inroads, females still constitute a small proportion of the top percentiles: the glass ceiling, albeit a thinner one, remains. We measure the contribution of changes in labor force participation, changes in the persistence of top earnings, and changes in industry and age composition to the change in the gender composition of top earners. A large proportion of the increased share of females among top earners is accounted for by the mending of, what we refer to as, the paper floor – the phenomenon whereby female top earners were much more likely than male top earners to drop out of the top percentiles. We also provide new evidence at the top of the earnings distribution for both genders: the rising share of top earnings accruing to workers in the Finance and Insurance industry, the relative transitory status of top earners, the emergence of top earnings gender gaps over the life cycle, and gender differences among lifetime top earners.
Keyword: Top earners, Paper floor, Industry, Gender gap, and Glass ceiling Subject (JEL): G10 - General Financial Markets: General (includes Measurement and Data), J31 - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials, and E24 - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity