Creator: Bassetto, Marco Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 612 Abstract:
The goal of this paper is to probe the validity of the fiscal theory of the price level by modeling explicitly the market structure in which households and the governments make their decisions. I describe the economy as a game, and I am thus able to state precisely the consequences of actions that are out of the equilibrium path. I show that there exist government strategies that lead to a version of the fiscal theory, in which the price level is determined by fiscal variables alone. However, these strategies are more complex than the simple budgetary rules usually associated with the fiscal theory, and the government budget constraint cannot be merely viewed as an equilibrium condition.
Keyword: Government strategy, Fiscal theory of the price level, Intertemporal budget constraint, Equilibrium determinacy, Commitment, and Policy rule
Creator: Atkeson, Andrew and Kehoe, Patrick J. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 614 Abstract:
A classic question in international economics is whether it is better to use the exchange rate or the money growth rate as the instrument of monetary policy. A common argument is that the exchange rate has a natural advantage since exchange rates provide signals of policymakers’ actions that are easier to monitor than those provided by money growth rates. We formalize this argument in a simple model in which the government chooses which instrument it will use to target inflation. In it, the exchange rate is more transparent than the money growth rate in that the exchange rate is easier for the public to monitor. We find that the greater transparency of the exchange rate regime makes it easier to provide the central bank with incentives to pursue good policies and hence gives this regime a natural advantage over the money regime.
Subject (JEL): E61 - Policy Objectives; Policy Designs and Consistency; Policy Coordination, E50 - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit: General, F33 - International Monetary Arrangements and Institutions, E52 - Monetary Policy, and F41 - Open Economy Macroeconomics
Creator: Golosov, Mikhail, Kocherlakota, Narayana Rao, 1963-, and Tsyvinski, Aleh Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 615 Abstract:
In this paper, we consider an environment in which agents’ productivities are private information, potentially multi-dimensional, and follow arbitrary stochastic processes. We allow for arbitrary incentive-compatible and physically feasible tax schemes. We prove that it is typically Pareto optimal to have positive capital taxes. As well, we prove that in any given period, it is Pareto optimal to tax consumption goods at a uniform rate.
Creator: Alvarez, Fernando, 1964-, Kehoe, Patrick J., and Neumeyer, Pablo Andrés Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 616 Abstract:
Are optimal monetary and fiscal policies time consistent in a monetary economy? Yes, but if and only if under commitment the Friedman rule of setting nominal interest rates to zero is optimal. This result is of applied interest because the Friedman rule is optimal for the standard preferences used in applied work, those consistent with the growth facts.
Keyword: Sustainable plans, Maturity structure, Friedman rule, and Time inconsistency
Creator: Golosov, Mikhail, Jones, Larry E., and Tertilt, Michèle Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 630 Abstract:
In this paper, we generalize the notion of Pareto-efficiency to make it applicable to environments with endogenous populations. Two efficiency concepts are proposed, P-efficiency and A-efficiency. The two concepts differ in how they treat people who are not born. We show how these concepts relate to the notion of Pareto-efficiency when fertility is exogenous. We then prove versions of the first welfare theorem assuming that decision making is efficient within the dynasty. Finally, we give two sets of sufficient conditions for noncooperative equilibria of family decision problems to be efficient. These include the Barro and Becker model as a special case.
Keyword: First welfare theorem, Altruism, Dynasty, Pareto optimality, and Fertility
Creator: Livshits, Igor, MacGee, James C., and Tertilt, Michèle Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 617 Abstract:
American consumer bankruptcy provides for a Fresh Start through the discharge of a household’s debt. Until recently, many European countries specified a No Fresh Start policy of life-long liability for debt. The trade-off between these two policies is that while Fresh Start provides insurance across states, it drives up interest rates and thereby makes life-cycle smoothing more difficult. This paper quantitatively compares these bankruptcy rules using a life-cycle model with incomplete markets calibrated to the U.S. and Germany. A key innovation is that households face idiosyncratic uncertainty about their net asset holdings (expense shocks) and labor income. We find that expense uncertainty plays a key role in evaluating consumer bankruptcy laws.
Subject (JEL): D14 - Household Saving; Personal Finance, K35 - Personal Bankruptcy Law, and D91 - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics: Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
Creator: Cagetti, Marco and De Nardi, Mariacristina Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 620 Abstract:
Although the role of financial constraints on entrepreneurial choices has received considerable attention, the effects of these constraints on aggregate capital accumulation and wealth inequality are less known. Entrepreneurship is an important determinant of capital accumulation and wealth concentration and, conversely, the distribution of wealth affects entrepreneurial choices in presence of borrowing constraints. We construct a model that matches wealth inequality very well, both for entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs, and find that more restrictive borrowing constraints generate less wealth concentration, but also reduce average firm size, aggregate capital and the fraction of entrepreneurs. We also find that voluntary bequests are an important channel that allows some high-ability workers to establish or enlarge an entrepreneurial activity: with accidental bequests only, there would be fewer large firms, fewer entrepreneurs, and less aggregate capital, but also less wealth concentration.
Keyword: Wealth, Inequality, Borrowing constraints, and Entrepreneurship Subject (JEL): E60 - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook: General, H20 - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue: General, H32 - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents: Firm, and E21 - Macroeconomics: Consumption; Saving; Wealth
Creator: Kehoe, Patrick J. and Perri, Fabrizio Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 621 Abstract:
Previous literature has shown that the study and characterization of constrained efficient allocations in economies with limited enforcement is useful to understand the limited risk sharing observed in many contexts, in particular between sovereign countries. In this paper we show that these constrained efficient allocations arise as equilibria in an economy in which private agents behave competitively, taking as given a set of taxes. We then show that these taxes, which end up limiting risk sharing, arise as an equilibrium of a dynamic game between governments. Our decentralization is different from the existing ones proposed in the literature. We find it intuitively appealing and we think it goes farther than the existing literature in endogenizing the primitive forces that lead to a lack of risk sharing in equilibrium.
Keyword: Sustainable equilibrium, Decentralization, Incomplete markets, Default, Enforcement constraints, Sovereign debt, and Risk-sharing Subject (JEL): E44 - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy, D50 - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium: General, E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles, F34 - International Lending and Debt Problems, E21 - Macroeconomics: Consumption; Saving; Wealth, and F30 - International Finance: General
Creator: Chari, V. V. and Kehoe, Patrick J. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 622 Abstract:
Herd behavior is argued by many to be present in many markets. Existing models of such behavior have been subjected to two apparently devastating critiques. The continuous investment critique is that in the basic model herds disappear if simple zero-one investment decisions are replaced by the more appealing assumption that investment decisions are continuous. The price critique is that herds disappear if, as seems natural, other investors can observe asset market prices. We argue that neither critique is devastating. We show that once we replace the unappealing exogenous timing assumption of the early models that investors move in a pre-specified order by a more appealing endogenous timing assumption that investors can move whenever they choose then herds reappear.