Creator: Chari, V. V., Golosov, Mikhail, and Tsyvinski, Aleh Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 673 Abstract:
Innovative activities have public good characteristics in the sense that the cost of producing the innovation is high compared to the cost of producing subsequent units. Moreover, knowledge of how to produce subsequent units is widely known once the innovation has occurred and is, therefore, non-rivalrous. The main question of this paper is whether mechanisms can be found which exploit market information to provide appropriate incentives for innovation. The ability of the mechanism designer to exploit such information depends crucially on the ability of the innovator to manipulate market signals. We show that if the innovator cannot manipulate market signals, then the efficient levels of innovation can be implemented without deadweight losses–for example, by using appropriately designed prizes. If the innovator can use bribes, buybacks, or other ways of manipulating market signals, patents are necessary.
Keyword: Innovations, Mechanism design, Patents, Prizes, and Economic growth Subject (JEL): O31 - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives, D86 - Economics of Contract: Theory, O34 - Intellectual Property and Intellectual Capital, D82 - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design, O40 - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity: General, and D04 - Microeconomic Policy: Formulation, Implementation, and Evaluation
Creator: McGrattan, Ellen R. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 670 Abstract:
Previous studies quantifying the effects of increased taxation during the U.S. Great Depression find that its contribution is small, in accounting for both the downturn in the early 1930s and the slow recovery after 1934. This paper shows that this conclusion rests critically on the assumption that the only taxable capital income is business profits. Effects of capital taxation are much larger when taxes on property, capital stock, excess profits, undistributed profits, and dividends are included in the analysis. When fed into a general equilibrium model, the increased taxes imply significant declines in investment and equity values and nontrivial declines in gross domestic product (GDP) and hours of work. Of particular importance during the Great Depression was the dramatic rise in the effective tax rate on corporate dividends.
Subject (JEL): E13 - General Aggregative Models: Neoclassical, E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles, and H25 - Business Taxes and Subsidies including sales and value-added (VAT)
Creator: Holmes, Thomas J. and Thornton Snider, Julia Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 669 Abstract:
We develop a theory of outsourcing in which there is market power in one factor market (labor) and no market power in a second factor market (capital). There are two intermediate goods: one labor-intensive and the other capital-intensive. We show there is always outsourcing in the market allocation when a friction limiting outsourcing is not too big. The key factor underlying the result is that labor demand is more elastic, the greater the labor share. Integrated plants pay higher wages than the specialist producers of labor-intensive intermediates. We derive conditions under which there are multiple equilibria that vary in the degree of outsourcing. Across these equilibria, wages are lower the greater the degree of outsourcing. Wages fall when outsourcing increases in response to a decline in the outsourcing friction.
Subject (JEL): L22 - Firm Organization and Market Structure, J31 - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials, and L23 - Organization of Production
Creator: Holmes, Thomas J. and Lee, Sanghoon Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 668 Abstract:
We estimate the factors determining specialization of crop choice at the level of individual fields, distinguishing between the role of natural advantage (soil characteristics) and economies of density (scale economies achieved when farmers plant neighboring fields with the same crop). Using rich geographic data from North Dakota, including new data on crop choice collected by satellite, we estimate the analog of a social interactions econometric model for the planting decisions on neighboring fields. We find that planting decisions on a field are heavily dependent on the soil characteristics of the neighboring fields. Through this relationship, we back out the structural parameters of economies of density. Setting an Ellison-Glaeser dartboard level of specialization as a benchmark, we find that of the actual level of specialization achieved beyond this benchmark, approximately two-thirds can be attributed to natural advantage and one-third to density economies.
Subject (JEL): R12 - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity, R14 - Land Use Pattern, and Q10 - Agriculture: General
Creator: Yazici, Hakki Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 665 Abstract:
This paper studies efficient allocation of resources in an economy in which agents are initially heterogeneous with regard to their wealth levels and whether they have ideas or not. An agent with an idea can start a business that generates random returns. Agents have private information about (1) their initial types, (2) how they allocate their resources, and (3) the realized returns. The unobservability of returns creates a novel motive for subsidizing agents who have ideas but lack resources to invest in them. To analyze this motive in isolation, the paper assumes that agents are risk-neutral and abstracts away from equality and insurance considerations. The unobservability of initial types and actions implies that the subsidy that poor agents with ideas receive is limited by incentive compatibility: the society should provide other agents with enough incentives so that they do not claim to be poor and have ideas. The paper then provides an implementation of the constrained-efficient allocation in an incomplete markets setup that is similar to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Business Loan Program. Finally, the paper extends the model in several dimensions to show that the results are robust to these generalizations of the model.
Creator: Chari, V. V., Kehoe, Patrick J., and McGrattan, Ellen R. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 664 Abstract:
In the 1970s macroeconomists often disagreed bitterly. Macroeconomists have now largely converged on method, model design, and macroeconomic policy advice. The disagreements that remain all stem from the practical implementation of the methodology. Some macroeconomists think that New Keynesian models are on the verge of being useful for quarter-to-quarter quantitative policy advice. We do not. We argue that the shocks in these models are dubiously structural and show that many of the features of the model as well as the implications due to these features are inconsistent with microeconomic evidence. These arguments lead us to conclude that New Keynesian models are not yet useful for policy analysis.
Subject (JEL): E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles and E58 - Central Banks and Their Policies
Creator: Atkeson, Andrew and Kehoe, Patrick J. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 662 Abstract:
No abstract available.
Subject (JEL): E50 - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit: General, E58 - Central Banks and Their Policies, E60 - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook: General, and E52 - Monetary Policy
Creator: Guner, Nezih, Kaygusuz, Remzi, and Ventura, Gustavo Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 660 Abstract:
We evaluate reforms to the U.S. tax system in a dynamic setup with heterogeneous married and single households, and with an operative extensive margin in labor supply. We restrict our model with observations on gender and skill premia, labor force participation of married females across skill groups, and the structure of marital sorting. We study four revenue-neutral tax reforms: a proportional consumption tax, a proportional income tax, a progressive consumption tax, and a reform in which married individuals file taxes separately. Our findings indicate that tax reforms are accompanied by large and differential effects on labor supply: while hours per-worker display small increases, total hours and female labor force participation increase substantially. Married females account for more than 50% of the changes in hours associated to reforms, and their importance increases sharply for values of the intertemporal labor supply elasticity on the low side of empirical estimates. Tax reforms in a standard version of the model result in output gains that are up to 15% lower than in our benchmark economy.
Keyword: Taxation, Two-earner households, and Labor force participation Subject (JEL): E62 - Fiscal Policy, H31 - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents: Household, J22 - Time Allocation and Labor Supply, and J12 - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure; Domestic Abuse
Creator: Atkeson, Andrew, Chari, V. V., and Kehoe, Patrick J. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 659 Abstract:
The Ramsey approach to policy analysis finds the best competitive equilibrium given a set of available instruments. This approach is silent about unique implementation, namely designing policies so that the associated competitive equilibrium is unique. This silence is particularly problematic in monetary policy environments where many ways of specifying policy lead to indeterminacy. We show that sophisticated policies which depend on the history of private actions and which can differ on and off the equilibrium path can uniquely implement any desired competitive equilibrium. A large literature has argued that monetary policy should adhere to the Taylor principle to eliminate indeterminacy. Our findings say that adherence to the Taylor principle on these grounds is unnecessary. Finally, we show that sophisticated policies are robust to imperfect information.
Subject (JEL): 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: Luttmer, Erzo G. J. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 657 Abstract:
Given a common technology for replicating blueprints, high-quality blueprints will be replicated more quickly than low-quality blueprints. If quality begets quality, and firms are identified with collections of blueprints derived from the same initial blueprint, then, along a balanced growth path, Gibrat’s Law holds for every type of firm. A firm size distribution with the thick right tail observed in the data can then arise only when the number of blueprints in the economy grows over time, or else firms cannot grow at a positive rate on average. But when calibrated to match the observed firm entry rate and the right tail of the size distribution, this model implies that the median age among firms with more than 10,000 employees is about 750 years. The problem is Gibrat’s Law. If the relative quality of a firm’s blueprints depreciates as the firm ages, then the firm’s growth rate slows down over time. By allowing for rapid and noisy initial growth, this version of the model can explain high observed entry rates, a thick-tailed size distribution, and the relatively young age of large U.S. corporations.
Keyword: Gibrat's Law, Firm age and size distribution, and Capital accumulation Subject (JEL): L11 - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms and O40 - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity: General