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): O47 - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence, F14 - Empirical Studies of Trade, O10 - Economic Development: General, E23 - Macroeconomics: Production, E65 - Studies of Particular Policy Episodes, and O20 - Development Planning and Policy: General
Creator: Prescott, Edward C. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 321 Abstract:
Americans now work 50 percent more than do the Germans, French, and Italians. This was not the case in the early 1970s when the Western Europeans worked more than Americans. In this paper, I examine the role of taxes in accounting for the differences in labor supply across time and across countries, in particular, the effective marginal tax rate on labor income. The population of countries considered is that of the G-7 countries, which are major advanced industrial countries. The surprising finding is that this marginal tax rate accounts for the predominance of the differences at points in time and the large change in relative labor supply over time with the exception of the Italian labor supply in the early 1970s.
Keyword: International Labor Supply, International Tax Rates, and Social Security Reform Subject (JEL): H20 - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue: General, E24 - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity, E13 - General Aggregative Models: Neoclassical, and E62 - Fiscal Policy
Creator: Jones, Larry E., Manuelli, Rodolfo E., and McGrattan, Ellen R. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 317 Abstract:
We study the large observed changes in labor supply by married women in the United States over the post–World War II period, a period that saw little change in the labor supply by single women. We investigate the effects of changes in the gender wage gap, the quantitative impact of technological improvements in the production of nonmarket goods, and the potential inferiority of nonmarket goods in explaining the dramatic change in labor supply. We find that small decreases in the gender wage gap can simultaneously explain the significant increases in the average hours worked by married women and the relative constancy in the hours worked by single women and by single and married men. We also find that the impact of technological improvements in the household on married female hours and on the relative wage of females to males is too small for realistic values. Some specifications of the inferiority of home goods match the hours patterns, but they have counterfactual predictions for wages and expenditure patterns.
Keyword: Hours of work , Technological improvements, and Gender wage gap Subject (JEL): J22 - Time Allocation and Labor Supply and E24 - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
Creator: Faust, Jon. Series: Conference on economics and politics Abstract:
The Federal Reserve Act erected a unique structure of government decisionmaking, independent with elaborate rules balancing internal power. Historical evidence suggests that this outcome was a response to public conflict over inflation's redistributive powers. This paper documents and formalizes this argument: in the face of conflict over redistributive inflation, policy by majority can lead to policy that is worse, even fo the majority, than obvious alternatives. The bargaining solution of an independent board with properly balanced interests leads to a better outcome. Technically, this paper extends earlier work in making policy preferences endogenous and in extending the notion of equilibirum policy to such a world. Substantively, this work provides a simple grounding of policy preferences-largely missing heretofore-linking game theoretic models of policy to historical evidence about the formation of an independent monetary authority.
Subject (JEL): E58 - Monetary policy, central banking, and the supply of money and credit - Central banks and their policies, N12 - Macroeconomics and monetary economics ; Growth and fluctuations - United States ; Canada : 1913-, and E52 - Monetary policy, central banking, and the supply of money and credit - Monetary policy
Creator: Martin, Antoine and Monnet, Cyril Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 603 Abstract:
This paper proposes a theory of when labor contract should be nominal or, instead, indexed. We find that, contracts should be indexed if prices are difficult to forecast and nominal otherwise. We use a principal-agent model developed by Jovanovic and Ueda (1997), with moral hazard, renegotiation, and where a signal (the nominal value of the sales of the agent) is observed before renegotiation takes place. We show that their result, that the optimal contract is nominal when agents must choose pure strategies, is robust to the case where agents can choose mixed strategies in the sense that, for certain parameters, the optimal contract is still nominal. For other parameters, however, we show that the optimal contract is indexed. Our findings are consistent with two empirical regularities. First prices are more volatile with higher inflation and, second, countries with high inflation tend to have indexed contracts. Our theory suggests that it is because prices are difficult to forecast in high inflation countries that contracts are indexed.
Keyword: Theory of uncertainty and information and Nominal contracts Subject (JEL): E30 - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles: General (includes Measurement and Data), J40 - Particular Labor Markets: General, and D80 - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty: General
Creator: Bridgman, Benjamin, Maio, Michael, Schmitz, James Andrew, and Teixeira, Arilton Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 477 Abstract:
Beginning in the early 1900s, Puerto Rican sugar has entered the U.S. mainland tariff free. Given this new status, the Puerto Rican sugar industry grew dramatically, soon far outstripping Louisiana’s production. Then, in the middle 1960s, something amazing happened. Production collapsed. Manufacturing sugar in Puerto Rico was no longer profitable. Louisiana, in contrast, continued to produce and grow sugar. We argue that local economic policy was responsible for the industry’s demise. In the 1930s and 1940s, the local Puerto Rican government enacted policies to stifle the growth of large cane-farms. As a result, starting in the late 1930s, farm size fell, mechanization of farms essentially ceased, and the Puerto Rican sugar industry’s productivity (relative to Louisiana) rapidly declined until the industry collapsed. The overall Puerto Rican economy also began to perform poorly in the late 1930s. In particular, Puerto Rico’s per capita income was converging to that of the poorest U.S. states until the late 1930s, but since then it has lost ground to these states. One naturally wonders: was the poor overall performance of the Puerto Rican economy also the result of policy? We show that Puerto Rico embarked on other economic policies in the early 1940s that proved to be major setbacks to its economic development.
Keyword: Industrial policy, Sugar, Puerto Rico , and Land Subject (JEL): N56 - Economic History: Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment, and Extractive Industries: Latin America; Caribbean and L52 - Industrial Policy; Sectoral Planning Methods
Creator: Guvenen, Fatih, Karahan, Fatih, Ozkan, Serdar, and Song, Jae Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 719 Abstract:
We study the evolution of individual labor earnings over the life cycle using a large panel data set of earnings histories drawn from U.S. administrative records. Using fully nonparametric methods, our analysis reaches two broad conclusions. First, earnings shocks display substantial deviations from lognormality–the standard assumption in the incomplete markets literature. In particular, earnings shocks display strong negative skewness and extremely high kurtosis–as high as 30 compared with 3 for a Gaussian distribution. The high kurtosis implies that in a given year, most individuals experience very small earnings shocks, and a small but non-negligible number experience very large shocks. Second, these statistical properties vary significantly both over the life cycle and with the earnings level of individuals. We also estimate impulse response functions of earnings shocks and find important asymmetries: positive shocks to high-income individuals are quite transitory, whereas negative shocks are very persistent; the opposite is true for low-income individuals. Finally, we use these rich sets of moments to estimate econometric processes with increasing generality to capture these salient features of earnings dynamics.
Keyword: Earnings dynamics, Nonparametric estimation, Life-cycle earnings risk, Kurtosis, Non-Guassian shocks, Normal mixture, and Skewness Subject (JEL): J24 - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity, J31 - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials, and E24 - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
Creator: Kehoe, Timothy Jerome, 1953- Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 318 Abstract:
Currently, Argentina is experiencing what the government describes as a “great depression.” Using the “Great Depressions” methodology developed by Cole and Ohanian (1999) and Kehoe and Prescott (2002), we find that the primary determinants of both the boom in Argentina in the 1990s and the subsequent depression were changes in productivity, rather than changes in factor inputs. The timing of events links the boom to the currency-board-like Convertibility Plan and the crisis to its collapse. To gain credibility, the Argentine government took measures to make abandoning the plan more costly. Because the government was unable to enforce fiscal discipline, however, these increased costs failed to make the plan more credible and instead made the crisis far worse when it failed.
Creator: 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: Self-fulfilling crises, Zero lower bound, Aggregate demand, Business cycles, Precautionary saving, and Multiple equilibria Subject (JEL): E12 - General Aggregative Models: Keynes; Keynesian; Post-Keynesian, E21 - Macroeconomics: Consumption; Saving; Wealth, and E52 - Monetary Policy
Creator: De Nardi, Mariacristina Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 314 Abstract:
Previous work has had difficulty generating household saving behavior that makes the distribution of wealth much more concentrated than that of labor earnings, and that makes the richest households hold onto large amounts of wealth, even during very old age. I construct a quantitative, general equilibrium, overlapping-generations model in which parents and children are linked by accidental and voluntary bequests and by earnings ability. I show that voluntary bequests can explain the emergence of large estates, while accidental bequests alone cannot, and that adding earnings persistence within families increases wealth concentration even more. I also show that the introduction of a bequest motive generates lifetime savings profiles more consistent with the data.