Creator: Cubeddu, Luis M. and Ríos-Rull, José-Víctor Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 235 Abstract:
Between the sixties and the late eighties the percentages of low-saving single-parent households and people living alone have grown dramatically at the expense of high-saving married households, while the household saving rate has declined equally dramatically. A preliminary analysis of population composition and savings by household type seems to indicate that about half of the decline in savings is due to demographic change. We construct a model with agents changing marital status, but where the saving behavior of the households can adjust to the properties of the demographic process. We find that the demographic changes that reduce the number of married households (mainly higher divorce and higher illegitimacy) induce all household types to save more and that the effect on the aggregate saving rate is minuscule. We conclude that the drop in savings since the sixties is not due to changes in household composition.
Creator: Boldrin, Michele and Levine, David K. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 339 Abstract:
In the modern theory of growth, monopoly plays a crucial role both as a cause and an effect of innovation. Innovative firms, it is argued, would have insufficient incentive to innovate should the prospect of monopoly power not be present. This theme of monopoly runs throughout the theory of growth, international trade, and industrial organization. We argue that monopoly is neither needed for, nor a necessary consequence of, innovation. In particular, intellectual property is not necessary for, and may hurt more than help, innovation and growth. We argue that, as a practical matter, it is more likely to hurt.
Keyword: Intellectual Property, Growth, Innovation, Capital Accumulation, and Trade Subject (JEL): O34 - Intellectual Property and Intellectual Capital, L43 - Legal Monopolies and Regulation or Deregulation, O31 - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives, O47 - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence, L11 - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms, and F11 - Neoclassical Models of Trade
Creator: He, Hui and Liu, Zheng Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 644 Abstract:
Wage inequality between education groups in the United States has increased substantially since the early 1980s. The relative number of college-educated workers has also increased dramatically in the postwar period. This paper presents a unified framework where the dynamics of both skill accumulation and wage inequality arise as an equilibrium outcome driven by measured investment-specific technological change. Working through equipment-skill complementarity and endogenous skill accumulation, the model does well in capturing the steady growth in the relative quantity of skilled labor during the postwar period and the substantial rise in wage inequality after the early 1980s. Based on the calibrated model, we examine the quantitative effects of some hypothetical tax-policy reforms on skill accumulation, wage inequality, and welfare.
Keyword: Skill premium, Capital-skill complementarity, Investment-specific technological change, and Skill accumulation Subject (JEL): E25 - Aggregate Factor Income Distribution, J24 - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity, O33 - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes, and J31 - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
Creator: Arce, Fernando, Bengui, Julien, and Bianchi, Javier Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 761 Abstract:
This paper proposes a theory of foreign reserves as macroprudential policy. We study an open economy model of financial crises, in which pecuniary externalities lead to over-borrowing, and show that by accumulating international reserves, the government can achieve the constrained-efficient allocation. The optimal reserve accumulation policy leans against the wind and significantly reduces the exposure to financial crises. The theory is consistent with the joint dynamics of private and official capital flows, both over time and in the cross section, and can quantitatively account for the recent upward trend in international reserves.
Keyword: Macroprudential policy, Financial crises, and International reserves Subject (JEL): E00 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics: General, F00 - International Economics: General, and G00 - Financial Economics: General
Creator: Luttmer, Erzo G. J. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 657 Abstract:
Given a common technology for replicating blueprints, high-quality blueprints will be replicated more quickly than low-quality blueprints. If quality begets quality, and firms are identified with collections of blueprints derived from the same initial blueprint, then, along a balanced growth path, Gibrat’s Law holds for every type of firm. A firm size distribution with the thick right tail observed in the data can then arise only when the number of blueprints in the economy grows over time, or else firms cannot grow at a positive rate on average. But when calibrated to match the observed firm entry rate and the right tail of the size distribution, this model implies that the median age among firms with more than 10,000 employees is about 750 years. The problem is Gibrat’s Law. If the relative quality of a firm’s blueprints depreciates as the firm ages, then the firm’s growth rate slows down over time. By allowing for rapid and noisy initial growth, this version of the model can explain high observed entry rates, a thick-tailed size distribution, and the relatively young age of large U.S. corporations.
Keyword: Gibrat's Law, Firm age and size distribution, and Capital accumulation Subject (JEL): O40 - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity: General and L11 - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
Creator: Chari, V. V., Nicolini, Juan Pablo, and Teles, Pedro Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 752 Abstract:
We revisit the question of how capital should be taxed, arguing that if governments are allowed to use the kinds of tax instruments widely used in practice, for preferences that are standard in the macroeconomic literature, the optimal approach is to never distort capital accumulation. We show that the results in the literature that lead to the presumption that capital ought to be taxed for some time arise because of the initial confiscation of wealth and because the tax system is restricted.
Keyword: Long run, Uniform taxation, and Capital income tax Subject (JEL): E61 - Policy Objectives; Policy Designs and Consistency; Policy Coordination, E60 - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook: General, and E62 - Fiscal Policy
Creator: Atkeson, Andrew and Kehoe, Patrick J. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 291 Abstract:
Manufacturing plants have a clear life cycle: they are born small, grow substantially as they age, and eventually die. Economists have long thought that this life cycle is driven by the accumulation of plant-specific knowledge, here called organization capital. Theory suggests that where plants are in the life cycle determines the size of the payments, or dividends, plant owners receive from organization capital. These payments are compensation for the interest cost to plant owners of waiting for their plants to grow. We build a quantitative growth model of the life cycle of plants and use it, along with U.S. data, to infer the overall size of these payments. They turn out to be quite large—more than one-third the size of the payments plant owners receive from physical capital, net of new investment, and more than 40% of payments from all forms of intangible capital.
Subject (JEL): E22 - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity, E13 - General Aggregative Models: Neoclassical, E25 - Aggregate Factor Income Distribution, and B41 - Economic Methodology
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: Zipf's law, Firm size distribution, Slow recoveries, and Business cycles Subject (JEL): L11 - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms and E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
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: Firm size distribution, Slow recoveries, Zipf's law, and Business cycles Subject (JEL): E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles and L11 - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
Creator: Arellano, Cristina, Bai, Yan, and Mihalache, Gabriel Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 555 Abstract:
Sovereign debt crises are associated with large and persistent declines in economic activity, disproportionately so for nontradable sectors. This paper documents this pattern using Spanish data and builds a two-sector dynamic quantitative model of sovereign default with capital accumulation. Recessions are very persistent in the model and more pronounced for nontraded sectors because of default risk. An adverse domestic shock increases the likelihood of default, limits capital inﬂows, and thus restricts the ability of the economy to exploit investment opportunities. The economy responds by reducing investment and reallocating capital toward the traded sector to support debt service payments. The real exchange rate depreciates, a reﬂection of the scarcity of traded goods. We ﬁnd that these mechanisms are quantitatively important for rationalizing the experience of Spain during the recent debt crisis.
Keyword: Real exchange rate, Capital accumulation, European debt crisis, Sovereign default with production economy, and Traded and nontraded production Subject (JEL): F30 - International Finance: General and E30 - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles: General (includes Measurement and Data)