Creator: Amador, Manuel, Bianchi, Javier, Bocola, Luigi, and Perri, Fabrizio Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 740 Abstract:
Recently, several economies with interest rates close to zero have received large capital inflows while their central banks accumulated large foreign reserves. Concurrently, significant deviations from covered interest parity have appeared. We show that, with limited international arbitrage, a central bank's pursuit of an exchange rate policy at the ZLB can explain these facts. We provide a measure of the costs associated with this policy and show they can be sizable. Changes in external conditions that increase capital inflows are detrimental, even when they are beneficial away from the ZLB. Negative nominal rates and capital controls can reduce the costs.
Keyword: Negative interest rates, Currency pegs, CIP deviations, International reserves, Capital flows, and Foreign exchange interventions Subject (JEL): F32 - Current Account Adjustment; Short-term Capital Movements, F31 - Foreign Exchange, and F41 - Open Economy Macroeconomics
Creator: Beauchemin, Kenneth Ronald Abstract:
This memo describes a revision to the mixed-frequency vector autoregression (MF-VAR) model originally constructed by Schorfheide and Song (2012) and subsequently revised by Beauchemin (2013). In this most recent version, the 14-variable model is expanded to include nonfarm payroll employment. The forecast performance of the augmented model is compared with that of its predecessor.
Monthly forecast charts from November 2013 to June 2016. Charts include Real GDP Growth, PCE Inflation, Core PCE Inflation, and Unemployment Rate.
Creator: Kehoe, Patrick J. and Midrigan, Virgiliu Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 413 Abstract:
Recent studies say prices change about every four months. Economists have interpreted this high frequency as evidence against the importance of sticky prices for the real effects of monetary policy. Theory implies that this interpretation is correct if most price changes are regular, but not if most are temporary, as in the data. Temporary changes have a striking feature: after such a change, the nominal price tends to return exactly to its preexisting level. We study versions of Calvo and menu cost models that replicate this feature. Both models predict that the degree of aggregate price stickiness is determined mostly by the frequency of regular price changes, not by the combined frequency of temporary and regular price changes. Since regular prices are sticky in the data, the models predict a substantial degree of aggregate price stickiness even though micro prices change frequently. In particular, the aggregate price level in our models is as sticky as in standard models in which micro prices change about once a year. In this sense, prices are sticky after all.
Keyword: Sticky prices, Menu costs, and Sales Subject (JEL): E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles, E30 - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles: General (includes Measurement and Data), and E24 - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
Creator: Guler, Bulent, Guvenen, Fatih, and Violante, Giovanni L. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 426 Abstract:
Search theory routinely assumes that decisions about the acceptance/rejection of job offers (and, hence, about labor market movements between jobs or across employment states) are made by individuals acting in isolation. In reality, the vast majority of workers are somewhat tied to their partners—in couples and families—and decisions are made jointly. This paper studies, from a theoretical viewpoint, the joint job-search and location problem of a household formed by a couple (e.g., husband and wife) who perfectly pools income. The objective of the exercise, very much in the spirit of standard search theory, is to characterize the reservation wage behavior of the couple and compare it to the single-agent search model in order to understand the ramifications of partnerships for individual labor market outcomes and wage dynamics. We focus on two main cases. First, when couples are risk averse and pool income, joint search yields new opportunities—similar to on-the-job search—relative to the single-agent search. Second, when the two spouses in a couple face job offers from multiple locations and a cost of living apart, joint search features new frictions and can lead to significantly worse outcomes than single-agent search.
Subject (JEL): J64 - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search, J61 - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers, and E24 - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
Creator: Guerrieri, Veronica and Kondor, Péter Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 446 Abstract:
We propose a model of delegated portfolio management with career concerns. Investors hire fund managers to invest their capital either in risky bonds or in riskless assets. Some managers have superior information on the default probability. Looking at the past performance, investors update beliefs on their managers and make firing decisions. This leads to career concerns which affect investment decisions, generating a positive or negative “reputational premium.” For example, when the default probability is high, the return on the risky bond has to be high to compensate the uninformed managers for the high risk of being fired. As the default probability changes over time, the reputational premium amplifies price volatility.
Creator: Kaplan, Greg Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 449 Abstract:
This paper uses an estimated structural model to argue that the option to move in and out of the parental home is an important insurance channel against labor market risk for youths who do not attend college. Using data from the NLSY97, I construct a new monthly panel of parent-youth coresidence outcomes and use it to document an empirical relationship between these movements and individual labor market events. The data is then used to estimate the parameters of a dynamic game between youths and their altruistic parents, featuring coresidence, labor supply and savings decisions. Parents can provide both monetary support through explicit financial transfers, and non-monetary support in the form of shared residence. To account for the data, two types of exogenous shocks are needed. Preference shocks are found to explain most of the cross-section of living arrangements, while labor market shocks account for individual movements in and out of the parental home. I use the model to show that coresidence is a valuable form of insurance, particularly for youths from poorer families. The option to live at home also helps to explain features of aggregate data for low-skilled young workers: their low savings rates and their relatively small consumption responses to labor market shocks. An important implication is that movements in and out of home can reduce the consumption smoothing benefits of social insurance programs.
Creator: Beauchemin, Kenneth Ronald Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 493 Abstract:
This paper describes recent modifications to the mixed-frequency model vector autoregression (MF-VAR) constructed by Schorfheide and Song (2012). The changes to the model are restricted solely to the set of variables included in the model; all other aspects of the model remain unchanged. Forecast evaluations are conducted to gauge the accuracy of the revised model to standard benchmarks and the original model.
Keyword: Forecasting and Bayesian Vector Autoregression Subject (JEL): C53 - Forecasting Models; Simulation Methods, C11 - Bayesian Analysis: General, and C32 - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models: Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes; State Space Models
Creator: Schorfheide, Frank and Song, Dongho Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 701 Abstract:
This paper develops a vector autoregression (VAR) for macroeconomic time series which are observed at mixed frequencies – quarterly and monthly. The mixed-frequency VAR is cast in state-space form and estimated with Bayesian methods under a Minnesota-style prior. Using a real-time data set, we generate and evaluate forecasts from the mixed-frequency VAR and compare them to forecasts from a VAR that is estimated based on data time-aggregated to quarterly frequency. We document how information that becomes available within the quarter improves the forecasts in real time.
Keyword: Vector autoregressions, Bayesian methods, Real-time data, and Macroeconomic forecasting Subject (JEL): C32 - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models: Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes; State Space Models, C53 - Forecasting Models; Simulation Methods, and C11 - Bayesian Analysis: General
Creator: Schulhofer-Wohl, Sam Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 462 Abstract:
This appendix contains seven sections. Section A reports results from running regressions of labor earnings on GDP using data from the PSID, for comparison with the results using HRS data in the body of the paper. Section B examines the relationship between family income, aggregate shocks, and risk preferences in the PSID. Section C gives technical details on the Markov Chain Monte Carlo estimation employed in table 1 of the paper and reports the complete parameter estimates for the regressions summarized in that table. Section D reports results when the relationship between earnings and aggregate shocks is estimated with individual-specific coecients rather than common coecients for each risk-tolerance group. Section E reports results comparable to table 1 of the paper and table D.1 of this appendix using only Social Security covered earnings instead of the combination of Social Security and W-2 earnings. Section F reports robustness checks for tables 2 and 3 of the paper under alternative definitions of the household and the consumption and income variables. Section G reports robustness checks for tables 2 and 3 under an alternative definition of the leisure variable.
Keyword: Heterogeneity, Imperfect insurance, Risk preferences, and Risk sharing Subject (JEL): E21 - Macroeconomics : Consumption, saving, production, employment, and investment - Consumption ; Saving ; Wealth and E24 - Macroeconomics : Consumption, saving, production, employment, and investment - Employment ; Unemployment ; Wages ; Intergenerational income distribution ; Aggregate human capital
Creator: Bhandari, Anmol, Birinci, Serdar, McGrattan, Ellen R., and See, Kurt Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 578 Abstract:
In this appendix, we provide details on the data sources and construction of variables for our analysis in "What Do Survey Data Tell Us about U.S. Businesses?" We also include the auxiliary tables and figures omitted from the main text.
Keyword: Survey data Subject (JEL): C83 - Survey Methods; Sampling Methods
Creator: Arellano, Cristina, Bai, Yan, and Kehoe, Patrick J. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 466 Abstract:
The U.S. Great Recession featured a large decline in output and labor, tighter financial conditions, and a large increase in firm growth dispersion. We build a model in which increased volatility at the firm level generates a downturn and worsened credit conditions. The key idea is that hiring inputs is risky because financial frictions limit firms' ability to insure against shocks. An increase in volatility induces firms to reduce their inputs to reduce such risk. Out model can generate most of the decline in output and labor in the Great Recession and the observed increase in firms' interest rate spreads.
Keyword: Uncertainty shocks, Credit crunch, Great Recession, Firm credit spreads, Firm heterogeneity, Labor wedge, and Credit constraints Subject (JEL): E23 - Macroeconomics: Production, E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles, D52 - Incomplete Markets, E44 - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy, E24 - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity, and D53 - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium: Financial Markets
Creator: Pijoan-Mas, Josep and Ríos-Rull, José-Víctor Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 471 Abstract:
We develop a new methodology to compute differences in the expected longevity of individuals who are in different socioeconomic groups at age 50. We deal with two main problems associated with the standard use of life expectancy: that people’s socioeconomic characteristics evolve over time and that there is a time trend that reduces mortality over time. Using HRS data for individuals from different cohorts, we estimate a hazard model for survival with time-varying stochastic endogenous covariates that yields the desired expected durations. We uncover an enormous amount of heterogeneity in expected longevities between individuals in different socioeconomic groups, albeit less than implied by a naive (static) use of socioeconomic characteristics. Our analysis allows us to decompose the longevity differentials into differences in health at age 50, differences in mortality conditional on health, and differences in the evolution of health with age. Remarkably, it is the latter that is the most important for most socioeconomic characteristics. For instance, education and wealth are health protecting but have little impact on two-year mortality rates conditional on health. Finally, we document an increasing time trend of all these differentials in the period 1992–2008, and a likely increase in the socioeconomic gradient in mortality rates in the near future. The mortality differences that we find have huge welfare implications that dwarf the differences in consumption accruing to people in different socioeconomic groups.
Keyword: Life expectancies, Heterogeneity in mortality rates, and Inequality in health Subject (JEL): I14 - Health and Inequality, J14 - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-labor Market Discrimination, J12 - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure; Domestic Abuse, and I24 - Education and Inequality
Creator: Anderson, Eric, Malin, Benjamin A., Nakamura, Emi, Simester, Duncan, and Steinsson, Jón, 1976- Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 513 Abstract:
We use unique price data to study how retailers react to underlying cost changes. Temporary sales account for 95% of price changes in our data. Simple models would, therefore, suggest that temporary sales play a central role in price responses to cost shocks. We find, however, that, in response to a wholesale cost increase, the entire increase in retail prices comes through regular price increases. Sales actually respond temporarily in the opposite direction from regular prices, as though to conceal the price hike. Additional evidence from responses to commodity cost and local unemployment shocks, as well as broader evidence from BLS data reinforces these findings. We present institutional evidence that sales are complex contingent contracts, determined substantially in advance. We show theoretically that these institutional practices leave little money “on the table”: in a price-discrimination model of sales, dynamically adjusting the size of sales yields only a tiny increase in profits.
Keyword: Retail Sales, Regular Retail Prices, and Trade Deals Subject (JEL): M30 - Marketing and Advertising: General, E30 - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles: General (includes Measurement and Data), and L11 - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
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): E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles, J64 - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search, and E24 - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
Creator: Stevens, Lacramioara Luminita Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 520 Abstract:
The puzzling behavior of inflation in the Great Recession and its aftermath has increased the need to better understand the constraints that firms face when setting prices. Using new data and theory, I demonstrate that each firm's choice of how much information to acquire to set prices determines aggregate price dynamics through the patterns of pricing at the micro level, and through the large heterogeneity in pricing policies across firms. Viewed through this lens, the behavior of prices in recent years becomes less puzzling, as firms endogenously adjust their information acquisition strategies. In support of this mechanism, I present micro evidence that firms price goods using plans that are sticky, coarse, and volatile. A theory of information-constrained price setting generates such policies endogenously, and quantitatively matches the discreteness, duration, volatility, and heterogeneity of policies in the data. Policies track the state noisily, resulting in sluggish adjustment to shocks. A higher volatility of shocks does not reduce monetary non-neutrality and generates slight inflation, while progress in the technology to acquire information results in deflation.
Keyword: Rigid prices, Rational inattention, and Inflation dynamics Subject (JEL): E50 - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit: General and E30 - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles: General (includes Measurement and Data)
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: Medicare, Social Security, Retirement, and Taxation Subject (JEL): I13 - Health Insurance, Public and Private, E13 - General Aggregative Models: Neoclassical, and H55 - Social Security and Public Pensions
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.
Keyword: Employment, Debt constraints, Search and matching, and Human capital Subject (JEL): E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles, E21 - Macroeconomics: Consumption; Saving; Wealth, J64 - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search, J21 - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure, and E24 - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity