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.
Keyword: Greek depression, Taxes, Fiscal policy, Nominal rigidity, and Productivity Subject (JEL): 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: Luttmer, Erzo G. J. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 585 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 organization capital accumulation. In the US, the distribution of firm size k has a right tail only slightly thinner than 1/k. This is shown to imply that incumbent firms account for most aggregate organization capital accumulation. And it implies potentially extremely slow aggregate convergence rates. A benchmark model is proposed in which managers can use incumbent organization capital to create new organization capital. Workers are a specific factor for producing consumption, and they require managerial supervision. Through the lens of the model, 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, or as a belief shock that made consumers want to reduce consumption and accumulate more wealth instead.
Keyword: Business cycles, Zipf's law, Slow recoveries, and Firm size distribution Subject (JEL): E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles and L11 - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
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: 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.
Keyword: Financial crises, Regulatory arbitrage, Macroprudential policy, and Limited regulation enforcement Subject (JEL): F32 - Current Account Adjustment; Short-term Capital Movements, E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles, D62 - Externalities, E44 - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy, and F41 - Open Economy Macroeconomics
Creator: Ai, Hengjie and Bhandari, Anmol Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 570 Abstract:
This paper studies asset pricing in a setting in which idiosyncratic risk in human capital is not fully insurable. Firms use long-term contracts to provide insurance to workers, but neither side can commit to these contracts; furthermore, worker-firm relationships have endogenous durations owing to costly and unobservable effort. Uninsured tail risk in labor earnings arises as a part of an optimal risk-sharing scheme. In the general equilibrium, exposure to the resulting tail risk generates higher risk premia, more volatile returns, and variations in expected returns across firms. Model outcomes are consistent with the cyclicality of factor shares in the aggregate, and the heterogeneity in exposures to idiosyncratic and aggregate shocks in the cross section.
Keyword: Equity premium puzzle, Dynamic contracting, Tail risk, and Limited commitment Subject (JEL): G10 - General Financial Markets: General (includes Measurement and Data) and E30 - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles: General (includes Measurement and Data)
Creator: Kehoe, Patrick J., Midrigan, Virgiliu, and Pastorino, Elena Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 566 Abstract:
Modern business cycle theory focuses on the study of dynamic stochastic general equilibrium models that generate aggregate fluctuations similar to those experienced by actual economies. We discuss how this theory has evolved from its roots in the early real business cycle models of the late 1970s through the turmoil of the Great Recession four decades later. We document the strikingly different pattern of comovements of macro aggregates during the Great Recession compared to other postwar recessions, especially the 1982 recession. We then show how two versions of the latest generation of real business cycle models can account, respectively, for the aggregate and the cross-regional fluctuations observed in the Great Recession in the United States.
Keyword: New Keynesian models, Financial frictions, and External validation Subject (JEL): E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles, E13 - General Aggregative Models: Neoclassical, E52 - Monetary Policy, and E61 - Policy Objectives; Policy Designs and Consistency; Policy Coordination
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.
Keyword: Firm size distribution, Slow recoveries, Zipf's law, and Business cycles Subject (JEL): E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles and L11 - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
Creator: Mongey, Simon J. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 558 Abstract:
I propose an equilibrium menu cost model with a continuum of sectors, each consisting of strategically engaged firms. Compared to a model with monopolistically competitive sectors that is calibrated to the same data on good-level price flexibility, the dynamic duopoly model features a smaller inflation response to monetary shocks and output responses that are more than twice as large. The model also implies (i) four times larger welfare losses from nominal rigidities, (ii) smaller menu costs and idiosyncratic shocks are needed to match the data, (iii) a U-shaped relationship between market concentration and price flexibility, for which I find empirical support.
Keyword: Firm dynamics, Menu costs, Oligopoly, and Monetary policy Subject (JEL): L13 - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets, E30 - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles: General (includes Measurement and Data), E51 - Money Supply; Credit; Money Multipliers, L11 - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms, and E39 - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles: Other
Creator: Heathcote, Jonathan and Perri, Fabrizio Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 508 Abstract:
Between 2007 and 2013, U.S. households experienced a large and persistent decline in net worth. The objective of this paper is to study the business cycle implications of such a decline. We first develop a tractable monetary model in which households face idiosyncratic unemployment risk that they can partially self-insure using savings. A low level of liquid household wealth opens the door to self-fullfilling fluctuations: if wealth-poor households expect high unemployment, they have a strong precautionary incentive to cut spending, which can make the expectation of high unemployment a reality. Monetary policy, because of the zero lower bound, cannot rule out such expectations-driven recessions. In contrast, when wealth is sufficiently high, an aggressive monetary policy can keep the economy at full employment. Finally, we document that during the U.S. Great Recession wealth-poor households increased saving more sharply than richer households, pointing towards the importance of the precautionary channel over this period.
Keyword: Precautionary saving, Business cycles, Multiple equilibria, Aggregate demand, Zero lower bound, and Self-fulfilling crises Subject (JEL): E12 - General Aggregative Models: Keynes; Keynesian; Post-Keynesian, E21 - Macroeconomics: Consumption; Saving; Wealth, and E52 - Monetary Policy