Creator: Kleiner, Morris and Soltas, Evan J. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 590 Abstract:
We assess the welfare consequences of occupational licensing for workers and consumers. We estimate a model of labor market equilibrium in which licensing restricts labor supply but also affects labor demand via worker quality and selection. On the margin of occupations licensed differently between U.S. states, we find that licensing raises wages and hours but reduces employment. We estimate an average welfare loss of 12 percent of occupational surplus. Workers and consumers respectively bear 70 and 30 percent of the incidence. Higher willingness to pay offsets 80 percent of higher prices for consumers, and higher wages compensate workers for 60 percent of the cost of mandated investment in occupation-specific human capital.
Keyword: Labor supply, Human capital, Occupational licensing, and Welfare analysis Subject (JEL): D61 - Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis, J38 - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs: Public Policy, J44 - Professional Labor Markets; Occupational Licensing, J24 - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity, and K31 - Labor Law
Creator: Chen, Daphne, Guvenen, Fatih, Kambourov, Gueorgui, Kuruscu, Burhanettin, and Ocampo, Sergio Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 764 Abstract:
How does wealth taxation differ from capital income taxation? When the return on investment is equal across individuals, a well-known result is that the two tax systems are equivalent. Motivated by recent empirical evidence documenting persistent heterogeneity in rates of return across individuals, we revisit this question. With such heterogeneity, the two tax systems have opposite implications for both efficiency and inequality. Under capital income taxation, entrepreneurs who are more productive, and therefore generate more income, pay higher taxes. Under wealth taxation, entrepreneurs who have similar wealth levels pay similar taxes regardless of their productivity, which expands the tax base, shifts the tax burden toward unproductive entrepreneurs, and raises the savings rate of productive ones. This reallocation increases aggregate productivity and output. In the simulated model parameterized to match the US data, replacing the capital income tax with a wealth tax in a revenue-neutral fashion delivers a significantly higher average lifetime utility to a newborn (about 7.5% in consumption-equivalent terms). Turning to optimal taxation, the optimal wealth tax (OWT) in a stationary equilibrium is positive and yields even larger welfare gains. In contrast, the optimal capital income tax (OCIT) is negative—a subsidy—and large, and it delivers lower welfare gains than the wealth tax. Furthermore, the subsidy policy increases consumption inequality, whereas the wealth tax reduces it slightly. We also consider an extension that models the transition path and find that individuals who are alive at the time of the policy change, on average, would incur large welfare losses if the new policy is OCIT but would experience large welfare gains if the new policy is an OWT. We conclude that wealth taxation has the potential to raise productivity while simultaneously reducing consumption inequality.
Keyword: Capital income tax, Wealth taxation, Wealth inequality, Power law models, and Rate of return heterogeneity Subject (JEL): E21 - Macroeconomics: Consumption; Saving; Wealth, H21 - Taxation and Subsidies: Efficiency; Optimal Taxation, E22 - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity, and E62 - Fiscal Policy
Creator: Arellano, Cristina, Bai, Yan, Bocola, Luigi, and test Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 547 Abstract:
This paper measures the output costs of sovereign risk by combining a sovereign debt model with firm- and bank-level data. In our framework, an increase in sovereign risk lowers the price of government debt and has an adverse impact on banks’ balance sheets, disrupting their ability to finance firms. Importantly, firms are not equally affected by these developments: those that have greater financing needs and borrow from banks that are more exposed to government debt cut their production the most in a debt crisis. We measure the extent of this heterogeneity using Italian data and parameterize the model to match these cross-sectional facts. In counterfactual analysis, we find that heightened sovereign risk was responsible for one-third of the observed output decline during the 2011-2012 crisis in Italy.
Keyword: Micro data, Sovereign debt crises, Firm heterogeneity, Financial intermediation, and Business cycles Subject (JEL): F34 - International Lending and Debt Problems, G15 - International Financial Markets, E44 - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy, and G12 - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
Creator: Koijen, Ralph S. J. and Yogo, Motohiro Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 510 Abstract:
We develop an asset pricing model with flexible heterogeneity in asset demand across investors, designed to match institutional and household holdings. A portfolio choice model implies characteristics-based demand when returns have a factor structure and expected returns and factor loadings depend on the assets' own characteristics. We propose an instrumental variables estimator for the characteristics-based demand system to address the endogeneity of demand and asset prices. Using U.S. stock market data, we illustrate how the model could be used to understand the role of institutions in asset market movements, volatility, and predictability.
Keyword: Institutional investors, Portfolio choice, Asset pricing model, Demand system, and Liquidity Subject (JEL): G23 - Pension Funds; Non-bank Financial Institutions; Financial Instruments; Institutional Investors and G12 - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
Creator: Arellano, Cristina, Mateos-Planas, Xavier, and Ríos-Rull, José-Víctor Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 589 Abstract:
In the data sovereign default is always partial and varies in its duration. Debt levels during default episodes initially increase and do not experience reductions upon resolution. This paper presents a theory of sovereign default that replicates these properties, which are absent in standard sovereign default theory. Partial default is a flexible way to raise funds as the sovereign chooses its intensity and duration. Partial default is also costly because it amplifies debt crises as the defaulted debt accumulates and interest rate spreads increase. This theory is capable of rationalizing the large heterogeneity in partial default, its comovements with spreads, debt levels, and output, and the dynamics of debt during default episodes. In our theory, as in the data, debt grows during default episodes, and large defaults are longer, and associated with higher interest rate spreads, higher debt levels, and deeper recessions.
Keyword: Debt crises, Emerging markets, Sovereign risk, and Debt restructuring Subject (JEL): F34 - International Lending and Debt Problems, H63 - National Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt, and G01 - Financial Crises
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: Firm size distribution, Slow recoveries, Business cycles, and Zipf's law Subject (JEL): E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles and L11 - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
Creator: Schlegl, Matthias, Trebesch, Christoph, and Wright, Mark L. J. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 759 Abstract:
Sovereign governments owe debt to many foreign creditors and can choose which creditors to favor when making payments. This paper documents the de facto seniority structure of sovereign debt using new data on defaults (missed payments or arrears) and creditor losses in debt restructuring (haircuts). We overturn conventional wisdom by showing that official bilateral (government-to-government) debt is junior, or at least not senior, to private sovereign debt such as bank loans and bonds. Private creditors are typically paid first and lose less than bilateral official creditors. We confirm that multilateral institutions like the IMF and World Bank are senior creditors.
Keyword: Sovereign default, IMF, International financial architecture, Pecking order, Insolvency, Official debt, Sovereign bonds, Arrears, and Priority Subject (JEL): G10 - General Financial Markets: General (includes Measurement and Data), F30 - International Finance: General, F50 - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy: General, and F40 - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance: General
Creator: Chari, V. V., Nicolini, Juan Pablo, and Teles, Pedro Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 581 Abstract:
We use the Ramsey and Mirrlees approaches to study how fiscal and trade policy should be set cooperatively when governments must raise revenues with distorting taxes. Free trade and unrestricted capital mobility are optimal. Efficient outcomes can be implemented with taxes only on final consumption goods and labor income. We study alternative tax systems, showing that uniform taxation of household asset returns, and not taxing corporate income yields efficient outcomes. Border adjustments exempting exports from and including imports in the tax base are desirable. Destination- and residence-based tax systems are desirable compared to origin- and source-based systems.
Keyword: Capital income tax, Border adjustment, Production efficiency, Value-added taxes, Origin- and destination-based taxation, and Free trade Subject (JEL): E62 - Fiscal Policy, E60 - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook: General, and E61 - Policy Objectives; Policy Designs and Consistency; Policy Coordination
Creator: Bhandari, Anmol and McGrattan, Ellen R. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 560 Abstract:
We develop a theory of sweat equity—which is the value of business owners’ time and expenses to build customer bases, client lists, and other intangible assets. We discipline the theory using data from U.S. national accounts and business census data and estimate a ratio of intangible to total assets in private business that is close to 60 percent, in line with evidence from broker data on business sales. We use our theory to evaluate the impact of lower private business and corporate tax rates and find much larger effects on private business than studies that ignore the fact that owners accumulate sweat capital. We also find large differences between our model’s distributional predictions and those of earlier studies.
Keyword: Business valuation and Intangibles Subject (JEL): E13 - General Aggregative Models: Neoclassical, H25 - Business Taxes and Subsidies including sales and value-added (VAT), and E22 - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity
Creator: Engbom, Niklas Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 756 Abstract:
I develop an idea flows theory of firm and worker dynamics in order to assess the consequences of population aging. Older people are less likely to attempt entrepreneurship and switch employers because they have found better jobs. Consequently, aging reduces entry and worker mobility through a composition effect. In equilibrium, the lower entry rate implies fewer new, better job opportunities for workers, while the better matched labor market dissuades job creation and entry. Aging accounts for a large share of substantial declines in firm and worker dynamics since the 1980s, primarily due to equilibrium forces. Cross-state evidence supports these predictions.
Keyword: Demographics, Entrpreneurial choice, Labor turnover, Economic growth, and Employment Subject (JEL): J11 - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts, E24 - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity, and O40 - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity: General
Creator: Asturias, Jose, Hur, Sewon, Kehoe, Timothy Jerome, 1953-, and Ruhl, Kim J. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 544 Abstract:
Applying the Foster, Haltiwanger, and Krizan (FHK) (2001) decomposition to plant-level manufacturing data from Chile and Korea, we find that the entry and exit of plants account for a larger fraction of aggregate productivity growth during periods of fast GDP growth. Studies of other countries confirm this empirical relationship. To analyze this relationship, we develop a simple model of firm entry and exit based on Hopenhayn (1992) in which there are analytical expressions for the FHK decomposition. When we introduce reforms that reduce entry costs or reduce barriers to technology adoption into a calibrated model, we find that the entry and exit terms in the FHK decomposition become more important as GDP grows rapidly, just as they do in the data from Chile and Korea.
Keyword: Productivity, Exit, Barriers to technology adoption, Entry, and Entry costs Subject (JEL): O38 - Technological Change: Government Policy, O47 - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence, O10 - Economic Development: General, and E22 - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity
Creator: Alvarez, Fernando, 1964- and Atkeson, Andrew Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 577 Abstract:
We develop a new general equilibrium model of asset pricing and asset trading volume in which agents’ motivations to trade arise due to uninsurable idiosyncratic shocks to agents’ risk tolerance. In response to these shocks, agents trade to rebalance their portfolios between risky and riskless assets. We study a positive question — When does trade volume become a pricing factor? — and a normative question — What is the impact of Tobin taxes on asset trading on welfare? In our model, economies in which marketwide risk tolerance is negatively correlated with trade volume have a higher risk premium for aggregate risk. Likewise, for a given economy, we ﬁnd that assets whose cash ﬂows are concentrated on states with high trading volume have higher prices and lower risk premia. We then show that Tobin taxes on asset trade have a ﬁrst-order negative impact on ex-ante welfare, i.e., a small subsidy to trade leads to an improvement in ex-ante welfare. Finally, we develop an alternative version of our model in which asset trade arises from uninsurable idiosyncratic shocks to agents’ hedging needs rather than shocks to their risk tolerance. We show that our positive results regarding the relationship between trade volume and asset prices carry through. In contrast, the normative implications of this speciﬁcation of our model for Tobin taxes or subsidies depend on the speciﬁcation of agents’ preferences and non-traded endowments.
Keyword: Asset pricing, Tobin taxes, Liquidity, and Trade volume Subject (JEL): G12 - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
Creator: Chari, V. V. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 576 Abstract:
This chapter is an introductory essay to the volume Climate Change Economics: The Role of Uncertainty and Risk, edited by V. V. Chari and Robert Litterman. This volume consists of a collection of papers that were presented at "The Next Generation of Economic Models of Climate Change," a conference hosted by the Heller-Hurwicz Economics Institute at the University of Minnesota.
Keyword: Externalities, Greenhouse gases, and Global warming Subject (JEL): G12 - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates and H41 - Public Goods
Creator: Ayres, João, Garcia, Márcio Gomes Pinto, Guillen, Diogo, and Kehoe, Patrick J. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 575 Abstract:
Brazil has had a long period of high inflation. It peaked around 100 percent per year in 1964, decreased until the first oil shock (1973), but accelerated again afterward, reaching levels above 100 percent on average between 1980 and 1994. This last period coincided with severe balance of payments problems and economic stagnation that followed the external debt crisis in the early 1980s. We show that the high-inflation period (1960-1994) was characterized by a combination of fiscal deficits, passive monetary policy, and constraints on debt financing. The transition to the low-inflation period (1995-2016) was characterized by improvements in all of these features, but it did not lead to significant improvements in economic growth. In addition, we document a strong positive correlation between inflation rates and seigniorage revenues, although inflation rates are relatively high for modest levels of seigniorage revenues. Finally, we discuss the role of the weak institutional framework surrounding the fiscal and monetary authorities and the role of monetary passiveness and inflation indexation in accounting for the unique features of inflation dynamics in Brazil.
Keyword: Stabilization plans, Brazil's hyperinflation, Debt accounting, Brazil's stagnation, and Fiscal deficit Subject (JEL): H63 - National Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt, E63 - Comparative or Joint Analysis of Fiscal and Monetary Policy; Stabilization; Treasury Policy, H62 - National Deficit; Surplus, and E42 - Monetary Systems; Standards; Regimes; Government and the Monetary System; Payment Systems
Creator: Hur, Sewon, Kondo, Illenin O., and Perri, Fabrizio Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 574 Abstract:
This paper argues that the comovement between inflation and economic activity is an important determinant of real interest rates over time and across countries. First, we show that for advanced economies, periods with more procyclical inflation are associated with lower real rates, but only when there is no risk of default on government debt. Second, we present a model of nominal sovereign debt with domestic risk-averse lenders. With procyclical inflation, nominal bonds pay out more in bad times, making them a good hedge against aggregate risk. In the absence of default risk, procyclical inflation yields lower real rates. However, procyclicality implies that the government needs to make larger (real) payments when the economy deteriorates, which could increase default risk and trigger an increase in real rates. The patterns of real rates predicted by the model are quantitatively consistent with those documented in the data.
Keyword: Inflation risk, Nominal bonds, Government debt, and Sovereign default Subject (JEL): H63 - National Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt, F34 - International Lending and Debt Problems, G12 - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates, and E31 - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
Creator: Atkeson, Andrew, Burstein, Ariel, and Chatzikonstantinou, Manolis Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 573 Abstract:
What quantitative lessons can we learn from models of endogenous technical change through innovative investments by firms for the impact of changes in the economic environment on the dynamics of aggregate productivity in the short, medium, and long run? We present a unifying model that nests a number of canonical models in the literature and characterize their positive implications for the transitional dynamics of aggregate productivity and their welfare implications in terms of two sufficient statistics. We review the current state of measurement of these two sufficient statistics and discuss the range of positive and normative quantitative implications of our model for a wide array of counterfactual experiments, including the link between a decline in the entry rate of new firms and a slowdown in the growth of aggregate productivity given that measurement. We conclude with a summary of the lessons learned from our analysis to help direct future research aimed at building models of endogenous productivity growth useful for quantitative analysis.
Keyword: Endogenous growth, Transitional dynamics, and Innovative investment Subject (JEL): O40 - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity: General and O30 - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights: 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: Lagos, Ricardo and Zhang, Shengxing Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 734 Abstract:
We provide empirical evidence of a novel liquidity-based transmission mechanism through which monetary policy influences asset markets, develop a model of this mechanism, and assess the ability of the quantitative theory to match the evidence.
Keyword: Liquidity, Monetary transmission, Monetary policy, and Asset prices Subject (JEL): G12 - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates, D83 - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness, and E52 - Monetary Policy
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: External validation, Financial frictions, and New Keynesian models Subject (JEL): E52 - Monetary Policy, E13 - General Aggregative Models: Neoclassical, E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles, and E61 - Policy Objectives; Policy Designs and Consistency; Policy Coordination
Creator: Atkeson, Andrew, Eisfeldt, Andrea L., Weill, Pierre-Olivier, and d'Avernas, Adrien Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 567 Abstract:
Banks' ratio of the market value to book value of their equity was close to 1 until the 1990s, then more than doubled during the 1996-2007 period, and fell again to values close to 1 after the 2008 financial crisis. Sarin and Summers (2016) and Chousakos and Gorton (2017) argue that the drop in banks' market-to-book ratio since the crisis is due to a loss in bank franchise value or profitability. In this paper we argue that banks' market-to-book ratio is the sum of two components: franchise value and the value of government guarantees. We empirically decompose the ratio between these two components and find that a large portion of the variation in this ratio over time is due to changes in the value of government guarantees.
Keyword: Bank regulation, Bank leverage, Bank valuation, Bank financial soundness, Risk shifting, and Banking Subject (JEL): G28 - Financial Institutions and Services: Government Policy and Regulation, G32 - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill, G38 - Corporate Finance and Governance: Government Policy and Regulation, E44 - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy, G21 - Banks; Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages, and H12 - Crisis Management
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: Amador, Manuel and Phelan, Christopher Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 564 Abstract:
This paper presents a continuous-time model of sovereign debt. In it, a relatively impatient sovereign government’s hidden type switches back and forth between a commitment type, which cannot default, and an optimizing type, which can default on the country’s debt at any time, and assume outside lenders have particular beliefs regarding how a commitment type should borrow for any given level of debt and bond price. We show that if these beliefs satisfy reasonable assumptions, in any Markov equilibrium, the optimizing type mimics the commitment type when borrowing, revealing its type only by defaulting on its debt at random times. Further, in such Markov equilibria (the solution to a simple pair of ordinary differential equations), there are positive gross issuances at all dates, constant net imports as long as there is a positive equilibrium probability that the government is the optimizing type, and net debt repayment only by the commitment type. For countries that have recently defaulted, the interest rate the country pays on its debt is a decreasing function of the amount of time since its last default, and its total debt is an increasing function of the amount of time since its last default. For countries that have not recently defaulted, interest rates are constant.
Keyword: Sovereign default, Learning, Debt intolerance, Serial defaulters, Sovereign debt, and Reputation Subject (JEL): F34 - International Lending and Debt Problems
Creator: Ohanian, Lee E., Restrepo-Echavarria, Paulina, and Wright, Mark L. J. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 563 Abstract:
After World War II, international capital flowed into slow-growing Latin America rather than fast-growing Asia. This is surprising as, everything else equal, fast growth should imply high capital returns. This paper develops a capital flow accounting framework to quantify the role of different factor market distortions in producing these patterns. Surprisingly, we find that distortions in labor markets — rather than domestic or international capital markets — account for the bulk of these flows. Labor market distortions that indirectly depress investment incentives by lowering equilibrium labor supply explain two-thirds of observed flows, while improvement in these distortions over time accounts for much of Asia’s rapid growth.
Keyword: Labor markets, International capital markets, Domestic capital markets, and Capital flows Subject (JEL): F41 - Open Economy Macroeconomics, J20 - Demand and Supply of Labor: General, E21 - Macroeconomics: Consumption; Saving; Wealth, and F21 - International Investment; Long-term Capital Movements
Creator: Guvenen, Fatih, Mataloni Jr., Raymond J., Rassier, Dylan G., and Ruhl, Kim J. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 751 Abstract:
Official statistics display a significant slowdown in U.S. aggregate productivity growth that begins in 2004. We show how offshore profit shifting by U.S. multinational enterprises affects GDP and, thus, productivity measurement. Under international statistical guidelines, profit shifting causes part of U.S. production generated by multinationals to be excluded from official measures of U.S. production. Profit shifting has increased significantly since the mid-1990s, resulting in lower measures of U.S. aggregate productivity growth. We construct an alternative measure of value added that adjusts for profit shifting. The adjustments raise aggregate productivity growth rates by 0.09 percent annually for 1994-2004, 0.24 percent annually for 2004-2008, and lowers annual aggregate productivity growth rates by 0.09 percent after 2008. Our adjustments mitigate, but do not eliminate, the measured productivity slowdown. The adjustments are especially large in R&D-intensive industries, which most likely produce intangible assets that facilitate profit shifting. The adjustments boost value added in these industries by as much as 8 percent in the mid-2000s.
Keyword: Formulary apportionment, Productivity slowdown, and Tax havens Subject (JEL): E01 - Measurement and Data on National Income and Product Accounts and Wealth; Environmental Accounts, F23 - Multinational Firms; International Business, and O40 - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity: General
Creator: Bloom, Nicholas, Guvenen, Fatih, Price, David J., Song, Jae, and von Wachter, Till Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 750 Abstract:
We use a massive, matched employer-employee database for the United States to analyze the contribution of firms to the rise in earnings inequality from 1978 to 2013. We ﬁnd that one-third of the rise in the variance of (log) earnings occurred within firms, whereas two-thirds of the rise occurred between firms. However, this rising between-firm variance is not accounted for by the firms themselves: the firm-related rise in the variance can be decomposed into two roughly equally important forces—a rise in the sorting of high-wage workers to high-wage firms and a rise in the segregation of similar workers between firms. In contrast, we do not ﬁnd a rise in the variance of firm-speciﬁc pay once we control for worker composition. Instead, we see a substantial rise in dispersion of person-speciﬁc pay, accounting for 68% of rising inequality, potentially due to rising returns to skill. The rise in between-firm variance, mostly due to worker sorting and segregation, accounted for a particularly large share of the total increase in inequality in smaller and medium firms (explaining 84% for firms with fewer than 10,000 employees). In contrast, in the very largest firms with 10,000+ employees, 42% of the increase in the variance of earnings took place within firms, driven by both declines in earnings for employees below the median and a substantial rise in earnings for the 10% best-paid employees. However, because of their small number, the contribution of the very top 50 or so earners at large firms to the overall increase in within-firm earnings inequality is small.
Keyword: Income inequality, Between-firm inequality, and Pay inequality Subject (JEL): J21 - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure, J31 - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials, and E23 - Macroeconomics: Production
Creator: Prescott, Edward C. and Wessel, Ryan Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 562 Abstract:
Businesses hold large quantities of cash reserves, which have average returns well below their investments in tangible capital. Businesses do this because these monetary assets provide services. One implication is that money services is a factor of production in capital theoretic valuation equilibrium models. Our aggregate production function is consistent with both the classical demand for money function relationship and with extended periods of near zero short-term nominal interest rates. In our model economy, there is a 100 percent reserve requirement on all demand deposits. Demand deposits are legal tender. We find (i) money services in the production function necessitates revisions in the national accounts; (ii) monetary and fiscal policy cannot be completely separated; (iii) for a given policy, equilibrium is either unique or does not exist; and (iv) Friedman’s monetary satiation is not optimal. We make quantitative comparisons between interest rate targeting regimes and between inflation rate targeting regimes. The best inflation rate target was 2 percent.
Keyword: Interest rate targeting, Inflation rate targeting, Zero lower bound, Friedman monetary satiation, 100 percent reserve banking, and Money in production function 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 E60 - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook: General
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: Slow recoveries, Firm size distribution, Zipf's law, and Business cycles Subject (JEL): E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles and L11 - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
Creator: Cavallo, Michele, Del Negro, Marco, Frame, W. Scott, Grasing, Jamie, Malin, Benjamin A., and Rosa, Carlo Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 747 Abstract:
The paper surveys the recent literature on the fiscal implications of central bank balance sheets, with a special focus on political economy issues. It then presents the results of simulations that describe the effects of different scenarios for the Federal Reserve's longer-run balance sheet on its earnings remittances to the U.S. Treasury and, more broadly, on the government's overall fiscal position. We find that reducing longer-run reserve balances from $2.3 trillion (roughly the current amount) to $1 trillion reduces the likelihood of posting a quarterly net loss in the future from 30 percent to under 5 percent. Further reducing longer-run reserve balances from $1 trillion to pre-crisis levels has little effect on the likelihood of net losses.
Keyword: Central bank balance sheets, Remittances, and Monetary policy Subject (JEL): E59 - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit: Other, E58 - Central Banks and Their Policies, and E69 - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook: Other
Creator: Johnson, Janna and Kleiner, Morris Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 561 Abstract:
Occupational licensure, one of the most significant labor market regulations in the United States, may restrict the interstate movement of workers. We analyze the interstate migration of 22 licensed occupations. Using an empirical strategy that controls for unobservable characteristics that drive long-distance moves, we find that the between-state migration rate for individuals in occupations with state-specific licensing exam requirements is 36 percent lower relative to members of other occupations. Members of licensed occupations with national licensing exams show no evidence of limited interstate migration. The size of this effect varies across occupations and appears to be tied to the state specificity of licensing requirements. We also provide evidence that the adoption of reciprocity agreements, which lower re-licensure costs, increases the interstate migration rate of lawyers. Based on our results, we estimate that the rise in occupational licensing can explain part of the documented decline in interstate migration and job transitions in the United States.
Keyword: Labor market regulation, Occupational licensing, and Interstate migration Subject (JEL): J01 - Labor Economics: General, J44 - Professional Labor Markets; Occupational Licensing, L38 - Public Policy, K00 - Law and Economics: General, and J10 - Demographic Economics: General
Creator: Han, Suyoun and Kleiner, Morris Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 556 Abstract:
The length of time from the implementation of an occupational licensing statute (i.e., licensing duration) may matter in influencing labor market outcomes. Adding to or raising the entry barriers are likely easier once an occupation is established and has gained influence in a political jurisdiction. States often enact grandfather clauses and ratchet up requirements that protect existing workers and increase entry costs to new entrants. We analyze the labor market influence of the duration of occupational licensing statutes for 13 major universally licensed occupations over a 75-year period. These occupations comprise the vast majority of workers in these regulated occupations in the United States. We provide among the first estimates of potential economic rents to grandfathering. We find that duration years of occupational licensure are positively associated with wages for continuing and grandfathered workers. The estimates show a positive relationship of duration with hours worked, but we find moderately negative results for participation in the labor market. The universally licensed occupations, however, exhibit heterogeneity in outcomes. Consequently, unlike some other labor market public policies, such as minimum wages or direct unemployment insurance benefits, occupational licensing would likely influence labor market outcomes when measured over a longer period of time.
Keyword: Workforce participation, Labor market regulation, Occupational licensing, Duration and grandfathering effects on wage determination, and Hours worked Subject (JEL): J44 - Professional Labor Markets; Occupational Licensing, L84 - Personal, Professional, and Business Services, J80 - Labor Standards: General, J30 - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs: General, L38 - Public Policy, K20 - Regulation and Business Law: General, K00 - Law and Economics: General, J88 - Labor Standards: Public Policy, J08 - Labor Economics Policies, J38 - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs: Public Policy, L51 - Economics of Regulation, L88 - Industry Studies: Services: Government Policy, and L12 - Monopoly; Monopolization Strategies
Creator: Bianchi, Javier and Bigio, Saki Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 503 Abstract:
We develop a new tractable model of banks' liquidity management and the credit channel of monetary policy. Banks finance loans by issuing demand deposits. Because loans are illiquid, deposit transfers across banks must be settled with reserves. Deposit withdrawals are random, and banks manage liquidity risk by holding a precautionary buffer of reserves. We show how different shocks affect the banking system by altering the trade-off between profiting from lending and incurring greater liquidity risk. Through various tools, monetary policy affects the real economy by altering that trade-off. In a quantitative application, we study the driving forces behind the decline in lending and liquidity hoarding by banks during the 2008 financial crisis. Our analysis underscores the importance of disruptions in interbank markets followed by a persistent decline in credit demand.
Keyword: Monetary policy, Capital requirements, Banks, and Liquidity Subject (JEL): E52 - Monetary Policy, E44 - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy, G10 - General Financial Markets: General (includes Measurement and Data), and E51 - Money Supply; Credit; Money Multipliers
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: Zero lower bound, Precautionary saving, Multiple equilibria, Business cycles, Aggregate demand, and Self-fulfilling crises Subject (JEL): E21 - Macroeconomics: Consumption; Saving; Wealth, E12 - General Aggregative Models: Keynes; Keynesian; Post-Keynesian, and E52 - Monetary Policy
Creator: Eggertsson, Gauti B., Mehrotra, Neil R., and Robbins, Jacob A. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 742 Abstract:
This paper formalizes and quantifies the secular stagnation hypothesis, defined as a persistently low or negative natural rate of interest leading to a chronically binding zero lower bound (ZLB). Output-inflation dynamics and policy prescriptions are fundamentally different from those in the standard New Keynesian framework. Using a 56-period quantitative life cycle model, a standard calibration to US data delivers a natural rate ranging from -1.5% to -2%, implying an elevated risk of ZLB episodes for the foreseeable future. We decompose the contribution of demographic and technological factors to the decline in interest rates since 1970 and quantify changes required to restore higher rates.
Keyword: Secular stagnation, Zero lower bound, and Monetary policy Subject (JEL): E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles, E31 - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation, and E52 - Monetary Policy
Creator: Crouzet, Nicolas and Mehrotra, Neil R. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 741 Abstract:
Drawing from confidential firm-level data of US manufacturing firms, we provide new evidence on the cyclicality of small and large firms. We show that the cyclicality of sales and investment declines with firm size. The effect is primarily driven by differences between the top 0.5% of firms and the rest. Moreover, we show that, due to the skewness of sales and investment, the higher cyclicality of small firms has a negligible influence on the behavior of aggregates. We argue that the size asymmetry is unlikely to be driven by financial frictions given 1) the absence of statistically significant differences in the behavior of production inputs or debt in recessions, 2) the survival of the size effect after directly controlling for proxies of financial strength, and 3) the predictions of a simple financial frictions model, in which unconstrained (large) firms contract more in recessions than constrained (small) firms.
Keyword: Financial accelerator, Firm size, and Business cycles Subject (JEL): E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles, G30 - Corporate Finance and Governance: General, and E23 - Macroeconomics: Production
Creator: Chari, V. V. and Christiano, Lawrence J. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 552 Abstract:
The ﬁnancialization view is that increased trading in commodity futures markets is associated with increases in the growth rate and volatility of commodity spot prices. This view gained credence be-cause in the 2000s trading volume increased sharply and many commodity prices rose and became more volatile. Using a large panel dataset we constructed, which includes commodities with and with-out futures markets, we ﬁnd no empirical link between increased futures market trading and changes in price behavior. Our data sheds light on the economic role of futures markets. The conventional view is that futures markets provide one-way insurance by allowing outsiders, traders with no direct interest in a commodity, to insure insiders, traders with a direct interest. The data are not consistent with the conventional view and we argue that they point to an alternative mutual insurance view, in which all participants insure each other. We formalize this view in a model and show that it is consistent with key features of the data.
Keyword: Futures market returns, Open interest, Spot price volatility, and Net financial flows Subject (JEL): E02 - Institutions and the Macroeconomy, G23 - Pension Funds; Non-bank Financial Institutions; Financial Instruments; Institutional Investors, and G12 - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
Creator: McGrattan, Ellen R. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 545 Abstract:
Because ﬁrms invest heavily in R&D, software, brands, and other intangible assets—at a rate close to that of tangible assets—changes in measured GDP, which does not include all intangible investments, understate the actual changes in total output. If changes in the labor input are more precisely measured, then it is possible to observe little change in measured total factor productivity (TFP) coincidentally with large changes in hours and investment. This mismeasurement leaves business cycle modelers with large and unexplained labor wedges accounting for most of the ﬂuctuations in aggregate data. To address this issue, I incorporate intangible investments into a multi-sector general equilibrium model and parameterize income and cost shares using data from an updated U.S. input and output table, with intangible investments reassigned from intermediate to ﬁnal uses. I employ maximum likelihood methods and quarterly observations on sectoral gross outputs for the United States over the period 1985–2014 to estimate processes for latent sectoral TFPs—that have common and sector-speciﬁc components. Aggregate hours are not used to estimate TFPs, but the model predicts changes in hours that compare well with the actual hours series and account for roughly two-thirds of its standard deviation. I ﬁnd that sector-speciﬁc shocks and industry linkages play an important role in accounting for ﬂuctuations and comovements in aggregate and industry-level U.S. data, and I ﬁnd that the model’s common component of TFP is not correlated at business cycle frequencies with the standard measures of aggregate TFP used in the macroeconomic literature.
Keyword: Total factor productivity, Business cycles, Input-output linkages, and Intangible investments Subject (JEL): D57 - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium: Input-Output Tables and Analysis, O41 - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models, and E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
Creator: Gopinath, Gita, 1971-, Kalemli-Özcan, Şebnem, Karabarbounis, Loukas, and Villegas-Sanchez, Carolina Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 728 Abstract:
Starting in the early 1990s, countries in southern Europe experienced low productivity growth alongside declining real interest rates. We use data for manufacturing ﬁrms in Spain between 1999 and 2012 to document a signiﬁcant increase in the dispersion of the return to capital across ﬁrms, a stable dispersion of the return to labor, and a signiﬁcant increase in productivity losses from capital misallocation over time. We develop a model with size-dependent ﬁnancial frictions that is consistent with important aspects of ﬁrms’ behavior in production and balance sheet data. We illustrate how the decline in the real interest rate, often attributed to the euro convergence process, leads to a signiﬁcant decline in sectoral total factor productivity as capital inﬂows are misallocated toward ﬁrms that have higher net worth but are not necessarily more productive. We show that similar trends in dispersion and productivity losses are observed in Italy and Portugal but not in Germany, France, and Norway.
Keyword: Misallocation, Productivity, Dispersion, Europe, and Capital flows Subject (JEL): F41 - Open Economy Macroeconomics, D24 - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity, O16 - Economic Development: Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance, O47 - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence, and E22 - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity
Creator: Heathcote, Jonathan, Storesletten, Kjetil, and Violante, Giovanni L. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 496 Abstract:
What shapes the optimal degree of progressivity of the tax and transfer system? On the one hand, a progressive tax system can counteract inequality in initial conditions and substitute for imperfect private insurance against idiosyncratic earnings risk. On the other hand, progressivity reduces incentives to work and to invest in skills, distortions that are especially costly when the government must finance public goods. We develop a tractable equilibrium model that features all of these trade-offs. The analytical expressions we derive for social welfare deliver a transparent understanding of how preference, technology, and market structure parameters influence the optimal degree of progressivity. A calibration for the U.S. economy indicates that endogenous skill investment, flexible labor supply, and the desire to finance government purchases play quantitatively similar roles in limiting optimal progressivity. In a version of the model where poverty constrains skill investment, optimal progressivity is close to the U.S. value. An empirical analysis on cross-country data offers support to the theory.
Keyword: Skill investment, Welfare, Income distribution, Cross-country evidence, Partial insurance, Tax progressivity, Labor supply, and Government expenditures Subject (JEL): E20 - Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy: General (includes Measurement and Data), D30 - Distribution: General, H40 - Publicly Provided Goods: General, J24 - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity, H20 - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue: General, and J22 - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
Creator: Kehoe, Patrick J., Midrigan, Virgiliu, and Pastorino, Elena Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 536 Abstract:
During the Great Recession, regions of the United States that experienced the largest declines in household debt also experienced the largest drops in consumption, employment, and wages. Employment declines were larger in the nontradable sector and for firms that were facing the worst credit conditions. Motivated by these findings, we develop a search and matching model with credit frictions that affect both consumers and firms. In the model, tighter debt constraints raise the cost of investing in new job vacancies and thus reduce worker job finding rates and employment. Two key features of our model, on-the-job human capital accumulation and consumer-side credit frictions, are critical to generating sizable drops in employment. On-the-job human capital accumulation makes the flows of benefits from posting vacancies long-lived and so greatly amplifies the sensitivity of such investments to credit frictions. Consumer-side credit frictions further magnify these effects by leading wages to fall only modestly. We show that the model reproduces well the salient cross-regional features of the U.S. data during the Great Recession.
Keyword: Human capital, Employment, Debt constraints, and Search and matching Subject (JEL): J64 - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search, E21 - Macroeconomics: Consumption; Saving; Wealth, J21 - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure, E24 - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity, and E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
Creator: Brinca, Pedro, Chari, V. V., Kehoe, Patrick J., and McGrattan, Ellen R. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 531 Abstract:
We elaborate on the business cycle accounting method proposed by Chari, Kehoe, and McGrattan (2007), clear up some misconceptions about the method, and then apply it to compare the Great Recession across OECD countries as well as to the recessions of the 1980s in these countries. We have four main findings. First, with the notable exception of the United States, Spain, Ireland, and Iceland, the Great Recession was driven primarily by the efficiency wedge. Second, in the Great Recession, the labor wedge plays a dominant role only in the United States, and the investment wedge plays a dominant role in Spain, Ireland, and Iceland. Third, in the recessions of the 1980s, the labor wedge played a dominant role only in France, the United Kingdom, Belgium, and New Zealand. Finally, overall in the Great Recession the efficiency wedge played a more important role and the investment wedge played a less important role than they did in the recessions of the 1980s.
Keyword: Great Recession, 1982 recession, and Business cycle accounting Subject (JEL): E60 - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook: General, G33 - Bankruptcy; Liquidation, G28 - Financial Institutions and Services: Government Policy and Regulation, and E61 - Policy Objectives; Policy Designs and Consistency; Policy Coordination
Creator: Schulhofer-Wohl, Sam Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 707 Abstract:
A standard approach to estimating structural parameters in life-cycle models imposes sufficient assumptions on the data to identify the "age profile" of outcomes, then chooses model parameters so that the model's age profile matches this empirical age profile. I show that this approach is both incorrect and unnecessary: incorrect, because it generally produces inconsistent estimators of the structural parameters, and unnecessary, because consistent estimators can be obtained under weaker assumptions. I derive an estimation method that avoids the problems of the standard approach. I illustrate the method's benefits analytically in a simple model of consumption inequality and numerically by reestimating the classic life-cycle consumption model of Gourinchas and Parker (2002).
Keyword: Age-time-cohort identification problem and Life-cycle models Subject (JEL): J10 - Demographic Economics: General, D91 - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics: Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making, and C23 - Single Equation Models; Single Variables: Panel Data Models; Spatio-temporal Models
Creator: Krueger, Dirk, Mitman, Kurt, and Perri, Fabrizio Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 529 Abstract:
The goal of this chapter is to study how, and by how much, household income, wealth, and preference heterogeneity amplify and propagate a macroeconomic shock. We focus on the U.S. Great Recession of 2007-2009 and proceed in two steps. First, using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, we document the patterns of household income, consumption and wealth inequality before and during the Great Recession. We then investigate how households in different segments of the wealth distribution were affected by income declines, and how they changed their expenditures differentially during the aggregate downturn. Motivated by this evidence, we study several variants of a standard heterogeneous household model with aggregate shocks and an endogenous cross-sectional wealth distribution. Our key finding is that wealth inequality can significantly amplify the impact of an aggregate shock, and it does so if the distribution features a sufficiently large fraction of households with very little net worth that sharply increase their saving (i.e. they are not hand-to mouth) as the recession hits. We document that both these features are observed in the PSID. We also investigate the role that social insurance policies, such as unemployment insurance, play in shaping the cross-sectional income and wealth distribution, and through it, the dynamics of business cycles.
Keyword: Recessions, Social Insurance, and Wealth Inequality Subject (JEL): J65 - Unemployment Insurance; Severance Pay; Plant Closings, E21 - Macroeconomics: Consumption; Saving; Wealth, and E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
Creator: Prescott, Edward C. and Wessel, Ryan Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 530 Abstract:
We explore monetary policy in a world without currency. In our world, money is a form of government debt that bears interest, which can be negative as well as positive. Services of money are a factor of production. We show that the national accounts must be revised in this world. Using our baseline economy, we determine the balanced growth paths for a set of money interest rate target policy regimes. Besides this interest rate, the only policy variable that differs across regimes is either the labor income tax rate or the inflation rate. We find that Friedman monetary satiation without deflation is possible. We also examine a set of inflation rate targeting regimes. Here, the only other policy variable that differs across policy regimes is the tax rate. There is a sequence of markets with outcome in each market being a Debreu valuation equilibrium, which determines the vector of assets and liabilities households take into the subsequent period. Evaluating a policy regime is an advanced exercise in public finance. Monetary satiation is not optimal even though money is costless to produce. A preliminary version of this paper circulated under the title “Monetary Policy with 100 Percent Reserve Banking: An Exploration.”
Keyword: Interest rate targeting, Inflation rate targeting, Friedman monetary satiation, 100 percent reserve banking, and Money in production function 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 E60 - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook: General
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: Bianchi, Javier Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 730 Abstract:
We develop a quantitative equilibrium model of financial crises to assess the interaction between ex-post interventions in credit markets and the buildup of risk ex ante. During a systemic crisis, bailouts relax balance sheet constraints and mitigate the severity of the recession. Ex ante, the anticipation of such bailouts leads to an increase in risk-taking, making the economy more vulnerable to a financial crisis. We find that moral hazard effects are limited if bailouts are systemic and broad-based. If bailouts are idiosyncratic and targeted, however, this makes the economy significantly more exposed to financial crises.
Keyword: Credit crunch, Macroprudential policy, Moral hazard, and Financial shocks Subject (JEL): E44 - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy, G18 - General Financial Markets: Government Policy and Regulation, E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles, and F40 - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance: General
Creator: Koijen, Ralph S. J., Nieuwerburgh, Stijn van, and Yogo, Motohiro Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 499 Abstract:
We develop a pair of risk measures, health and mortality delta, for the universe of life and health insurance products. A life-cycle model of insurance choice simplifies to replicating the optimal health and mortality delta through a portfolio of insurance products. We estimate the model to explain the observed variation in health and mortality delta implied by the ownership of life insurance, annuities including private pensions, and long-term care insurance in the Health and Retirement Study. For the median household aged 51 to 57, the lifetime welfare cost of market incompleteness and suboptimal choice is 3.2% of total wealth.
Keyword: Portfolio choice, Life insurance, Life-cycle model, Health insurance, and Annuities Subject (JEL): I13 - Health Insurance, Public and Private, D14 - Household Saving; Personal Finance, D91 - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics: Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making, and G11 - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
Creator: Bridgman, Benjamin, Qi, Shi, and Schmitz, James Andrew Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 519 Abstract:
The idea that cartels might reduce industry productivity by misallocating production from high to low productivity producers is as old as Adam. However, the study of the economic consequences of cartels has almost exclusively focused on the losses from higher prices (i.e., Harberger triangles). Yet, as the old idea suggests, we show that the rules for quotas and side payments in the New Deal sugar cartel led to significant misallocation of production. The resulting productivity declines essentially destroyed the entire cartel profit. The magnitude of the deadweight losses (relative to value added) was large: we estimate a lower bound for the losses equal to 25 percent and 42 percent in the beet and cane industries, respectively.
Keyword: Cartels, Quota, and Monopoly Subject (JEL): L00 - Industrial Organization: General, L60 - Industry Studies: Manufacturing: General, and L43 - Legal Monopolies and Regulation or Deregulation
Creator: Kaplan, Greg and Schulhofer-Wohl, Sam Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 697 Abstract:
We analyze the secular decline in interstate migration in the United States between 1991 and 2011. Gross flows of people across states are about 10 times larger than net flows, yet have declined by around 50 percent over the past 20 years. We argue that the fall in migration is due to a decline in the geographic specificity of returns to occupations, together with an increase in workers’ ability to learn about other locations before moving there, through information technology and inexpensive travel. These explanations find support in micro data on the distribution of earnings and occupations across space and on rates of repeat migration. Other explanations, including compositional changes, regional changes, and the rise in real incomes, do not fit the data. We develop a model to formalize the geographic-specificity and information mechanisms and show that a calibrated version is consistent with cross-sectional and time-series patterns of migration, occupations, and incomes. Our mechanisms can explain at least one-third and possibly all of the decline in gross migration since 1991.
Keyword: Gross flows, Labor mobility, Information technology, Learning, and Interstate migration Subject (JEL): R12 - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity, J24 - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity, J11 - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts, J61 - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers, R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics: Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population; Neighborhood Characteristics, and D83 - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness