Creator: King, Robert G. (Robert Graham), Wallace, Neil, and Weber, Warren E. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 307 Abstract:
This paper shows that there can be equilibria in which exchange rates display randomness unrelated to fundamentals. This is demonstrated in the context of a two currency, one good model, with three agent types and cash-in-advance constraints. A crucial feature is that the type i agents, for i=l, 2, must satisfy a cash—in-advance constraint by holding currency i, while type 3 agents can satisfy it by holding either currency. It is shown that real allocations vary across the multiple equilibria if markets for hedging exchange risk do not exist and that the randomness is innocuous if complete markets exist.
Keyword: Foreign exchange rates, Currencies, and Macroeconomics Subject (JEL): F31 - Foreign Exchange and E00 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics: General
Creator: Cooper, Russell and Kempf, Hubert Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 311 Abstract:
Central to ongoing debates over the desirability of monetary unions is a supposed trade-off, outlined by Mundell : a monetary union reduces transactions costs but renders stabilization policy less effective. If shocks across countries are sufficiently correlated, then, according to this argument, delegating monetary policy to a single central bank is not very costly and a monetary union is desirable.
This paper explores this argument in a setting with both monetary and fiscal policies. In an economy with monetary policy alone, we confirm the presence of the trade-off and find that indeed a monetary union will not be welfare improving if the correlation of national shocks is too low. However, fiscal interventions by national governments, combined with a central bank that has the ability to commit to monetary policy, overturn these results. In equilibrium, such a monetary union will be welfare improving for any correlation of shocks.
Keyword: Stabilization policies, Unemployment, Monetary unions, Public assistance programs, Currency, Income taxes, and Central banks
Creator: Kehoe, Timothy Jerome, 1953- Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 318 Abstract:
Currently, Argentina is experiencing what the government describes as a “great depression.” Using the “Great Depressions” methodology developed by Cole and Ohanian (1999) and Kehoe and Prescott (2002), we find that the primary determinants of both the boom in Argentina in the 1990s and the subsequent depression were changes in productivity, rather than changes in factor inputs. The timing of events links the boom to the currency-board-like Convertibility Plan and the crisis to its collapse. To gain credibility, the Argentine government took measures to make abandoning the plan more costly. Because the government was unable to enforce fiscal discipline, however, these increased costs failed to make the plan more credible and instead made the crisis far worse when it failed.
Creator: Albanesi, Stefania, Chari, V. V., and Christiano, Lawrence J. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 319 Abstract:
Why is inflation persistently high in some periods and low in others? The reason may be absence of commitment in monetary policy. In a standard model, absence of commitment leads to multiple equilibria, or expectation traps, even without trigger strategies. In these traps, expectations of high or low inflation lead the public to take defensive actions, which then make accommodating those expectations the optimal monetary policy. Under commitment, the equilibrium is unique and the inflation rate is low on average. This analysis suggests that institutions which promote commitment can prevent high inflation episodes from recurring.
Subject (JEL): E50 - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit: General, E63 - Comparative or Joint Analysis of Fiscal and Monetary Policy; Stabilization; Treasury Policy, and E61 - Policy Objectives; Policy Designs and Consistency; Policy Coordination
Creator: Kehoe, Timothy Jerome, 1953- Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 320 Abstract:
This paper evaluates the performances of three of the most prominent multisectoral static applied general equilibrium models used to predict the impact of the North American Free Trade Agreement. These models drastically underestimated the impact of NAFTA on North American trade. Furthermore, the models failed to capture much of the relative impacts on different sectors. Ex-post performance evaluations of applied GE models are essential if policymakers are to have confidence in the results produced by these models. Such valuations also help make applied GE analysis a scientific discipline in which there are well-defined puzzles with clear successes and failures for competing theories. Analyzing sectoral trade data indicates the need for a new theoretical mechanism that generates large increases in trade in product categories with little or no previous trade. To capture changes in macroeconomic aggregates, the models need to be able to capture changes in productivity.
Creator: Prescott, Edward C. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 321 Abstract:
Americans now work 50 percent more than do the Germans, French, and Italians. This was not the case in the early 1970s when the Western Europeans worked more than Americans. In this paper, I examine the role of taxes in accounting for the differences in labor supply across time and across countries, in particular, the effective marginal tax rate on labor income. The population of countries considered is that of the G-7 countries, which are major advanced industrial countries. The surprising finding is that this marginal tax rate accounts for the predominance of the differences at points in time and the large change in relative labor supply over time with the exception of the Italian labor supply in the early 1970s.
Keyword: International Labor Supply, International Tax Rates, and Social Security Reform Subject (JEL): H20 - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue: General, E24 - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity, E13 - General Aggregative Models: Neoclassical, and E62 - Fiscal Policy
Creator: Backus, David and Kehoe, Patrick J. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 323 Abstract:
We examine deviations from trend of net exports and other components of GNP for the United States and attempt to build models consistent with their behavior. The most striking fact is that net exports have consistently been countercyclical. We show, first, that dynamic pure-exchange models can only produce a negative correlation between net exports and GNP if the variance of consumption exceeds that of output. In (he United Slates it does not, so this class of models cannot explain observed comovements between output and trade. We then examine government spending and nontraded goods as potential remedies, but show that their behavior is either inconsistent with the data or can be made consistent with any pattern of comovements. The most promising model introduces production and capital formation. Fluctuations are driven by country-specific productivity shocks, in which high productivity domestically leads to high domestic investment and a deficit in the balance of trade. This theory also receives support from the large negative covariance between net exports and investment in American data.
Keyword: Investment, Risk sharing, Non-traded goods, Government deficits, Competitive equilibrium, and Productivity Subject (JEL): F21 - International Investment; Long-term Capital Movements, F30 - International Finance: General, and E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
Creator: Chari, V. V., Kehoe, Patrick J., and McGrattan, Ellen R. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 328 Abstract:
We propose a simple method to help researchers develop quantitative models of economic fluctuations. The method rests on the insight that many models are equivalent to a prototype growth model with time-varying wedges which resemble productivity, labor and investment taxes, and government consumption. Wedges corresponding to these variables—efficiency, labor, investment, and government consumption wedges—are measured and then fed back into the model in order to assess the fraction of various fluctuations they account for. Applying this method to U.S. data for the Great Depression and the 1982 recession reveals that the efficiency and labor wedges together account for essentially all of the fluctuations; the investment wedge plays a decidedly tertiary role, and the government consumption wedge, none. Analyses of the entire postwar period and alternative model specifications support these results. Models with frictions manifested primarily as investment wedges are thus not promising for the study of business cycles. (See Additional Material for a response to Christiano and Davis (2006).)
Keyword: Capacity utilization, Sticky prices, Sticky wages, Equivalence theorems, Productivity decline, Financial frictions, and Great Depression Subject (JEL): E12 - General Aggregative Models: Keynes; Keynesian; Post-Keynesian and E10 - General Aggregative Models: General
Creator: Khan, Aubhik and Thomas, Julia Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 329 Abstract:
We develop an equilibrium business cycle model where producers of final goods pursue generalized (S,s) inventory policies with respect to intermediate goods due to nonconvex factor adjustment costs. When calibrated to reproduce the average inventory-to-sales ratio in postwar U.S. data, our model explains over half of the cyclical variability of inventory investment. Moreover, inventory accumulation is strongly procyclical, and production is more volatile than sales, as in the data.
The comovement between inventory investment and final sales is often interpreted as evidence that inventories amplify aggregate fluctuations. In contrast, our model economy exhibits a business cycle similar to that of a comparable benchmark without inventories, though we do observe somewhat higher variability in employment, and lower variability in consumption and investment. Thus, our equilibrium analysis reveals that the presence of inventories does not substantially raise the cyclical variability of production, because it dampens movements in final sales.
Keyword: (S,s) inventories and Business cycles Subject (JEL): E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles and E22 - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity