Creator: McGrattan, Ellen R. and Prescott, Edward C. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 472 Abstract:
A problem that faces many countries including the United States is how to finance retirement consumption as the population ages. Proposals for switching to a saving-for-retirement system that do not rely on high payroll taxes have been challenged on the grounds that welfare would fall for some groups such as retirees or the working poor. We show how to devise a transition path from the current U.S. system to a saving-for-retirement system that increases the welfare of all current and future generations, with estimates of future gains higher than those found in typically used macroeconomic models. The gains are large because there is more productive capital than commonly assumed. Our quantitative results depend importantly on accounting for differences between actual government tax revenues and what revenues would be if all income were taxed at the income-weighted average marginal tax rates used in our analysis.
Keyword: Medicare, Retirement, Social Security, and Taxation Subject (JEL): E13 - General Aggregative Models: Neoclassical, H55 - Social Security and Public Pensions, and I13 - Health Insurance, Public and Private
Creator: Pijoan-Mas, Josep and Ríos-Rull, José-Víctor Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 471 Abstract:
We develop a new methodology to compute differences in the expected longevity of individuals who are in different socioeconomic groups at age 50. We deal with two main problems associated with the standard use of life expectancy: that people’s socioeconomic characteristics evolve over time and that there is a time trend that reduces mortality over time. Using HRS data for individuals from different cohorts, we estimate a hazard model for survival with time-varying stochastic endogenous covariates that yields the desired expected durations. We uncover an enormous amount of heterogeneity in expected longevities between individuals in different socioeconomic groups, albeit less than implied by a naive (static) use of socioeconomic characteristics. Our analysis allows us to decompose the longevity differentials into differences in health at age 50, differences in mortality conditional on health, and differences in the evolution of health with age. Remarkably, it is the latter that is the most important for most socioeconomic characteristics. For instance, education and wealth are health protecting but have little impact on two-year mortality rates conditional on health. Finally, we document an increasing time trend of all these differentials in the period 1992–2008, and a likely increase in the socioeconomic gradient in mortality rates in the near future. The mortality differences that we find have huge welfare implications that dwarf the differences in consumption accruing to people in different socioeconomic groups.
Keyword: Inequality in health, Life expectancies, and Heterogeneity in mortality rates Subject (JEL): I14 - Health and Inequality, I24 - Education and Inequality, J14 - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-labor Market Discrimination, and J12 - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure; Domestic Abuse
Creator: Pastorino, Elena Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 470 Abstract:
In this appendix I present details of the model and the empirical analysis, and results of counterfactual experiments omitted from the paper. In Section 1 I describe a simple example that illustrates how, even in the absence of human capital acquisition, productivity shocks, or separation shocks, the learning component of the model can naturally generate mobility between jobs within a firm and turnover between firms. I also include the proofs of Propositions 1 and 2 in the paper. In Section 2 I discuss model identification in detail, where, in particular, I prove that information in my data on the performance ratings of managers allows me to identify the learning process separately from the human capital process. In Section 3 I describe the original U.S. firm dataset of Baker, Gibbs, and Holmström (1994a,b), on which my work is based. In Section 4 I provide details about the estimation of the model, including the derivation of the likelihood function, a description of the numerical solution of the model, and a discussion of the results from a Monte Carlo exercise showing the identifiability of the model’s parameters in practice. There I also derive bounds on the informativeness of the jobs of the competitors of the firm in my data, based on the estimates of the parameters reported in the paper. Finally, in Section 5 I present estimation results based on a larger sample that includes entrants into the firm at levels higher than Level 1. Results of counterfactual experiments omitted from the paper are contained in Tables A.12–A.14.
Keyword: Experimentation, Human Capital, Wage Growth, Job Mobility, Bandit, and Careers Subject (JEL): J31 - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials, J44 - Professional Labor Markets; Occupational Licensing, J24 - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity, D83 - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness, D22 - Firm Behavior: Empirical Analysis, and J62 - Job, Occupational, and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion
Creator: Pastorino, Elena Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 469 Abstract:
This paper develops and structurally estimates a labor market model that integrates job assignment, learning, and human capital acquisition to account for the main patterns of careers in firms. A key innovation is that the model incorporates workers’ job mobility within and between firms, and the possibility that, through job assignment, firms affect the rate at which they acquire information about workers. The model is estimated using longitudinal administrative data on managers from one U.S. firm in a service industry (the data of Baker, Gibbs, and Holmström (1994a,b)) and fits the data remarkably well. The estimated model is used to assess both the direct effect of learning on wages and its indirect effect through its impact on the dynamics of job assignment. Consistent with the evidence in the literature on comparative advantage and learning, the estimated direct effect of learning on wages is found to be small. Unlike in previous work, by jointly estimating the dynamics of beliefs, jobs, and wages imposing all of the model restrictions, the impact of learning on job assignment can be uncovered and the indirect effect of learning on wages explicitly assessed. The key finding of the paper is that the indirect effect of learning on wages is substantial: overall learning accounts for one quarter of the cumulative wage growth on the job during the first seven years of tenure. Nearly all of the remaining growth is from human capital acquisition. A related novel finding is that the experimentation component of learning is a primary determinant of the timing of promotions and wage increases. Along with persistent uncertainty about ability, experimentation is responsible for substantially compressing wage growth at low tenures.
Keyword: Experimentation, Human Capital, Wage Growth, Careers, Job Mobility, and Bandit Subject (JEL): J31 - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials, J44 - Professional Labor Markets; Occupational Licensing, J24 - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity, D83 - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness, D22 - Firm Behavior: Empirical Analysis, and J62 - Job, Occupational, and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion
Creator: Schmitz, James Andrew Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 468 Abstract:
Fifty-eight years ago, Harberger (1954) estimated that the costs of monopoly, which resulted from misallocation of resources across industries, were trivial. Others showed the same was true for tariffs. This research soon led to the consensus that monopoly costs are of little significance—a consensus that persists to this day.
This paper reports on a new literature that takes a different approach to the costs of monopoly. It examines the costs of monopoly and tariffs within industries. In particular, it examines the histories of industries in which a monopoly is destroyed (or tariffs greatly reduced) and the industry transitions quickly from monopoly to competition. If there are costs to monopoly and high tariffs within industries, we should be able to see these costs whittled away as the monopoly is destroyed.
In contrast to the prevailing consensus, this new research has identified significant costs of monopoly. Monopoly (and high tariffs) is shown to significantly lower productivity within establishments. It also leads to misallocation within industry: resources are transferred from high to low productivity establishments.
From these histories a common theme (or theory) emerges as to why monopoly is costly. When a monopoly is created, “rents” are created. Conflict emerges among shareholders, managers, and employees of the monopoly as they negotiate how to divide these rents. Mechanisms are set up to split the rents. These mechanisms are often means to reduce competition among members of the monopoly. Although the mechanisms divide rents, they also destroy them (by leading to low productivity and misallocation).
Keyword: Competition, Monopoly, X-inefficiency, and Rent seeking Subject (JEL): L00 - Industrial Organization: General, F10 - Trade: General, and D20 - Production and Organizations: General
Creator: Marimon, Ramon, 1953-, Nicolini, Juan Pablo, and Teles, Pedro Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 467 Abstract:
The interplay between competition and trust as efficiency-enhancing mechanisms in the private provision of money is studied. With commitment, trust is automatically achieved and competition ensures efficiency. Without commitment, competition plays no role. Trust does play a role but requires a bound on efficiency. Stationary inflation must be non-negative and, therefore, the Friedman rule cannot be achieved. The quality of money can be observed only after its purchasing capacity is realized. In this sense, money is an experience good.
Keyword: Trust, Currency competition, and Inflation Subject (JEL): E50 - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit: General, E58 - Central Banks and Their Policies, E40 - Money and Interest Rates: General, and E60 - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook: General
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: Firm heterogeneity, Credit constraints, Firm credit spreads, Uncertainty shocks, Labor wedge, Great Recession, and Credit crunch Subject (JEL): D53 - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium: Financial Markets, E24 - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity, E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles, E44 - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy, D52 - Incomplete Markets, and E23 - Macroeconomics: Production
Creator: Kiyotaki, Nobuhiro and Wright, Randall D. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 464 Abstract:
The classical and early neoclassical economists knew that the essential function of money was its role as a medium of exchange. Recently, this idea has been formalized using search-theoretic noncooperative equilibrium models of the exchange process. The goal of this paper is to use a simple model of this class to analyze four substantive issues in monetary economics: the interaction between specialization and exchange, dual fiat currency regimes, the welfare improving role of money, and the susceptibility of monetary economies to extrinsic uncertainty.
Keyword: Fiat currency, Exchange, Monetary economics, Fiat money, and Money Subject (JEL): D83 - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness and E00 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics: General
Creator: Atkeson, Andrew, Hellwig, Christian, and Ordonez, Guillermo Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 464 Abstract:
In all markets, firms go through a process of creative destruction: entry, random growth and exit. In many of these markets there are also regulations that restrict entry, possibly distorting this process. We study the public interest rationale for entry taxes in a general equilibrium model with free entry and exit of firms in which firm dynamics are driven by reputation concerns. In our model firms can produce high-quality output by making a costly but efficient initial unobservable investment. If buyers never learn about this investment, an extreme “lemons problem” develops, no firm invests, and the market shuts down. Learning introduces reputation incentives such that a fraction of entrants do invest. We show that, if the market operates with spot prices, entry taxes always enhance the role of reputation to induce investment, improving welfare despite the impact of these taxes on equilibrium prices and total production.
Keyword: General equilibrium, Reputation, Creative destruction, Firm dynamics, Entry and exit, and Regulation Subject (JEL): D82 - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design, L15 - Information and Product Quality; Standardization and Compatibility, D21 - Firm Behavior: Theory, and L51 - Economics of Regulation
Creator: Perri, Fabrizio and Quadrini, Vincenzo Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 463 Abstract:
The 2007–2009 crisis was characterized by an unprecedented degree of international synchronization as all major industrialized countries experienced large macroeconomic contractions around the date of Lehman bankruptcy. At the same time countries also experienced large and synchronized tightening of credit conditions. We present a two-country model with financial market frictions where a credit tightening can emerge as a self-fulfilling equilibrium caused by pessimistic but fully rational expectations. As a result of the credit tightening, countries experience large and endogenously synchronized declines in asset prices and economic activity (international recessions). The model suggests that these recessions are more severe if they happen after a prolonged period of credit expansion.
Keyword: Credit shocks, Global liquidity, and International co-movement Subject (JEL): F41 - Open Economy Macroeconomics, F44 - International Business Cycles, and G01 - Financial Crises
Creator: Schulhofer-Wohl, Sam Series: Staff Reports (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis) Number: 462 Abstract:
This appendix contains seven sections. Section A reports results from running regressions of labor earnings on GDP using data from the PSID, for comparison with the results using HRS data in the body of the paper. Section B examines the relationship between family income, aggregate shocks, and risk preferences in the PSID. Section C gives technical details on the Markov Chain Monte Carlo estimation employed in table 1 of the paper and reports the complete parameter estimates for the regressions summarized in that table. Section D reports results when the relationship between earnings and aggregate shocks is estimated with individual-specific coecients rather than common coecients for each risk-tolerance group. Section E reports results comparable to table 1 of the paper and table D.1 of this appendix using only Social Security covered earnings instead of the combination of Social Security and W-2 earnings. Section F reports robustness checks for tables 2 and 3 of the paper under alternative definitions of the household and the consumption and income variables. Section G reports robustness checks for tables 2 and 3 under an alternative definition of the leisure variable.
Keyword: Risk preferences, Heterogeneity, Imperfect insurance, and Risk sharing Subject (JEL): E21 - Macroeconomics : Consumption, saving, production, employment, and investment - Consumption ; Saving ; Wealth and E24 - Macroeconomics : Consumption, saving, production, employment, and investment - Employment ; Unemployment ; Wages ; Intergenerational income distribution ; Aggregate human capital
Creator: Schulhofer-Wohl, Sam Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 462 Abstract:
How well do people share risk? Standard risk-sharing regressions assume that any variation in households’ risk preferences is uncorrelated with variation in the cyclicality of income. I combine administrative and survey data to show that this assumption is questionable: Risk-tolerant workers hold jobs where earnings carry more aggregate risk. The correlation makes risk-sharing regressions in the previous literature too pessimistic. I derive techniques that eliminate the bias, apply them to U.S. data, and find that the effect of idiosyncratic income shocks on consumption is practically small and statistically difficult to distinguish from zero.
Keyword: Imperfect insurance, Risk sharing, Risk preferences, and Heterogeneity Subject (JEL): E21 - Macroeconomics: Consumption; Saving; Wealth and E24 - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
Creator: Redish, Angela, 1952- and Weber, Warren E. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 460 Abstract:
We construct a random matching model of a monetary economy with commodity money in the form of potentially different types of silver coins that are distinguishable by the quantity of metal they contain. The quantity of silver in the economy is assumed to be fixed, but agents can mint and melt coins. Coins yield no utility, but can be traded. Uncoined silver yields direct utility to the holder. We find that optimal coin size increases with the probability of trade and with the stock of silver. We use these predictions of our model to analyze the coinage decisions of the monetary authorities in medieval Venice and England. Our model provides theoretical support for the view that decisions about coin sizes and types during the medieval period reflected a desire to improve the economic welfare of the general population, not just the desire for seigniorage revenue.
Creator: Atkeson, Andrew and Burstein, Ariel Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 459 Abstract:
We examine the quantitative impact of policy-induced changes in innovative investment by firms on growth in aggregate productivity and output in a model that nests several of the canonical models in the literature. We isolate two statistics, the impact elasticity of aggregate productivity growth with respect to an increase in aggregate innovative investment and the degree of intertemporal knowledge spillovers in research, that play a key role in shaping the model’s predicted dynamic response of aggregate productivity, output, and welfare to a policy-induced change in the innovation intensity of the economy. Given estimates of these statistics, we find that there is only modest scope for increasing aggregate productivity and output over a 20-year horizon with uniform subsidies to firms’ investments in innovation of a reasonable magnitude, but the welfare gains from such a subsidy may be substantial.
Keyword: Innovation policies, Economic growth, and Social depreciation Subject (JEL): O40 - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity: General and O30 - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights: General
Creator: Uy, Timothy, Yi, Kei-Mu, and Zhang, Jing Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 456 Abstract:
We study the importance of international trade in structural change. Our framework has both productivity and trade cost shocks, and allows for non-unitary income and substitution elasticities. We calibrate our model to investigate South Korea’s structural change between 1971 and 2005. We find that the shock processes, propagated through the model’s two main transmission mechanisms, non-homothetic preferences and the open economy, explain virtually all of the evolution of agriculture and services labor shares, and the rising part of the hump-shape in manufacturing. Counterfactual exercises show that the role of the open economy is quantitatively important for explaining South Korea’s structural change.
Keyword: Structural transformation, Sectoral labor reallocation, and International trade Subject (JEL): F20 - International Factor Movements and International Business: General, O41 - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models, F40 - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance: General, and O13 - Economic Development: Agriculture; Natural Resources; Energy; Environment; Other Primary Products
Creator: McGrattan, Ellen R. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 454 Abstract:
Empirical studies quantifying the economic effects of increased foreign direct investment (FDI) have not provided conclusive evidence that they are positive, as theory predicts. This paper shows that the lack of empirical evidence is consistent with theory if countries are in transition to FDI openness. Anticipated welfare gains lead to temporary declines in domestic investment and employment. Also, growth measures miss some intangible FDI, which is expensed from company profits. The reconciliation of theory and evidence is accomplished with a multicountry dynamic general equilibrium model parameterized with data from a sample of 104 countries during 1980–2005. Although no systematic benefits of FDI openness are found, the model demonstrates that the eventual gains in growth and welfare can be huge, especially for small countries.
Keyword: Development, Technology capital, and Foreign direct investment Subject (JEL): O32 - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D, F23 - Multinational Firms; International Business, and F21 - International Investment; Long-term Capital Movements
Creator: Kehoe, Timothy Jerome, 1953- and Ruhl, Kim J. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 453 Abstract:
Following its opening to trade and foreign investment in the mid-1980s, Mexico’s economic growth has been modest at best, particularly in comparison with that of China. Comparing these countries and reviewing the literature, we conclude that the relation between openness and growth is not a simple one. Using standard trade theory, we find that Mexico has gained from trade, and by some measures, more so than China. We sketch out a theory in which developing countries can grow faster than the United States by reforming. As a country becomes richer, this sort of catch-up becomes more difficult. Absent continuing reforms, Chinese growth is likely to slow down sharply, perhaps leaving China at a level less than Mexico’s real GDP per working-age person.
Subject (JEL): O20 - Development Planning and Policy: General, E65 - Studies of Particular Policy Episodes, O10 - Economic Development: General, E23 - Macroeconomics: Production, F14 - Empirical Studies of Trade, and O47 - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence
Creator: McGrattan, Ellen R. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 451 Abstract:
Previous studies of the U.S. Great Depression find that increased government spending and taxation contributed little to either the dramatic downturn or the slow recovery. These studies include only one type of capital taxation: a business profits tax. The contribution is much greater when the analysis includes other types of capital taxes. A general equilibrium model extended to include taxes on dividends, property, capital stock, and excess and undistributed profits predicts patterns of output, investment, and hours worked that are more like those in the 1930s than found in earlier studies. The greatest effects come from the increased taxes on corporate dividends and undistributed profits.
Subject (JEL): E13 - General Aggregative Models: Neoclassical, H25 - Business Taxes and Subsidies including sales and value-added (VAT), and E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
Creator: Guvenen, Fatih and Smith, Anthony Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 450 Abstract:
This paper uses the information contained in the joint dynamics of households’ labor earnings and consumption-choice decisions to quantify the nature and amount of income risk that households face. We accomplish this task by estimating a structural consumption-savings model using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics and the Consumer Expenditure Survey. Specifically, we estimate the persistence of labor income shocks, the extent of systematic differences in income growth rates, the fraction of these systematic differences that households know when they begin their working lives, and the amount of measurement error in the data. Although data on labor earnings alone can shed light on some of these dimensions, to assess what households know about their income processes requires using the information contained in their economic choices (here, consumption-savings decisions). To estimate the consumption-savings model, we use indirect inference, a simulation method that puts virtually no restrictions on the structural model and allows the estimation of income processes from economic decisions with general specifications of utility, frequently binding borrowing constraints, and missing observations. The main substantive findings are that income shocks are not very persistent, systematic differences in income growth rates are large, and individuals have substantial amounts of information about their future income prospects. Consequently, the amount of uninsurable lifetime income risk that households perceive is substantially smaller than what is typically assumed in calibrated macroeconomic models with incomplete markets.
Creator: Huggett, Mark and Kaplan, Greg Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 448 Abstract:
We provide theory for calculating bounds on both the value of an individual’s human capital and the return on an individual’s human capital, given knowledge of the process governing earnings and financial asset returns. We calculate bounds using U.S. data on male earnings and financial asset returns. The large idiosyncratic component of earnings risk implies that bounds on values and returns are quite loose. However, when aggregate shocks are the only source of earnings risk, both bounds are tight.
Keyword: Asset pricing, Return on human capital, and Value of human capital Subject (JEL): J24 - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity and G12 - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
Creator: Greenwood, Jeremy, 1953- and Jovanovic, Boyan, 1951- Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 446 Abstract:
A paradigm is presented where both the extent of financial intermediation and the rate of economic growth are endogenously determined. Financial intermediation promotes growth because it allows a higher rate of return to be earned on capital, and growth in turn provides the means to implement costly financial structures. Thus, financial intermediation and economic growth are inextricably linked in accord with the Goldsmith-McKinnon-Shaw view on economic development. The model also generates a development cycle reminiscent of the Kuznets hypothesis. In particular, in the transition from a primitive slow-growing economy to a developed fast-growing one, a nation passes through a stage where the distribution of wealth across the rich and poor widens.
Keyword: Kuznets curve, Rate of return, Income gap, Income distribution, Growth rate, and Financial intermediation Subject (JEL): G00 - Financial Economics: General and O11 - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
Creator: Guerrieri, Veronica and Kondor, Péter Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 446 Abstract:
We propose a model of delegated portfolio management with career concerns. Investors hire fund managers to invest their capital either in risky bonds or in riskless assets. Some managers have superior information on the default probability. Looking at the past performance, investors update beliefs on their managers and make firing decisions. This leads to career concerns which affect investment decisions, generating a positive or negative “reputational premium.” For example, when the default probability is high, the return on the risky bond has to be high to compensate the uninformed managers for the high risk of being fired. As the default probability changes over time, the reputational premium amplifies price volatility.
Creator: Holmes, Thomas J. and Stevens, John J. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 445 Abstract:
There is wide variation in the sizes of manufacturing plants, even within the most narrowly defined industry classifications used by statistical agencies. Standard theories attribute all such size differences to productivity differences. This paper develops an alternative theory in which industries are made up of large plants producing standardized goods and small plants making custom or specialty goods. It uses confidential Census data to estimate the parameters of the model, including estimates of plant counts in the standardized and specialty segments by industry. The estimated model fits the data relatively well compared with estimates based on standard approaches. In particular, the predictions of the model for the impacts of a surge in imports from China are consistent with what happened to U.S. manufacturing industries that experienced such a surge over the period 1997--2007. Large-scale standardized plants were decimated, while small-scale specialty plants were relatively less impacted.
Creator: Atkeson, Andrew and Burstein, Ariel Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 444 Abstract:
We present a general equilibrium model of the response of firms' decisions to operate, innovate, and engage in international trade to a change in the marginal cost of international trade. We find that, although a change in trade costs can have a substantial impact on heterogeneous firms' exit, export, and process innovation decisions, the impact of changes in these decisions on welfare is largely offset by the response of product innovation. Our results suggest that microeconomic evidence on firms' responses to changes in international trade costs may not be informative about the implications of changes in these trade costs for aggregate welfare.
Creator: Williamson, Stephen D. and Wright, Randall D. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 443 Abstract:
The purpose of this paper is to discuss some of the models used in New Monetarist Economics, which is our label for a body of recent work on money, banking, payments systems, asset markets, and related topics. A key principle in New Monetarism is that solid microfoundations are critical for understanding monetary issues. We survey recent papers on monetary theory, showing how they build on common foundations. We then lay out a tractable benchmark version of the model that allows us to address a variety of issues. We use it to analyze some classic economic topics, like the welfare effects of inflation, the relationship between money and capital accumulation, and the Phillips curve. We also extend the benchmark model in new ways, and show how it can be used to generate new insights in the study of payments, banking, and asset markets.
Keyword: Monetary Policy, Monetary Theory, and New Monetarism Subject (JEL): E50 - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit: General, E00 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics: General, E40 - Money and Interest Rates: General, and E10 - General Aggregative Models: General
Creator: Williamson, Stephen D. and Wright, Randall D. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 442 Abstract:
This essay articulates the principles and practices of New Monetarism, our label for a recent body of work on money, banking, payments, and asset markets. We first discuss methodological issues distinguishing our approach from others: New Monetarism has something in common with Old Monetarism, but there are also important differences; it has little in common with Keynesianism. We describe the principles of these schools and contrast them with our approach. To show how it works, in practice, we build a benchmark New Monetarist model, and use it to study several issues, including the cost of inflation, liquidity and asset trading. We also develop a new model of banking.
Subject (JEL): E50 - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit: General, E00 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics: General, E40 - Money and Interest Rates: General, and E10 - General Aggregative Models: General
Creator: Del Negro, Marco, Perri, Fabrizio, and Schivardi, Fabiano Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 441 Abstract:
The paper studies a fiscal policy instrument that can reduce fiscal distortions without affecting revenues, in a politically viable way. The instrument is a private contract (tax buyout), offered by the government to each citizen, whereby the citizen can choose to pay a fixed price in exchange for a given reduction in her tax rate for a period of time. We introduce the tax buyout in a dynamic overlapping generations economy, calibrated to match several features of the US income, taxes and wealth distribution. Under simple pricing, the introduction of the buyout is revenue neutral but, by reducing distortions, it benefits a significant fraction of the population and leads to sizable increases in aggregate labor supply, income and consumption.
Creator: Luttmer, Erzo G. J. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 440 Abstract:
The Pareto-like tail of the size distribution of firms can arise from random growth of productivity or stochastic accumulation of capital. If the shocks that give rise to firm growth are perfectly correlated within a firm, then the growth rates of small and large firms are equally volatile, contrary to what is found in the data. If firm growth is the result of many independent shocks within a firm, it can take hundreds of years for a few large firms to emerge. This paper describes an economy with both types of shocks that can account for the thick-tailed firm size distribution, high entry and exit rates, and the relatively young age of large firms. The economy is one in which aggregate growth is driven by the creation of new products by both new and incumbent firms. Some new firms have better ideas than others and choose to implement those ideas at a more rapid pace. Eventually, such firms slow down when the quality of their ideas reverts to the mean. As in the data, average growth rates in a cross section of firms will appear to be independent of firm size, for all but the smallest firms.
Keyword: Firm size distribution, Gibrat’s law, and Aggregate growth Subject (JEL): L10 - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance: General and O40 - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity: General
Creator: Holmes, Thomas J. and Schmitz, James Andrew Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 439 Abstract:
Does competition spur productivity? And if so, how does it do so? These have long been regarded as central questions in economics. This essay reviews the literature that makes progress toward answering both questions.
Keyword: Market power, Monopoly, and Innovation
Creator: Guvenen, Fatih, Kuruscu, Burhanettin, and Ozkan, Serdar Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 438 Abstract:
Wage inequality has been significantly higher in the United States than in continental European countries (CEU) since the 1970s. Moreover, this inequality gap has further widened during this period as the US has experienced a large increase in wage inequality, whereas the CEU has seen only modest changes. This paper studies the role of labor income tax policies for understanding these facts. We begin by documenting two new empirical facts that link these inequality differences to tax policies. First, we show that countries with more progressive labor income tax schedules have significantly lower before-tax wage inequality at different points in time. Second, progressivity is also negatively correlated with the rise in wage inequality during this period. We then construct a life cycle model in which individuals decide each period whether to go to school, work, or be unemployed. Individuals can accumulate skills either in school or while working. Wage inequality arises from differences across individuals in their ability to learn new skills as well as from idiosyncratic shocks. Progressive taxation compresses the (after-tax) wage structure, thereby distorting the incentives to accumulate human capital, in turn reducing the cross-sectional dispersion of (before-tax) wages. We find that these policies can account for half of the difference between the US and the CEU in overall wage inequality and 76% of the difference in inequality at the upper end (log 90-50 differential). When this economy experiences skill-biased technological change, progressivity also dampens the rise in wage dispersion over time. The model explains 41% of the difference in the total rise in inequality and 58% of the difference at the upper end.
Keyword: Human capital, Progressive taxation, Labour income tax, Ben-Porath, Skillbiased technical change, and Wage inequality Subject (JEL): E62 - Fiscal Policy and E24 - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
Creator: Bridgman, Benjamin, Qi, Shi, and Schmitz, James Andrew Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 437 Abstract:
We study the U.S. sugar manufacturing cartel that was created during the New Deal. This was a legal-cartel that lasted 40 years (1934-74). As a legal-cartel, the industry was assured widespread adherence to domestic and import sales quotas (given it had access to government enforcement powers). But it also meant accepting government-sponsored cartel-provisions. These provisions significantly distorted production at each factory and also where the industry was located. These distortions were reflected in, for example, a declining industry recovery rate, that is, the pounds of white sugar produced per ton of beets. It declined from about 310 pounds in 1934 to 240 pounds in 1974. The cartel provisions also distorted the location of industry. For example, it kept production in California and the Far West. Since the cartel ended in 1974, California's share of sugar production has dropped dramatically.
Creator: Heathcote, Jonathan, Perri, Fabrizio, and Violante, Giovanni L. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 436 Abstract:
We conduct a systematic empirical study of cross-sectional inequality in the United States, integrating data from the Current Population Survey, the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, the Consumer Expenditure Survey, and the Survey of Consumer Finances. In order to understand how different dimensions of inequality are related via choices, markets, and institutions, we follow the mapping suggested by the household budget constraint from individual wages to individual earnings, to household earnings, to disposable income, and, ultimately, to consumption and wealth. We document a continuous and sizable increase in wage inequality over the sample period. Changes in the distribution of hours worked sharpen the rise in earnings inequality before 1982, but mitigate its increase thereafter. Taxes and transfers compress the level of income inequality, especially at the bottom of the distribution, but have little effect on the overall trend. Finally, access to financial markets has limited both the level and growth of consumption inequality.
Keyword: Consumption, income, and wealth inequality, Wage dynamics, and Inequality over the life cycle Subject (JEL): H31 - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents: Household, D31 - Personal Income, Wealth, and Their Distributions, J31 - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials, and E24 - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
Creator: Guvenen, Fatih Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 434 Abstract:
I study asset prices in a two-agent macroeconomic model with two key features: limited stock market participation and heterogeneity in the elasticity of intertemporal substitution in consumption (EIS). The model is consistent with some prominent features of asset prices, such as a high equity premium; relatively smooth interest rates; procyclical stock prices; and countercyclical variation in the equity premium, its volatility, and in the Sharpe ratio. In this model, the risk-free asset market plays a central role by allowing non-stockholders (with low EIS) to smooth the fluctuations in their labor income. This process concentrates non-stockholders’ labor income risk among a small group of stockholders, who then demand a high premium for bearing the aggregate equity risk. Furthermore, this mechanism is consistent with the very small share of aggregate wealth held by non-stockholders in the US data, which has proved problematic for previous models with limited participation. I show that this large wealth inequality is also important for the model’s ability to generate a countercyclical equity premium. When it comes to business cycle performance the model’s progress has been more limited: consumption is still too volatile compared to the data, whereas investment is still too smooth. These are important areas for potential improvement in this framework.
Keyword: Epstein–Zin preferences, Elasticity of intertemporal substitution, Wealth inequality, Equity premium puzzle, and Limited stock market participation
Creator: Fuentes-Albero, Cristina, 1980-, Kryshko, Maxym, Ríos-Rull, José-Víctor, Santaeulalia-Llopis, Raul, and Schorfheide, Frank Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 433 Abstract:
In this paper, we employ both calibration and modern (Bayesian) estimation methods to assess the role of neutral and investment-specific technology shocks in generating fluctuations in hours. Using a neoclassical stochastic growth model, we show how answers are shaped by the identification strategies and not by the statistical approaches. The crucial parameter is the labor supply elasticity. Both a calibration procedure that uses modern assessments of the Frisch elasticity and the estimation procedures result in technology shocks accounting for 2% to 9% of the variation in hours worked in the data. We infer that we should be talking more about identification and less about the choice of particular quantitative approaches.
Creator: Heathcote, Jonathan, Storesletten, Kjetil, and Violante, Giovanni L. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 432 Abstract:
This paper develops a model with partial insurance against idiosyncratic wage shocks to quantify risk sharing, and to decompose inequality into life-cycle shocks versus initial heterogeneity in preferences and productivity. Closed-form solutions are obtained for equilibrium allocations and for moments of the joint distribution of consumption, hours, and wages. We prove identification and estimate the model with data from the CEX and the PSID over the period 1967–2006. We find that (i) 40% of permanent wage shocks pass through to consumption; (ii) the share of wage risk insured privately increased until the early 1980s and remained stable thereafter; (iii) life-cycle productivity shocks account for half of the cross-sectional variance of wages and earnings, but for much less of dispersion in consumption or hours worked.
Subject (JEL): E52 - Monetary Policy, E31 - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation, E23 - Macroeconomics: Production, and E21 - Macroeconomics: Consumption; Saving; Wealth
Creator: Ordonez, Guillermo Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 431 Abstract:
Concerns about constructing and maintaining good reputations are known to reduce borrowers’ excessive risk-taking. However, I find that the self-discipline induced by these concerns is fragile, and can break down without obvious changes in economic fundamentals. Furthermore, in the aggregate, breakdowns are clustered among borrowers with intermediate and good reputations, which can exacerbate an economy’s weakness and contribute to a broad economic crisis. These results come from an aggregate dynamic global game analysis of reputation formation in credit markets. The selection of a unique equilibrium is accomplished by assuming that borrowers have incomplete information about economic fundamentals.
Keyword: Risk-taking, Global games, Fragility, and Reputation Subject (JEL): G32 - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill, D82 - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design, E44 - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy, and G01 - Financial Crises
Creator: Backus, David, Gregory, Alan, and Zin, Stanley E. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 429 Abstract:
We compare the statistical properties of prices of U.S. treasury bills to those generated by a theoretical dynamic exchange economy with complete markets. We show that the model can account for neither the sign nor the magnitude of average risk premiums in forward prices and holding-period returns. The economy is also incapable of generating enough variation in risk premiums to account for rejections of the expectations hypothesis with treasury bill data. These conclusions add to the growing list of empirical deficiencies of the representative agent model of asset pricing.
Keyword: Expectations hypothesis, Forward prices, Holding-period returns, and Autoregressive heteroskedasticity Subject (JEL): G12 - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates and C61 - Optimization Techniques; Programming Models; Dynamic Analysis
Creator: Ordonez, Guillermo Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 429 Abstract:
It is well known that movements in lending rates are asymmetric; they rise quickly and sharply, but fall slowly and gradually. Not known is the fact that the asymmetry is stronger the less developed a country’s financial system is. This new fact is here documented and explained in a model with an endogenous flow of information about economic conditions. The stronger asymmetry in less developed countries stems from their greater financial system frictions, such as monitoring and bankruptcy costs, which first magnify jumps of lending rates and then delay their recoveries by restricting the generation of information after the crisis. A quantitative exploration of the model shows the data are consistent with this explanation.
Creator: Lagakos, David P. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 428 Abstract:
I document that cross-country productivity differences in retail trade, which employs around 20% of workers, are accounted for in large part by compositional differences. In richer countries, most retailing is done in modern stores, with high measured output per worker, whereas in developing countries, retail trade is dominated by less-productive traditional stores. I hypothesize that developing countries rationally adopt few modern stores since car ownership rates are low. A simple quantitative model of home production supports the role of cars in determining the composition of retail technologies used and retail-sector productivity differences across countries.
Keyword: Productivity differences, Retail trade, and Technology adoption Subject (JEL): O47 - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence, O11 - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development, L81 - Retail and Wholesale Trade; e-Commerce, and O33 - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
Creator: Guvenen, Fatih and Kuruscu, Burhanettin Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 427 Abstract:
In this paper, we construct a parsimonious overlapping-generations model of human capital accumulation and study its quantitative implications for the evolution of the U.S. wage distribution from 1970 to 2000. A key feature of the model is that individuals differ in their ability to accumulate human capital, which is the main source of wage inequality in this model. We examine the response of this model to skill-biased technical change (SBTC), which is modeled as an increase in the trend growth rate of the price of human capital starting in the early 1970s. The model displays behavior that is consistent with several important trends observed in the US data, including the rise in overall wage inequality; the fall and subsequent rise in the college premium, as well as the fact that this behavior was most pronounced for younger workers; the rise in within-group inequality; the stagnation in median wage growth; and the small rise in consumption inequality despite the large rise in wage inequality. We consider different scenarios regarding how individuals’ expectations evolve during SBTC. Specifically, we study the case where individuals immediately realize the advent of SBTC (perfect foresight), and the case where they initially underestimate the future growth of the price of human capital (pessimistic priors), but learn the truth in a Bayesian fashion over time. Lack of perfect foresight appears to have little effect on the main results of the paper. Overall, the model shows promise for explaining a diverse set of wage distribution trends observed since the 1970s in a unifying human capital framework.
Subject (JEL): E21 - Macroeconomics: Consumption; Saving; Wealth, E25 - Aggregate Factor Income Distribution, J24 - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity, and J31 - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
Creator: Guler, Bulent, Guvenen, Fatih, and Violante, Giovanni L. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 426 Abstract:
Search theory routinely assumes that decisions about the acceptance/rejection of job offers (and, hence, about labor market movements between jobs or across employment states) are made by individuals acting in isolation. In reality, the vast majority of workers are somewhat tied to their partners—in couples and families—and decisions are made jointly. This paper studies, from a theoretical viewpoint, the joint job-search and location problem of a household formed by a couple (e.g., husband and wife) who perfectly pools income. The objective of the exercise, very much in the spirit of standard search theory, is to characterize the reservation wage behavior of the couple and compare it to the single-agent search model in order to understand the ramifications of partnerships for individual labor market outcomes and wage dynamics. We focus on two main cases. First, when couples are risk averse and pool income, joint search yields new opportunities—similar to on-the-job search—relative to the single-agent search. Second, when the two spouses in a couple face job offers from multiple locations and a cost of living apart, joint search features new frictions and can lead to significantly worse outcomes than single-agent search.
Subject (JEL): J61 - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers, J64 - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search, and E24 - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
Creator: Aiyagari, S. Rao Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 424 Keyword: Deficit, Tax policy, Federal government, Taxation, Tax, Tax rates, Taxes , and Budget management Subject (JEL): H21 - Taxation and Subsidies: Efficiency; Optimal Taxation and H62 - National Deficit; Surplus
Creator: Piazzesi, Monika and Schneider, Martin Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 424 Abstract:
Common statistical measures of bond risk premia are volatile and countercyclical. This paper uses survey data on interest rate forecasts to construct subjective bond risk premia. Subjective premia are less volatile and not very cyclical; instead they are high, only around the early 1980s. The reason for the discrepancy is that survey forecasts of interest rates are made as if both the level and the slope of the yield curve are more persistent than under common statistical models. The paper then proposes a consumption based asset pricing model with learning to explain jointly the difference between survey and statistical forecasts, and the evolution of subjective premia. Adaptive learning gives rise to inertia in forecasts, as well as changes in conditional volatility that help understand both features.
This paper is an extension of Monika Piazzesi's and Martin Schneider's work while they were in the Research Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
Keyword: Asset pricing, Risk premia, and Bond premia Subject (JEL): E50 - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit: General, E40 - Money and Interest Rates: General, and G10 - General Financial Markets: General (includes Measurement and Data)
Creator: Piazzesi, Monika and Schneider, Martin Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 423 Abstract:
In the 1970s, U.S. asset markets witnessed (i) a 25% dip in the ratio of aggregate household wealth relative to GDP and (ii) negative comovement of house and stock prices that drove a 20% portfolio shift out of equity into real estate. This study uses an overlapping generations model with uninsurable nominal risk to quantify the role of structural change in these events. We attribute the dip in wealth to the entry of baby boomers into asset markets, and to the erosion of bond portfolios by surprise inflation, both of which lowered the overall propensity to save. We also show that the Great Inflation led to a portfolio shift by making housing more attractive than equity. Apart from tax effects, a new channel is that disagreement about inflation across age groups drives up collateral prices when credit is nominal.
This paper is an extension of Monika Piazzesi's and Martin Schneider's work while they were in the Research Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
Creator: Fernández de Córdoba, Gonzalo, 1966- and Kehoe, Timothy Jerome, 1953- Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 421 Abstract:
Studying the experience of countries that have experienced great depressions during the twentieth century teaches us that massive public interventions in the economy to maintain employment and investment during a financial crisis can, if they distort incentives enough, lead to a great depression.
Creator: Heathcote, Jonathan, Storesletten, Kjetil, and Violante, Giovanni L. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 420 Abstract:
Macroeconomics is evolving from the study of aggregate dynamics to the study of the dynamics of the entire equilibrium distribution of allocations across individual economic actors. This article reviews the quantitative macroeconomic literature that focuses on household heterogeneity, with a special emphasis on the “standard” incomplete markets model. We organize the vast literature according to three themes that are central to understanding how inequality matters for macroeconomics. First, what are the most important sources of individual risk and cross-sectional heterogeneity? Second, what are individuals’ key channels of insurance? Third, how does idiosyncratic risk interact with aggregate risk?
Subject (JEL): E20 - Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy: General (includes Measurement and Data) and J22 - Time Allocation and Labor Supply