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    Working Papers are early drafts of academic research papers written by economists affiliated with the Minneapolis Fed. Working Papers are often preprints of articles that are published in scholarly journals. Many Working Papers later become Staff Reports. The Research Database is the official location for this series, but you can also find them on the Minneapolis Fed website, IDEAS/RePEc, and in EconLit.

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    Creator: Boyd, John H. and Smith, Bruce D. (Bruce David), 1954-2002
    Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department)
    Number: 537

    We consider an environment in which risk-neutral firms must obtain external finance. They have access to two kinds of linear, stochastic investment opportunities. For one, return realizations are costlessly observed by all agents. For the other, return realizations are costlessly observed only by the investing firm; however, they can be (privately) observed by outsiders who bear a fixed verification cost. Thus, the second investment opportunity is subject to a standard costly state verification (CSV) problem of the type considered by Townsend (1979), Gale and Hellwig (1985), or Williamson (1986, 1987).

    We examine the optimal allocations of investment between the two kinds of projects, as well as the optimal contract used to finance it. We show that the optimal contractual outcome can be supported by having firms issue appropriate (and determinate) quantities of debt and equity securities to outside investors.

    The optimal debt-equity ratio necessarily depends (in part) on the firm’s asset structure. Investments in projects subject to CSV problems are associated (in a sense to be made precise) with the use of debt—as might be expected from the existing CSV literature. Investments in projects with publicly observable returns are associated with the use of external equity.

    We examine in detail the relationship between the optimal asset and liability structure of the firm. We also describe conditions under which an increase in the cost of state verification shifts the composition of investment towards projects with observable returns, and reduces the optimal debt-equity ratio. Interestingly, the optimal debt-equity ratio is also shown to depend on factors that are irrelevant to asset allocations.

    Finally, a large part of the interest in CSV environments has been due to the fact that they may result in equilibrium credit rationing. Our analysis has strong implications for the possibility of equilibrium credit rationing in more general CSV models.

    Tema: E51 - Money Supply; Credit; Money Multipliers and G21 - Banks; Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
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    Creator: Chari, V. V. and Jagannathan, Ravi
    Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department)
    Number: 320

    This paper shows that bank runs can be modeled as an equilibrium phenomenon. We demonstrate that some aspects of the intuitive “story” that bank runs start with fears of insolvency of banks can be rigorously modeled. If individuals observe long “lines” at the bank, they correctly infer that there is a possibility that the bank is about to fail and precipitate a bank run. However, bank runs occur even when no one has any adverse information. Extra market constraints such as suspension of convertibility can prevent bank runs and result in superior allocations.

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    Creator: Aiyagari, S. Rao
    Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department)
    Number: 312

    This paper studies the relationship between the existence and optimality of a monetary steady-state and the nonoptimality of nonmonetary steady-states. We construct a sequence of stationary overlapping generations economies with longer and longer lived generations in which all agents maximize a discounted sum of utilities with a common discount rate. Under some assumptions the following result is established: If the discount rate is greater (less) than the population growth rate, then eventually every nonmonetary steady-state is optimal (non-optimal) and a monetary steady-state does not exist (exists and is optimal).

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    Creator: Christiano, Lawrence J. and Eichenbaum, Martin S.
    Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department)
    Number: 306

    This paper examines the quantitative importance of temporal aggregation bias in distorting parameter estimates and hypothesis tests. Our strategy is to consider two empirical examples in which temporal aggregation bias has the potential to account for results which are widely viewed as being anomalous from the perspective of particular economic models. Our first example investigates the possibility that temporal aggregation bias can lead to spurious Granger causality relationships. The quantitative importance of this possibility is examined in the context of Granger causal relations between the growth rates of money and various measures of aggregate output. Our second example investigates the possibility that temporal aggregation bias can account for the slow speeds of adjustment typically obtained with stock adjustment models. The quantitative importance of this possibility is examined in the context of a particular class of continuous and discrete time equilibrium models of inventories and sales. The different models are compared on the basis of the behavioral implications of the estimated values of the structural parameters which we obtain and their overall statistical performance. The empirical results from both examples provide support for the view that temporal aggregation bias can be quantitatively important in the sense of significantly distorting inference.

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    Creator: Christiano, Lawrence J.
    Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department)
    Number: 303

    This paper investigates—in the context of a simple example—the accuracy of an econometric technique recently proposed by Kydland and Prescott. We consider a hypothetical econometrician who has a large sample of data, which is known to be generated as a solution to an infinite horizon, stochastic optimization problem. The form of the optimization problem is known to the econometrician. However, the values of some of the parameters need to be estimated. The optimization problem—presented in a recent paper by Long and Plosser—is not linear quadratic. Nevertheless, its closed form solution is known, although not to the hypothetical econometrician of this paper. The econometrician uses Kydland and Prescott’s method to estimate the unknown structural parameters. Kydland and Prescott’s approach involves replacing the given stochastic optimization problem by another which approximates it. The approximate problem is a element of the class of linear quadratic problems, whose solution is well-known—even to the hypothetical econometrician of this paper. After examining the probability limits of the econometrician’s estimators under “reasonable” specifications of model parameters, we conclude that the Kydland and Prescott method works well in the example considered. It is left to future research to determine the extent to which the results obtained for the example in this paper applies to a broader class of models.

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    Creator: Christiano, Lawrence J.
    Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department)
    Number: 338

    This paper investigates two methods of approximating the optimal decision rules of a stochastic, representative agent model which exhibits growth in steady state and cannot be expressed in linear–quadratic form. Both methods are modifications on the linear quadratic approximation technique proposed by Kydland and Prescott. It is shown that one of the solution methods leads to bizarre dynamic behavior, even with shocks of empirically reasonable magnitude. The other solution technique does not exhibit such bizarre behavior.