We formulate a representative consumer model of intertemporal resource reallocation in which fluctuations in equity prices contribute to the smoothing of consumption flows. Features of the model include (a) an incompletely observable stochastic process of productivity shocks leading to fluctuating confidence of beliefs and (b) technologies involving commitments of a resource good. These features are exploited to show that (1) equities are not a representative form of total wealth and (2) the valuation of currently active firms is not representative of the valuation of all firms. We examine the implications of (1) and (2) to argue that empirical findings for the volatility and 'value shortfall' of equity prices may be consistent with a frictionless representative consumer model having a low degree of risk-aversion. Simulation of a calibrated version of the model for a risk-neutral consumer shows that when the 'data' is analyzed according to current econometric procedures, it is found to exhibit volatility of the same order of magnitude as that found in the actual data, although the model contains no excess volatility.
Different monetary aggregates covary very differently with short term nominal interest rates. Broad monetary aggregates like Ml and the monetary base covary positively with current and future values of short term interest rates. In contrast, the nonborrowed reserves of banks covary negatively with current and future interest rates. Observations like this 'sign switch' lie at the core of recent debates about the effects of monetary policy actions on short term interest rates. This paper develops a general equilibrium monetary business cycle model which is consistent with these facts. Our basic explanation of the 'sign switch' is that movements in nonborrowed reserves are dominated by exogenous shocks to monetary policy, while movements in the base and Ml are dominated by endogenous responses to non-policy shocks.
We examine the conditions under which steady states with low real interest rates—real rates substantially below the output growth rate—exist in an overlapping generations model with production, capital accumulation, a labor-leisure trade-off, technological progress, and agents who live for many periods. The number of periods in an agent's life (n) is left open for much of the analysis and determines the temporal interpretation of a time period. The qualitative properties of the model are largely invariant to different values of n. We find that two low real interest rate steady states exist for empirically plausible values of the parameters of the model. Outside liabilities such as fiat currency or unbacked government debt are valued in one of these steady states.
We study a variant of the one-sector neoclassical growth model of Diamond in which capital investment must be credit financed, and an adverse selection problem appears in loan markets. The result is that the unfettered operation of credit markets leads to a one-dimensional indeterminacy of equilibrium. Many equilibria display economic fluctuations which do not vanish asymptotically; such equilibria are characterized by transitions between a Walrasian regime in which the adverse selection problem does not matter, and a regime of credit rationing in which it does. Moreover, for some configurations of parameters, all equilibria display such transitions for two reasons. One, the banking system imposes ceilings on credit when the economy expands and floors when it contracts because the quality of public information about the applicant pool of potential borrowers is negatively correlated with the demand for credit. Two, depositors believe that returns on bank deposits will be low (or high): these beliefs lead them to transfer savings out of (into) the banking system and into less (more) productive uses. The associated disintermediation (or its opposite) causes banks to contract (expand) credit. The result is a set of equilibrium interest rates on loans that validate depositors' original beliefs. We investigate the existence of perfect foresight equilibria displaying periodic (possibly asymmetric) cycles that consist of m periods of expansion followed by n periods of contraction, and propose an algorithm that detects all such cycles.
In this paper a dynamic model is constructed in which labor and capital taxes are determined endogenously through majority voting. The wealth distribution of the economy is shown to influence the voting behavior, and hence the equilibrium levels of the tax rates, which in turn affect the future distribution of wealth. It is shown that the economy exhibits a unique dynamic behavior. Because of the endogenously determined taxes, the asset prices, wealth distribution, and the tax rates can display persistent fluctuations, and even limit cycles, in reaction to exogenous disturbances, or even due to initial conditions. It is also shown that "tax smoothing" does not necessarily appear to naturally arise in such a model, as the economy can display extreme fluctuations in the endogenously determined tax rates.