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Working Papers Archive
CollectionDescription: Working Papers are early drafts of academic research papers written by economists affiliated with the Minneapolis Fed. Working Papers are often preprints of articles that are published in scholarly journals. Many Working Papers later become Staff Reports. The Research Database is the official location for this series, but you can also find them on the Minneapolis Fed website, IDEAS/RePEc, and in EconLit.

Creator: Boyd, John H. and Smith, Bruce D. (Bruce David), 19542002 Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 537 Abstract: We consider an environment in which riskneutral firms must obtain external finance. They have access to two kinds of linear, stochastic investment opportunities. For one, return realizations are costlessly observed by all agents. For the other, return realizations are costlessly observed only by the investing firm; however, they can be (privately) observed by outsiders who bear a fixed verification cost. Thus, the second investment opportunity is subject to a standard costly state verification (CSV) problem of the type considered by Townsend (1979), Gale and Hellwig (1985), or Williamson (1986, 1987).
We examine the optimal allocations of investment between the two kinds of projects, as well as the optimal contract used to finance it. We show that the optimal contractual outcome can be supported by having firms issue appropriate (and determinate) quantities of debt and equity securities to outside investors.
The optimal debtequity ratio necessarily depends (in part) on the firm’s asset structure. Investments in projects subject to CSV problems are associated (in a sense to be made precise) with the use of debt—as might be expected from the existing CSV literature. Investments in projects with publicly observable returns are associated with the use of external equity.
We examine in detail the relationship between the optimal asset and liability structure of the firm. We also describe conditions under which an increase in the cost of state verification shifts the composition of investment towards projects with observable returns, and reduces the optimal debtequity ratio. Interestingly, the optimal debtequity ratio is also shown to depend on factors that are irrelevant to asset allocations.
Finally, a large part of the interest in CSV environments has been due to the fact that they may result in equilibrium credit rationing. Our analysis has strong implications for the possibility of equilibrium credit rationing in more general CSV models.
Subject (JEL): E51  Money Supply; Credit; Money Multipliers and G21  Banks; Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages 
Creator: Chari, V. V., Kehoe, Patrick J., and McGrattan, Ellen R. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 619 
Creator: Chari, V. V. and Jagannathan, Ravi Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 320 Abstract: This paper shows that bank runs can be modeled as an equilibrium phenomenon. We demonstrate that some aspects of the intuitive “story” that bank runs start with fears of insolvency of banks can be rigorously modeled. If individuals observe long “lines” at the bank, they correctly infer that there is a possibility that the bank is about to fail and precipitate a bank run. However, bank runs occur even when no one has any adverse information. Extra market constraints such as suspension of convertibility can prevent bank runs and result in superior allocations.

Creator: Aiyagari, S. Rao Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 312 Abstract: This paper studies the relationship between the existence and optimality of a monetary steadystate and the nonoptimality of nonmonetary steadystates. We construct a sequence of stationary overlapping generations economies with longer and longer lived generations in which all agents maximize a discounted sum of utilities with a common discount rate. Under some assumptions the following result is established: If the discount rate is greater (less) than the population growth rate, then eventually every nonmonetary steadystate is optimal (nonoptimal) and a monetary steadystate does not exist (exists and is optimal).

Creator: Christiano, Lawrence J. and Eichenbaum, Martin S. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 306 Abstract: This paper examines the quantitative importance of temporal aggregation bias in distorting parameter estimates and hypothesis tests. Our strategy is to consider two empirical examples in which temporal aggregation bias has the potential to account for results which are widely viewed as being anomalous from the perspective of particular economic models. Our first example investigates the possibility that temporal aggregation bias can lead to spurious Granger causality relationships. The quantitative importance of this possibility is examined in the context of Granger causal relations between the growth rates of money and various measures of aggregate output. Our second example investigates the possibility that temporal aggregation bias can account for the slow speeds of adjustment typically obtained with stock adjustment models. The quantitative importance of this possibility is examined in the context of a particular class of continuous and discrete time equilibrium models of inventories and sales. The different models are compared on the basis of the behavioral implications of the estimated values of the structural parameters which we obtain and their overall statistical performance. The empirical results from both examples provide support for the view that temporal aggregation bias can be quantitatively important in the sense of significantly distorting inference.

Creator: Christiano, Lawrence J. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 303 Abstract: This paper investigates—in the context of a simple example—the accuracy of an econometric technique recently proposed by Kydland and Prescott. We consider a hypothetical econometrician who has a large sample of data, which is known to be generated as a solution to an infinite horizon, stochastic optimization problem. The form of the optimization problem is known to the econometrician. However, the values of some of the parameters need to be estimated. The optimization problem—presented in a recent paper by Long and Plosser—is not linear quadratic. Nevertheless, its closed form solution is known, although not to the hypothetical econometrician of this paper. The econometrician uses Kydland and Prescott’s method to estimate the unknown structural parameters. Kydland and Prescott’s approach involves replacing the given stochastic optimization problem by another which approximates it. The approximate problem is a element of the class of linear quadratic problems, whose solution is wellknown—even to the hypothetical econometrician of this paper. After examining the probability limits of the econometrician’s estimators under “reasonable” specifications of model parameters, we conclude that the Kydland and Prescott method works well in the example considered. It is left to future research to determine the extent to which the results obtained for the example in this paper applies to a broader class of models.

Creator: Christiano, Lawrence J. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 338 Abstract: This paper investigates two methods of approximating the optimal decision rules of a stochastic, representative agent model which exhibits growth in steady state and cannot be expressed in linear–quadratic form. Both methods are modifications on the linear quadratic approximation technique proposed by Kydland and Prescott. It is shown that one of the solution methods leads to bizarre dynamic behavior, even with shocks of empirically reasonable magnitude. The other solution technique does not exhibit such bizarre behavior.

Creator: Altug, Sumru and Miller, Robert A. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 341 Abstract: This paper investigates the role of aggregate shocks on household consumption and labor supply. It posits, estimates and tests a model where the equilibrium behavior of agents sometimes leads them to locate on the boundary of their respective choices sets. The framework is rich enough to nest much previous empirical work on life cycle labor supply and consumption based asset pricing. It also yields a structural interpretation of wage regressions on unemployment. An important feature of our model is that markets are complete. Consequently, aggregate shocks only enter through two price sequences, namely real wages, and a sequence comprising weighted prices for future contingent consumption claims which are ultimately realized. We examine the properties of this latter sequence, whose elements may be represented as mappings from real wages and aggregate dividends.
Our empirical findings may be grouped into three. First, aggregate shocks play a significant role in determining the choices people make. Second, we reject for males some of the restrictions implicit in structural interpretations of wage unemployment regressions. Moreover when these restrictions are imposed, we find wages are countercyclical, but cannot reject the null hypothesis of no effect. Third, the null hypothesis that markets are complete is not invariably rejected. However, the orthogonality conditions associated with the asset pricing equation are rejected, even though our specification of preferences incorporates types of heterogeneity which violate the necessary conditions for aggregating to a representative agent formulation. Finally, we reject the crossequation restrictions between the labor supply of spouses implied by equilibrium behavior.
Keyword: Complete markets, Tests of orthogonality conditions, Labor supply and consumption, Asset returns data, Nonseparability, Simple factor structure, and Panel data 
Creator: Aiyagari, S. Rao Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 356 Abstract: We prove the existence of a competitive equilibrium in an overlapping generations model in which each generation has a preference ordering over its own and its descendents’ consumptions. The model is one of pure exchange with many goods in each period and two period lived generations. The bequest from one generation to the next is required to be nonnegative and is endogenous. In equilibrium, some sequences of agents of successive generations may be continually “linked” by positive bequests and act as infinitely lived agents. Other sequences of agents may not be so linked and therefore behave as sequences of finite lived agents. We give three examples which illustrate the following points: (i) multiple equilibria may exist some of which resemble those of standard overlapping generations models, whereas in others some sequences of agents behave as if infinitely lived, (ii) multiple steady states of the above two types may exist in which the latter are unstable and the former are stable, and (iii) if agents have preferences given by discounted sums of utilities with different discount rates, then not all sequences of generations can be continually linked and hence behave as infinitely lived agents.

Creator: Boyd, John H., Prescott, Edward C., and Smith, Bruce D. (Bruce David), 19542002 Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 385 Abstract: Three economic environments are reviewed, and in each organizations play an essential role. For an adverse selection insurance economy, we find that when mutual insurance arrangements are permitted an equilibrium necessarily exists and is optimal. This example, and the two others, illustrate the problems that may result from imposing organizational structure on an environment rather than permitting the structure to be determined endogenously.

Creator: Aiyagari, S. Rao Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 393 Abstract: This paper demonstrates a connection between failure of Walras’ Law and nonoptimal equilibria in a quite general overlapping generations model. Consider the following implication of Walras’ Law in finite economies. Suppose that all prices are positive and that all agents are on their budget lines. Then, no matter how the set of goods is partitioned, there cannot be an excess supply (in value terms) for some other set in the partition with excess demand (in value terms) for some other set in the partition. We use the Cass (1972), Benveniste (1976, 1986), Balasko and Shell (1980), and Okuno and Zilcha (1980) price characterization of optimality of equilibria in pure exchange overlapping generations models to show the following link between the above implication of Walras’ Law and optimality of a competitive equilibrium. A competitive equilibrium is nonoptimal if and only if the above implication of Walras’ Law fails in its neighborhood.