Creator: Kehoe, Patrick J., Midrigan, Virgiliu, and Pastorino, Elena Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 536 Abstract:
During the Great Recession, regions of the United States that experienced the largest declines in household debt also experienced the largest drops in consumption, employment, and wages. Employment declines were larger in the nontradable sector and for firms that were facing the worst credit conditions. Motivated by these findings, we develop a search and matching model with credit frictions that affect both consumers and firms. In the model, tighter debt constraints raise the cost of investing in new job vacancies and thus reduce worker job finding rates and employment. Two key features of our model, on-the-job human capital accumulation and consumer-side credit frictions, are critical to generating sizable drops in employment. On-the-job human capital accumulation makes the flows of benefits from posting vacancies long-lived and so greatly amplifies the sensitivity of such investments to credit frictions. Consumer-side credit frictions further magnify these effects by leading wages to fall only modestly. We show that the model reproduces well the salient cross-regional features of the U.S. data during the Great Recession.
Stichwort: Search and matching, Human capital, Employment, and Debt constraints Fach: E21 - Macroeconomics: Consumption; Saving; Wealth, E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles, E24 - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity, J21 - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure, and J64 - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
Creator: Cooley, Thomas F., Hansen, Gary D. (Gary Duane), and Prescott, Edward C. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 535 Stichwort: Equilibrium and Business cycle Fach: E13 - General Aggregative Models: Neoclassical and E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
Creator: Krueger, Dirk, Mitman, Kurt, and Perri, Fabrizio Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 532 Abstract:
How big are the welfare losses from severe economic downturns, such as the U.S. Great Recession? How are those losses distributed across the population? In this paper we answer these questions using a canonical business cycle model featuring household income and wealth heterogeneity that matches micro data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID). We document how these losses are distributed across households and how they are affected by social insurance policies. We find that the welfare cost of losing one’s job in a severe recession ranges from 2% of lifetime consumption for the wealthiest households to 5% for low-wealth households. The cost increases to approximately 8% for low-wealth households if unemployment insurance benefits are cut from 50% to 10%. The fact that welfare losses fall with wealth, and that in our model (as in the data) a large fraction of households has very low wealth, implies that the impact of a severe recession, once aggregated across all households, is very significant (2.2% of lifetime consumption). We finally show that a more generous unemployment insurance system unequivocally helps low-wealth job losers, but hurts households that keep their job, even in a version of the model in which output is partly demand determined, and therefore unemployment insurance stabilizes aggregate demand and output.
Stichwort: Welfare loss from recessions, Social insurance, Wealth inequality, and Great Recession Fach: E21 - Macroeconomics: Consumption; Saving; Wealth, E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles, and J65 - Unemployment Insurance; Severance Pay; Plant Closings
Creator: Krueger, Dirk, Mitman, Kurt, and Perri, Fabrizio Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 529 Abstract:
The goal of this chapter is to study how, and by how much, household income, wealth, and preference heterogeneity amplify and propagate a macroeconomic shock. We focus on the U.S. Great Recession of 2007-2009 and proceed in two steps. First, using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, we document the patterns of household income, consumption and wealth inequality before and during the Great Recession. We then investigate how households in different segments of the wealth distribution were affected by income declines, and how they changed their expenditures differentially during the aggregate downturn. Motivated by this evidence, we study several variants of a standard heterogeneous household model with aggregate shocks and an endogenous cross-sectional wealth distribution. Our key finding is that wealth inequality can significantly amplify the impact of an aggregate shock, and it does so if the distribution features a sufficiently large fraction of households with very little net worth that sharply increase their saving (i.e. they are not hand-to mouth) as the recession hits. We document that both these features are observed in the PSID. We also investigate the role that social insurance policies, such as unemployment insurance, play in shaping the cross-sectional income and wealth distribution, and through it, the dynamics of business cycles.
Stichwort: Wealth Inequality, Recessions, and Social Insurance Fach: E21 - Macroeconomics: Consumption; Saving; Wealth, E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles, and J65 - Unemployment Insurance; Severance Pay; Plant Closings
Creator: Prescott, Edward C. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 527 Abstract:
This essay reviews the development of neoclassical growth theory, a unified theory of aggregate economic phenomena that was first used to study business cycles and aggregate labor supply. Subsequently, the theory has been used to understand asset pricing, growth miracles and disasters, monetary economics, capital accounts, aggregate public finance, economic development, and foreign direct investment.
The focus of this essay is on real business cycle (RBC) methodology. Those who employ the discipline behind the methodology to address various quantitative questions come up with essentially the same answer—evidence that the theory has a life of its own, directing researchers to essentially the same conclusions when they apply its discipline. Deviations from the theory sometimes arise and remain open for a considerable period before they are resolved by better measurement and extensions of the theory. Elements of the discipline include selecting a model economy or sometimes a set of model economies. The model used to address a specific question or issue must have a consistent set of national accounts with all the accounting identities holding. In addition, the model assumptions must be consistent across applications and be consistent with micro as well as aggregate observations. Reality is complex, and any model economy used is necessarily an abstraction and therefore false. This does not mean, however, that model economies are not useful in drawing scientific inference.
The vast number of contributions made by many researchers who have used this methodology precludes reviewing them all in this essay. Instead, the contributions reviewed here are ones that illustrate methodological points or extend the applicability of neoclassical growth theory. Of particular interest will be important developments subsequent to the Cooley (1995) volume, Frontiers of Business Cycle Research. The interaction between theory and measurement is emphasized because this is the way in which hard quantitative sciences progress.
Stichwort: Aggregate financial economics, Development, Business cycle fluctuations, Prosperities, RBC methodology, Neoclassical growth theory, Depressions, Aggregate economic theory, and Aggregation Fach: B40 - Economic Methodology: General, E60 - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook: General, E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles, E13 - General Aggregative Models: Neoclassical, C10 - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General, and E00 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics: General
Creator: Huo, Zhen and Ríos-Rull, José-Víctor Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 526 Abstract:
We study financial shocks to households’ ability to borrow in an economy that quantitatively replicates U.S. earnings, financial, and housing wealth distributions and the main macro aggregates. Such shocks generate large recessions via the negative wealth effect associated with the large drop in house prices triggered by the reduced access to credit of a large number of households. The model incorporates additional margins that are crucial for a large recession to occur: that it is difficult to reallocate production from consumption to investment or net exports, and that the reductions in consumption contribute to reductions in measured TFP.
Stichwort: Balance sheet recession, Labor market frictions, Asset price, and Goods market frictions Fach: E20 - Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy: General (includes Measurement and Data), E44 - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy, and E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
Creator: Chari, V. V., Christiano, Lawrence J., and Kehoe, Patrick J. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 520 Stichwort: Business cycles, Policy analysis, Exogenous growth model, Monetary policy, Optimal taxation, Friedman rule, and Fiscal policy Fach: E52 - Monetary Policy and E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
Creator: Bils, Mark, Klenow, Peter J., and Malin, Benjamin A. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 516 Abstract:
Employment and hours appear far more cyclical than dictated by the behavior of productivity and consumption. This puzzle has been called “the labor wedge” — a cyclical intratemporal wedge between the marginal product of labor and the marginal rate of substitution of consumption for leisure. The intratemporal wedge can be broken into a product market wedge (price markup) and a labor market wedge (wage markup). Based on the wages of employees, the literature has attributed the intratemporal wedge almost entirely to labor market distortions. Because employee wages may be smoothed versions of the true cyclical price of labor, we instead examine the self-employed and intermediate inputs, respectively. Looking at the past quarter century in the United States, we find that price markup movements are at least as important as wage markup movements — including during the Great Recession and its aftermath. Thus, sticky prices and other forms of countercyclical markups deserve a central place in business cycle research, alongside sticky wages and matching frictions.
Stichwort: Wage markups, Business cycles, Labor wedge, and Price markups Fach: E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles and E24 - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
Creator: Chodorow-Reich, Gabriel and Karabarbounis, Loukas Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 514 Abstract:
The flow opportunity cost of moving from unemployment to employment consists of foregone public benefits and the foregone value of non-working time in units of consumption. We construct a time series of the opportunity cost of employment using detailed microdata and administrative or national accounts data to estimate benefit levels, eligibility and take-up of benefits, consumption by labor force status, hours per worker, taxes, and preference parameters. Our estimated opportunity cost is procyclical and volatile over the business cycle. The estimated cyclicality implies far less unemployment volatility in many leading models of the labor market than that observed in the data, irrespective of the level of the opportunity cost.
Stichwort: Opportunity cost of employment and Unemployment fluctuations Fach: E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles, E24 - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity, and J64 - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
Creator: Braun, R. Anton Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 506 Abstract:
This paper investigates the macroeconomic effects of cyclical fluctuations in marginal tax rates. It finds that systematically including tax variables in a standard real business cycle model substantially improves the model's ability to reproduce basic facts about postwar U.S. business cycle fluctuations. In particular, modeling fluctuations in personal and corporate income tax rates increases the model's predicted relative variability of hours and decreases its predicted correlation between hours and average productivity. Fluctuations in tax rates produce large substitution effects that alter the leisure/labor supply decision.
Stichwort: Corporate tax , Taxes, Business cycle, Tax, Income tax, Tax rates, Real business cycle model, Productivity, and Taxation Fach: E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles, H25 - Business Taxes and Subsidies including sales and value-added (VAT), and H24 - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies; includes inheritance and gift taxes