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.
Keyword: Opportunity cost of employment and Unemployment fluctuations Subject (JEL): J64 - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search, E24 - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity, and E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
Creator: Arellano, Cristina and Bai, Yan Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 525 Abstract:
This paper constructs a dynamic model in which fiscal restrictions interact with government borrowing and default. The government faces fiscal constraints; it cannot adjust tax rates or impose lump-sum taxes on the private sector, but it can adjust public consumption and foreign debt. When foreign debt is sufficiently high, however, the government can choose to default to increase domestic public and private consumption by freeing up the resources used to pay the debt. Two types of defaults arise in this environment: fiscal defaults and aggregate defaults. Fiscal defaults occur because of the government's inability to raise tax revenues. Aggregate defaults occur even if the government could raise tax revenues; debt is simply too high to be sustainable. In a quantitative exercise calibrated to Greece, we find that our model can predict the recent default, but that increasing taxes would not have prevented it. In fact, increasing taxes would have made the recession deeper because of the distortionary effects of taxation.
Keyword: Sovereign default, Tax reforms, and Debt crisis Subject (JEL): F30 - International Finance: General
Creator: McGrattan, Ellen R. and Prescott, Edward C. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 534 Abstract:
Many countries are facing challenging fiscal financing issues as their populations age and the number of workers per retiree falls. Policymakers need transparent and robust analyses of alternative policies to deal with demographic changes. In this paper, we propose a simple framework that can easily be matched to aggregate data from the national accounts. We demonstrate the usefulness of our framework by comparing quantitative results for our aggregate model with those of a related model that includes within-age-cohort heterogeneity through productivity differences. When we assess proposals to switch from the current tax and transfer system in the United States to a mandatory saving-for-retirement system with no payroll taxation, we find that the aggregate predictions for the two models are close.
Keyword: Retirement, Medicare, Social Security, and Taxation Subject (JEL): H55 - Social Security and Public Pensions, E13 - General Aggregative Models: Neoclassical, and I13 - Health Insurance, Public and Private
Creator: Hinich, Melvin J. and Weber, Warren E. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 065 Abstract:
This paper presents a frequency-domain technique for estimating distributed lag coefficients (the impulse-response function) when observations are randomly missed. The technique treats stationary processes with randomly missed observations as amplitude-modulated processes and estimates the transfer function accordingly. Estimates of the lag coefficients are obtained by taking the inverse transform of the estimated transfer function. Results with artificially created data show that the technique performs well even when the probability of an observation being missed is one-half and in some cases when the probability is as low as one-fifth. The approximate asymptotic variance of the estimator is also calculated in the paper.
Creator: Litterman, Robert B. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 084 Abstract:
This paper describes a technique for distributing quarterly time series across monthly values. The method generalizes an approach described by Fernandez (1981). The paper also presents results of a test of the accuracy of these two approaches and two standard procedures suggested by Chow and Lin (1971).
Keyword: Interpolation, Chow-Lin, and Serial correlation
Creator: Miller, Preston J. and Roberds, William Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 109 Abstract:
Doan, Litterman, and Sims (DLS) have suggested using conditional forecasts to do policy analysis with Bayesian vector autoregression (BVAR) models. Their method seems to violate the Lucas critique, which implies that coefficients of a BVAR model will change when there is a change in policy rules. In this paper we construct a BVAR macro model and attempt to determine whether the Lucas critique is important quantitatively. We find evidence following two candidate policy rule changes of significant coefficient instability and of a deterioration in the performance of the DLS method.
Keyword: Coefficient instability, Bayesian vector autoregression, and Conditional forecasts
Creator: Hansen, Lars Peter and Jagannathan, Ravi Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 167 Abstract:
In this paper we develop alternative ways to compare asset pricing models when it is understood that their implied stochastic discount factors do not price all portfolios correctly. Unlike comparisons based on chi-squared statistics associated with null hypotheses that models are correct, our measures of model performance do not reward variability of discount factor proxies. One of our measures is designed to exploit fully the implications of arbitrage-free pricing of derivative claims. We demonstrate empirically the usefulness of methods in assessing some alternative stochastic factor models that have been proposed in asset pricing literature.
Subject (JEL): C13 - Estimation: General, G10 - General Financial Markets: General (includes Measurement and Data), G12 - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates, E30 - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles: General (includes Measurement and Data), C10 - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General, and C12 - Hypothesis Testing: General
Creator: Allen, Beth, Deneckere, Raymond, Faith, Tom, and Kovenock, Daniel J. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 187 Abstract:
This paper considers the role of capacity as a strategic entry deterrent for a game in which the incumbent and entrant sequentially precommit to capacity levels before competing in price, possibly using mixed strategies. Depending on the magnitudes of the fixed set-up cost, the cost of capacity, and the relative costs of production, the model produces a wide spectrum of equilibrium behaviors, including some not previously suggested in the literature. Interesting deterrence effects occur because firms need time to build. In contrast to much previous work, the incumbent may hold idle capacity when entry is deterred.
Creator: Hopenhayn, Hugo Andres, Llobet, Gerard, and Mitchell, Matt Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 273 Abstract:
This paper presents a model of cumulative innovation where firms are heterogeneous in their research ability. We study the optimal reward policy when the quality of the ideas and their subsequent development effort are private information. The optimal assignment of property rights must counterbalance the incentives of current and future innovators. The resulting mechanism resembles a menu of patents that have infinite duration and fixed scope, where the latter increases in the value of the idea. Finally, we provide a way to implement this patent menu by using a simple buyout scheme: The innovator commits at the outset to a price ceiling at which he will sell his rights to a future inventor. By paying a larger fee initially, a higher price ceiling is obtained. Any subsequent innovator must pay this price and purchase its own buyout fee contract.
Keyword: Patents, Innovation, Sequential Innovation, Asymmetric Information, Policy, Compulsory Licensing, and Mechanism Design Subject (JEL): D82 - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design, H41 - Public Goods, O31 - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives, L50 - Regulation and Industrial Policy: General, D43 - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design: Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection, K23 - Regulated Industries and Administrative Law, and L51 - Economics of Regulation
Creator: McGrattan, Ellen R. and Prescott, Edward C. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 350 Abstract:
In this paper, we show that ignoring corporate intangible investments gives a distorted picture of the post-1990 U.S. economy. In particular, ignoring intangible investments in the late 1990s leads one to conclude that productivity growth was modest, corporate profits were low, and corporate investment was at moderate levels. In fact, the late 1990s was a boom period for productivity growth, corporate profits, and corporate investment.