Creator: Athey, Susan, Atkeson, Andrew, and Kehoe, Patrick J. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 626 Abstract:
How much discretion is it optimal to give the monetary authority in setting its policy? We analyze this mechanism design question in an economy with an agreed-upon social welfare function that depends on the randomly fluctuating state of the economy. The monetary authority has private information about that state. In the model, well-designed rules trade off society’s desire to give the monetary authority flexibility to react to its private information against society’s need to guard against the standard time inconsistency problem arising from the temptation to stimulate the economy with unexpected inflation. We find that the optimal degree of monetary policy discretion is decreasing in the severity of the time inconsistency problem. As this problem becomes sufficiently severe, the optimal degree of discretion is none at all. We also find that, despite the apparent complexity of this dynamic mechanism design problem, society can implement the optimal policy simply by legislating an inflation cap that specifies the highest allowable inflation rate.
Stichwort: Rules vs. discretion, Activist monetary policy, Time inconsistency, Optimal monteary policy, Inflation targets, and Inflation caps Fach: E60 - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook: General, E61 - Policy Objectives; Policy Designs and Consistency; Policy Coordination, E50 - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit: General, E58 - Central Banks and Their Policies, and E52 - Monetary Policy
Creator: Chari, V. V., Kehoe, Patrick J., and McGrattan, Ellen R. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 625 Abstract:
This paper proposes a simple method for guiding researchers in developing quantitative models of economic fluctuations. We show that a large class of models, including models with various frictions, are equivalent to a prototype growth model with time-varying wedges that, at least at face value, look like time-varying productivity, labor taxes, and capital income taxes. We label the time-varying wedges as efficiency wedges, labor wedges, and investment wedges. We use data to measure these wedges and then feed them back into the prototype growth model. We then assess the fraction of fluctuations accounted for by these wedges during the great depressions of the 1930s in the United States, Germany, and Canada. We find that the efficiency and labor wedges in combination account for essentially all of the declines and subsequent recoveries. Investment wedges play, at best, a minor role.
Stichwort: Financial frictions, Great Depression, Sticky wages, Productivity decline, Equivalence theorems, and Capacity utilization Fach: E12 - General Aggregative Models: Keynes; Keynesian; Post-Keynesian and E10 - General Aggregative Models: General
Creator: Bassetto, Marco Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 624 Abstract:
How should a government use the power to commit to ensure a desirable equilibrium outcome? In this paper, I show a misleading aspect of what has become a standard approach to this question, and I propose an alternative. I show that the complete description of an optimal (indeed, of any) policy scheme requires outlining the consequences of paths that are often neglected. The specification of policy along those paths is crucial in determining which schemes implement a unique equilibrium and which ones leave room for multiple equilibria that depend on the expectations of the private sector.
Stichwort: Government strategy, Implementation, Commitment, and Competitive equilibrium Fach: E61 - Policy Objectives; Policy Designs and Consistency; Policy Coordination, F34 - International Lending and Debt Problems, and C73 - Stochastic and Dynamic Games; Evolutionary Games; Repeated Games
Creator: Chari, V. V. and Kehoe, Patrick J. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 622 Abstract:
Herd behavior is argued by many to be present in many markets. Existing models of such behavior have been subjected to two apparently devastating critiques. The continuous investment critique is that in the basic model herds disappear if simple zero-one investment decisions are replaced by the more appealing assumption that investment decisions are continuous. The price critique is that herds disappear if, as seems natural, other investors can observe asset market prices. We argue that neither critique is devastating. We show that once we replace the unappealing exogenous timing assumption of the early models that investors move in a pre-specified order by a more appealing endogenous timing assumption that investors can move whenever they choose then herds reappear.
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: Cagetti, Marco and De Nardi, Mariacristina Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 620 Abstract:
Although the role of financial constraints on entrepreneurial choices has received considerable attention, the effects of these constraints on aggregate capital accumulation and wealth inequality are less known. Entrepreneurship is an important determinant of capital accumulation and wealth concentration and, conversely, the distribution of wealth affects entrepreneurial choices in presence of borrowing constraints. We construct a model that matches wealth inequality very well, both for entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs, and find that more restrictive borrowing constraints generate less wealth concentration, but also reduce average firm size, aggregate capital and the fraction of entrepreneurs. We also find that voluntary bequests are an important channel that allows some high-ability workers to establish or enlarge an entrepreneurial activity: with accidental bequests only, there would be fewer large firms, fewer entrepreneurs, and less aggregate capital, but also less wealth concentration.
Stichwort: Wealth, Inequality, Borrowing constraints, and Entrepreneurship Fach: E60 - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook: General, H20 - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue: General, H32 - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents: Firm, and E21 - Macroeconomics: Consumption; Saving; Wealth
Creator: Livshits, Igor, MacGee, James C., and Tertilt, Michèle Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 617 Abstract:
American consumer bankruptcy provides for a Fresh Start through the discharge of a household’s debt. Until recently, many European countries specified a No Fresh Start policy of life-long liability for debt. The trade-off between these two policies is that while Fresh Start provides insurance across states, it drives up interest rates and thereby makes life-cycle smoothing more difficult. This paper quantitatively compares these bankruptcy rules using a life-cycle model with incomplete markets calibrated to the U.S. and Germany. A key innovation is that households face idiosyncratic uncertainty about their net asset holdings (expense shocks) and labor income. We find that expense uncertainty plays a key role in evaluating consumer bankruptcy laws.
Fach: D14 - Household Saving; Personal Finance, K35 - Personal Bankruptcy Law, and D91 - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics: Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
Creator: Golosov, Mikhail, Jones, Larry E., and Tertilt, Michèle Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 630 Abstract:
In this paper, we generalize the notion of Pareto-efficiency to make it applicable to environments with endogenous populations. Two efficiency concepts are proposed, P-efficiency and A-efficiency. The two concepts differ in how they treat people who are not born. We show how these concepts relate to the notion of Pareto-efficiency when fertility is exogenous. We then prove versions of the first welfare theorem assuming that decision making is efficient within the dynasty. Finally, we give two sets of sufficient conditions for noncooperative equilibria of family decision problems to be efficient. These include the Barro and Becker model as a special case.
Stichwort: First welfare theorem, Altruism, Dynasty, Pareto optimality, and Fertility