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.
Stichwort: Greek depression, Taxes, Fiscal policy, Nominal rigidity, and Productivity Fach: 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.
Stichwort: Regulatory arbitrage, Macroprudential policy, Financial crises, and Limited regulation enforcement Fach: 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.
Stichwort: Slow recoveries, Firm size distribution, Zipf's law, and Business cycles Fach: 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.
Stichwort: Secular stagnation, Zero lower bound, and Monetary policy Fach: 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.
Stichwort: Financial accelerator, Firm size, and Business cycles Fach: E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles, G30 - Corporate Finance and Governance: General, and E23 - Macroeconomics: Production
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: 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.
Stichwort: Credit crunch, Macroprudential policy, Moral hazard, and Financial shocks Fach: 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: 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: 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.
Stichwort: Credit policies, Financial constraints, and Sovereign debt crises Fach: E44 - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy, G21 - Banks; Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages, E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles, and G01 - Financial Crises
Creator: Luttmer, Erzo G. J. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 703 Abstract:
Consider an economy in which various types of labor are used to produce consumption, but not all types of labor are useful for upgrading the stock of organization capital–that is, for replacing old projects with more productive new projects. When news induces consumers to want to save more, low-quality projects are destroyed across all sectors of the economy, even though the economy is set to increase its stock of new projects. Labor that can be used to create new projects becomes more expensive and labor that cannot becomes cheap. Average wages may not change at all, and the employment of workers who cannot invest in new projects will decline. If physical capital complements the inputs of these workers, investment in physical capital tends to move together with their employment. These results are derived analytically for a prototype economy that has the essential ingredients of empirically relevant equilibrium models of firm heterogeneity.
Stichwort: Aggregate consumption, Factor prices, and Bayesian updating Fach: E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles, L16 - Industrial Organization and Macroeconomics: Industrial Structure and Structural Change; Industrial Price Indices, and E25 - Aggregate Factor Income Distribution
Creator: Guvenen, Fatih, Ozkan, Serdar, and Song, Jae Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 476 Abstract:
This paper studies the nature of business cycle variation in individual earnings risk using a confidential dataset from the U.S. Social Security Administration, which contains (uncapped) earnings histories for millions of individuals. The base sample is a nationally representative panel containing 10 percent of all U.S. males from 1978 to 2010. We use these data to decompose individual earnings growth during recessions into “between-group” and “within-group” components. We begin with the behavior of within-group shocks. Contrary to past research, we do not find the variance of idiosyncratic earnings shocks to be countercyclical. Instead, it is the left-skewness of shocks that is strongly countercyclical. That is, during recessions, the upper end of the shock distribution collapses—large upward earnings movements become less likely—whereas the bottom end expands—large drops in earnings become more likely. Thus, while the dispersion of shocks does not increase, shocks become more left-skewed and, hence, risky during recessions. Second, to study between-group differences, we group individuals based on several observable characteristics at the time a recession hits. One of these characteristics—the average earnings of an individual at the beginning of a business cycle episode—proves to be an especially good predictor of fortunes during a recession: prime-age workers that enter a recession with high average earnings suffer substantially less compared with those who enter with low average earnings (which is not the case during expansions). Finally, we find that the cyclical nature of earnings risk is dramatically different for the top 1 percent compared with all other individuals—even relative to those in the top 2 to 5 percent.
Stichwort: Idiosyncratic shocks, Factor structure, Countercyclical income risk, Skewness, and Administrative data Fach: E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles, E24 - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity, J31 - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials, and J21 - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
Creator: McGrattan, Ellen R. and Prescott, Edward C. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 694 Abstract:
Prior to the mid-1980s, labor productivity growth was a useful barometer of the U.S. economy’s performance: it was low when the economy was depressed and high when it was booming. Since then, labor productivity has become significantly less procyclical. In the recent downturn of 2008–2009, labor productivity actually rose as GDP plummeted. These facts have motivated the development of new business cycle theories because the conventional view is that they are inconsistent with existing business cycle theory. In this paper, we analyze recent events with existing theory and find that the labor productivity puzzle is much less of a puzzle than previously thought. In light of these findings, we argue that policy agendas arising from new untested theories should be disregarded.
Stichwort: Intangible capital, Nonneutral technology change, Labor productivity, Labor wedge, and RBC models Fach: E01 - Measurement and Data on National Income and Product Accounts and Wealth; Environmental Accounts, E13 - General Aggregative Models: Neoclassical, and E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
Creator: Gu, Chao and Wright, Randall D. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 689 Abstract:
We study models of credit with limited commitment, which implies endogenous borrowing constraints. We show that there are multiple stationary equilibria, as well as nonstationary equilibria, including some that display deterministic cyclic and chaotic dynamics. There are also stochastic (sunspot) equilibria, in which credit conditions change randomly over time, even though fundamentals are deterministic and stationary. We show this can occur when the terms of trade are determined by Walrasian pricing or by Nash bargaining. The results illustrate how it is possible to generate equilibria with credit cycles (crunches, freezes, crises) in theory, and as recently observed in actual economies.
Stichwort: Credit and Cycles Fach: E51 - Money Supply; Credit; Money Multipliers and E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
Creator: McGrattan, Ellen R. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 670 Abstract:
Previous studies quantifying the effects of increased taxation during the U.S. Great Depression find that its contribution is small, in accounting for both the downturn in the early 1930s and the slow recovery after 1934. This paper shows that this conclusion rests critically on the assumption that the only taxable capital income is business profits. Effects of capital taxation are much larger when taxes on property, capital stock, excess profits, undistributed profits, and dividends are included in the analysis. When fed into a general equilibrium model, the increased taxes imply significant declines in investment and equity values and nontrivial declines in gross domestic product (GDP) and hours of work. Of particular importance during the Great Depression was the dramatic rise in the effective tax rate on corporate dividends.
Fach: E13 - General Aggregative Models: Neoclassical, E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles, and H25 - Business Taxes and Subsidies including sales and value-added (VAT)
Creator: Chari, V. V., Kehoe, Patrick J., and McGrattan, Ellen R. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 664 Abstract:
In the 1970s macroeconomists often disagreed bitterly. Macroeconomists have now largely converged on method, model design, and macroeconomic policy advice. The disagreements that remain all stem from the practical implementation of the methodology. Some macroeconomists think that New Keynesian models are on the verge of being useful for quarter-to-quarter quantitative policy advice. We do not. We argue that the shocks in these models are dubiously structural and show that many of the features of the model as well as the implications due to these features are inconsistent with microeconomic evidence. These arguments lead us to conclude that New Keynesian models are not yet useful for policy analysis.
Fach: E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles and E58 - Central Banks and Their Policies
Creator: Conesa, Juan Carlos, Kehoe, Timothy Jerome, 1953-, and Ruhl, Kim J. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 401 Abstract:
This paper is a primer on the great depressions methodology developed by Cole and Ohanian (1999, 2007) and Kehoe and Prescott (2002, 2007). We use growth accounting and simple dynamic general equilibrium models to study the depression that occurred in Finland in the early 1990s. We find that the sharp drop in real GDP over the period 1990–93 was driven by a combination of a drop in total factor productivity (TFP) during 1990–92 and of increases in taxes on labor and consumption and increases in government consumption during 1989–94, which drove down hours worked in Finland. We attempt to endogenize the drop in TFP in variants of the model with an investment sector and with terms-of-trade shocks but are unsuccessful.
Fach: F59 - International Relations and International Political Economy: Other, F41 - Open Economy Macroeconomics, E50 - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit: General, E13 - General Aggregative Models: Neoclassical, and E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
Creator: Liu, Zheng, Waggoner, Daniel F., and Zha, Tao Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 653 Abstract:
The possibility of regime shifts in monetary policy can have important effects on rational agents’ expectation formation and equilibrium dynamics. In a DSGE model where the monetary policy rule switches between a dovish regime that accommodates inflation and a hawkish regime that stabilizes inflation, the expectation effect is asymmetric across regimes. Such an asymmetric effect makes it difficult, but still possible, to generate substantial reductions in the volatilities of inflation and output as the monetary policy switches from the dovish regime to the hawkish regime.
Stichwort: Structural breaks, Monetary policy regime, Expectations formation, Lucas critique, and Macroeconomic volatility Fach: E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles, E42 - Monetary Systems; Standards; Regimes; Government and the Monetary System; Payment Systems, and E52 - Monetary Policy
Creator: Neumeyer, Pablo Andrés and Perri, Fabrizio Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 335 Abstract:
We find that in a sample of emerging economies business cycles are more volatile than in developed ones, real interest rates are countercyclical and lead the cycle, consumption is more volatile than output and net exports are strongly countercyclical. We present a model of a small open economy, where the real interest rate is decomposed in an international rate and a country risk component. Country risk is affected by fundamental shocks but, through the presence of working capital, also amplifies the effects of those shocks. The model generates business cycles consistent with Argentine data. Eliminating country risk lowers Argentine output volatility by 27% while stabilizing international rates lowers it by less than 3%.
Stichwort: Working capital, International business cycles, Financial crises, Country risk, and Sudden stops Fach: F32 - Current Account Adjustment; Short-term Capital Movements, F41 - Open Economy Macroeconomics, and E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
Creator: Kehoe, Patrick J. and Perri, Fabrizio Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 621 Abstract:
Previous literature has shown that the study and characterization of constrained efficient allocations in economies with limited enforcement is useful to understand the limited risk sharing observed in many contexts, in particular between sovereign countries. In this paper we show that these constrained efficient allocations arise as equilibria in an economy in which private agents behave competitively, taking as given a set of taxes. We then show that these taxes, which end up limiting risk sharing, arise as an equilibrium of a dynamic game between governments. Our decentralization is different from the existing ones proposed in the literature. We find it intuitively appealing and we think it goes farther than the existing literature in endogenizing the primitive forces that lead to a lack of risk sharing in equilibrium.
Stichwort: Sustainable equilibrium, Decentralization, Incomplete markets, Default, Enforcement constraints, Sovereign debt, and Risk-sharing Fach: E44 - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy, D50 - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium: General, E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles, F34 - International Lending and Debt Problems, E21 - Macroeconomics: Consumption; Saving; Wealth, and F30 - International Finance: General
Creator: Bergoeing, Raphael, Kehoe, Patrick J., Kehoe, Timothy Jerome, 1953-, and Soto, Raimundo Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 292 Abstract:
Chile and Mexico experienced severe economic crises in the early 1980s. This paper analyzes four possible explanations for why Chile recovered much faster than did Mexico. Comparing data from the two countries allows us to rule out a monetarist explanation, an explanation based on falls in real wages and real exchange rates, and a debt overhang explanation. Using growth accounting, a calibrated growth model, and economic theory, we conclude that the crucial difference between the two countries was the earlier policy reforms in Chile that generated faster productivity growth. The most crucial of these reforms were in banking and bankruptcy procedures.
Stichwort: Depression, Growth accounting, Chile, Total factor productivity, and Mexico Fach: N16 - Economic History: Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations: Latin America; Caribbean, E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles, and O40 - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity: General