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Creator: Holmes, Thomas J. and Thornton Snider, Julia Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 669 Abstract:
We develop a theory of outsourcing in which there is market power in one factor market (labor) and no market power in a second factor market (capital). There are two intermediate goods: one labor-intensive and the other capital-intensive. We show there is always outsourcing in the market allocation when a friction limiting outsourcing is not too big. The key factor underlying the result is that labor demand is more elastic, the greater the labor share. Integrated plants pay higher wages than the specialist producers of labor-intensive intermediates. We derive conditions under which there are multiple equilibria that vary in the degree of outsourcing. Across these equilibria, wages are lower the greater the degree of outsourcing. Wages fall when outsourcing increases in response to a decline in the outsourcing friction.
Tema: L22 - Firm Organization and Market Structure, J31 - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials, and L23 - Organization of Production
Creator: Holmes, Thomas J. and Lee, Sanghoon Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 668 Abstract:
We estimate the factors determining specialization of crop choice at the level of individual fields, distinguishing between the role of natural advantage (soil characteristics) and economies of density (scale economies achieved when farmers plant neighboring fields with the same crop). Using rich geographic data from North Dakota, including new data on crop choice collected by satellite, we estimate the analog of a social interactions econometric model for the planting decisions on neighboring fields. We find that planting decisions on a field are heavily dependent on the soil characteristics of the neighboring fields. Through this relationship, we back out the structural parameters of economies of density. Setting an Ellison-Glaeser dartboard level of specialization as a benchmark, we find that of the actual level of specialization achieved beyond this benchmark, approximately two-thirds can be attributed to natural advantage and one-third to density economies.
Tema: R12 - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity, R14 - Land Use Pattern, and Q10 - Agriculture: General
Creator: Troshkin, Maxim Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 667 Abstract:
Technical details and specific data sources are provided for “Facts and Myths about the Financial Crisis of 2008” by V. V. Chari, Lawrence Christiano, and Patrick J. Kehoe.
Creator: Chari, V. V., Christiano, Lawrence J., and Kehoe, Patrick J. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 666 Abstract:
The United States is indisputably undergoing a financial crisis and is perhaps headed for a deep recession. Here we examine three claims about the way the financial crisis is affecting the economy as a whole and argue that all three claims are myths. We also present three underappreciated facts about how the financial system intermediates funds between households and corporate businesses. Conventional analyses of the financial crisis focus on interest rate spreads. We argue that such analyses may lead to mistaken inferences about the real costs of borrowing and argue that, during financial crises, variations in the levels of nominal interest rates might lead to better inferences about variations in the real costs of borrowing. Moreover, we argue that even if current increase in spreads indicate increases in the riskiness of the underlying projects, by itself, this increase does not necessarily indicate the need for massive government intervention. We call for policymakers to articulate the precise nature of the market failure they see, to present hard evidence that differentiates their view of the data from other views which would not require such intervention, and to share with the public the logic and evidence that burnishes the case that the particular intervention they are advocating will fix this market failure.
Creator: Yazici, Hakki Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 665 Abstract:
This paper studies efficient allocation of resources in an economy in which agents are initially heterogeneous with regard to their wealth levels and whether they have ideas or not. An agent with an idea can start a business that generates random returns. Agents have private information about (1) their initial types, (2) how they allocate their resources, and (3) the realized returns. The unobservability of returns creates a novel motive for subsidizing agents who have ideas but lack resources to invest in them. To analyze this motive in isolation, the paper assumes that agents are risk-neutral and abstracts away from equality and insurance considerations. The unobservability of initial types and actions implies that the subsidy that poor agents with ideas receive is limited by incentive compatibility: the society should provide other agents with enough incentives so that they do not claim to be poor and have ideas. The paper then provides an implementation of the constrained-efficient allocation in an incomplete markets setup that is similar to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Business Loan Program. Finally, the paper extends the model in several dimensions to show that the results are robust to these generalizations of the model.
Creator: Chari, V. V., Kehoe, Patrick J., and McGrattan, Ellen R. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 664 Abstract:
In the 1970s macroeconomists often disagreed bitterly. Macroeconomists have now largely converged on method, model design, and macroeconomic policy advice. The disagreements that remain all stem from the practical implementation of the methodology. Some macroeconomists think that New Keynesian models are on the verge of being useful for quarter-to-quarter quantitative policy advice. We do not. We argue that the shocks in these models are dubiously structural and show that many of the features of the model as well as the implications due to these features are inconsistent with microeconomic evidence. These arguments lead us to conclude that New Keynesian models are not yet useful for policy analysis.
Tema: E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles and E58 - Central Banks and Their Policies
Creator: Ales, Laurence and Maziero, Pricila Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 663 Abstract:
We study the quantitative properties of constrained efficient allocations in an environment where risk sharing is limited by the presence of private information. We consider a life cycle version of a standard Mirrlees economy where shocks to labor productivity have a component that is public information and one that is private information. The presence of private shocks has important implications for the age profiles of consumption and income. First, they introduce an endogenous dispersion of continuation utilities. As a result, consumption inequality rises with age even if the variance of the shocks does not. Second, they introduce an endogenous rise of the distortion on the marginal rate of substitution between consumption and leisure over the life cycle. This is because, as agents age, the ability to properly provide incentives for work must become less and less tied to promises of benefits (through either increased leisure or consumption) in future periods. Both of these features are also present in the data. We look at the data through the lens of our model and estimate the fraction of labor productivity that is private information. We find that for the model and data to be consistent, a large fraction of shocks to labor productivities must be private information.
Palabra clave: Risk sharing, Private information, and Consumption inequality Tema: D91 - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics: Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making, H21 - Taxation and Subsidies: Efficiency; Optimal Taxation, D11 - Consumer Economics: Theory, D58 - Computable and Other Applied General Equilibrium Models, D86 - Economics of Contract: Theory, and D82 - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
Creator: Kehoe, Patrick J. and Midrigan, Virgiliu Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 661 Abstract:
In the data, a large fraction of price changes are temporary. We provide a simple menu cost model which explicitly includes a motive for temporary price changes. We show that this simple model can account for the main regularities concerning temporary and permanent price changes. We use the model as a benchmark to evaluate existing shortcuts that do not explicitly model temporary price changes. One shortcut is to take the temporary changes out of the data and fit a simple Calvo model to it. If we do so prices change only every 50 weeks and the Calvo model overestimates the real effects of monetary shocks by almost 70%. A second shortcut is to leave the temporary changes in the data. If we do so prices change every 3 weeks and the Calvo model produces only 1/9 of the real effects of money as in our benchmark. We show that a simple Calvo model can generate the same real effects as our benchmark model if we set parameters so that prices change every 17 weeks.
Tema: E12 - General Aggregative Models: Keynes; Keynesian; Post-Keynesian, E50 - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit: General, and E58 - Central Banks and Their Policies
Creator: Guner, Nezih, Kaygusuz, Remzi, and Ventura, Gustavo Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 660 Abstract:
We evaluate reforms to the U.S. tax system in a dynamic setup with heterogeneous married and single households, and with an operative extensive margin in labor supply. We restrict our model with observations on gender and skill premia, labor force participation of married females across skill groups, and the structure of marital sorting. We study four revenue-neutral tax reforms: a proportional consumption tax, a proportional income tax, a progressive consumption tax, and a reform in which married individuals file taxes separately. Our findings indicate that tax reforms are accompanied by large and differential effects on labor supply: while hours per-worker display small increases, total hours and female labor force participation increase substantially. Married females account for more than 50% of the changes in hours associated to reforms, and their importance increases sharply for values of the intertemporal labor supply elasticity on the low side of empirical estimates. Tax reforms in a standard version of the model result in output gains that are up to 15% lower than in our benchmark economy.
Palabra clave: Taxation, Two-earner households, and Labor force participation Tema: E62 - Fiscal Policy, H31 - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents: Household, J22 - Time Allocation and Labor Supply, and J12 - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure; Domestic Abuse
Creator: Atkeson, Andrew, Chari, V. V., and Kehoe, Patrick J. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 659 Abstract:
The Ramsey approach to policy analysis finds the best competitive equilibrium given a set of available instruments. This approach is silent about unique implementation, namely designing policies so that the associated competitive equilibrium is unique. This silence is particularly problematic in monetary policy environments where many ways of specifying policy lead to indeterminacy. We show that sophisticated policies which depend on the history of private actions and which can differ on and off the equilibrium path can uniquely implement any desired competitive equilibrium. A large literature has argued that monetary policy should adhere to the Taylor principle to eliminate indeterminacy. Our findings say that adherence to the Taylor principle on these grounds is unnecessary. Finally, we show that sophisticated policies are robust to imperfect information.
Tema: E60 - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook: General, E61 - Policy Objectives; Policy Designs and Consistency; Policy Coordination, E50 - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit: General, E58 - Central Banks and Their Policies, and E52 - Monetary Policy
Creator: Redish, Angela, 1952- and Weber, Warren E. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 658 Abstract:
Commodity money standards in medieval and early modern Europe were characterized by recurring complaints of small change shortages and by numerous debasements of the coinage. To confront these facts, we build a random matching monetary model with two indivisible coins with different intrinsic values. The model shows that small change shortages can exist in the sense that changes in the size of the small coin affect ex ante welfare. Further, the optimal ratio of coin sizes is shown to depend upon the trading opportunities in a country and a country’s wealth. Thus, coinage debasements can be interpreted as optimal responses to changes in fundamentals. Further, the model shows that replacing full-bodied small coins with tokens is not necessarily welfare-improving.
Palabra clave: Random matching, Commodity money, Optimal denominations, and Gresham's Law
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.
Palabra clave: Gibrat's Law, Firm age and size distribution, and Capital accumulation Tema: L11 - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms and O40 - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity: General
Creator: Kehoe, Patrick J. and Midrigan, Virgiliu Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 656 Abstract:
The classic explanation for the persistence and volatility of real exchange rates is that they are the result of nominal shocks in an economy with sticky goods prices. A key implication of this explanation is that if goods have differing degrees of price stickiness then relatively more sticky goods tend to have relatively more persistent and volatile good-level real exchange rates. Using panel data, we find only modest support for these key implications. The predictions of the theory for persistence have some modest support: in the data, the stickier is the price of a good the more persistent is its real exchange rate, but the theory predicts much more variation in persistence than is in the data. The predictions of the theory for volatility fare less well: in the data, the stickier is the price of a good the smaller is its conditional variance while in the theory the opposite holds. We show that allowing for pricing complementarities leads to a modest improvement in the theory’s predictions for persistence but little improvement in the theory’s predictions for conditional variances.
Tema: F00 - International Economics: General and F40 - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance: General
Creator: Mehra, Rajnish, Piguillem, Facundo, and Prescott, Edward C. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 655 Abstract:
There is a large amount of intermediated borrowing and lending between households. Some of it is intergenerational, but most is between older households. The average difference in borrowing and lending rates is over 2 percent. In this paper, we develop a model economy that displays these facts and matches not only the returns on assets but also their quantities. The heterogeneity giving rise to borrowing and lending and differences in equity holdings depends on differences in the strength of the bequest motive. In equilibrium, the lenders are annuity holders and the borrowers are those who have equity holdings, who live off its income when retired, and who leave a bequest. The borrowing rate and return on equity are the same in the absence of aggregate uncertainty. The divergence between borrowing and lending rates can thus give rise to an equity premium, even in a world without aggregate uncertainty.
Palabra clave: Government debt, Equity premium, Retirement, Aggregate intermediation, Life cycle savings, Borrowing, and Lending Tema: E44 - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy, G23 - Pension Funds; Non-bank Financial Institutions; Financial Instruments; Institutional Investors, H62 - National Deficit; Surplus, G10 - General Financial Markets: General (includes Measurement and Data), E20 - Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy: General (includes Measurement and Data), G11 - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions, D31 - Personal Income, Wealth, and Their Distributions, H00 - Public Economics: General, G12 - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates, and E21 - Macroeconomics: Consumption; Saving; Wealth
Creator: Chari, V. V. and Kehoe, Patrick J. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 654 Abstract:
Here we reply to Robert Solow’s comment on our work, Modern Macroeconomics in Practice: How Theory is Shaping Policy.
Creator: Liu, Zheng, Waggoner, Daniel F., and Zha, Tao Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 653 Abstract:
The possibility of regime shifts in monetary policy can have important effects on rational agents’ expectation formation and equilibrium dynamics. In a DSGE model where the monetary policy rule switches between a dovish regime that accommodates inflation and a hawkish regime that stabilizes inflation, the expectation effect is asymmetric across regimes. Such an asymmetric effect makes it difficult, but still possible, to generate substantial reductions in the volatilities of inflation and output as the monetary policy switches from the dovish regime to the hawkish regime.
Palabra clave: Structural breaks, Monetary policy regime, Expectations formation, Lucas critique, and Macroeconomic volatility Tema: E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles, E42 - Monetary Systems; Standards; Regimes; Government and the Monetary System; Payment Systems, and E52 - Monetary Policy
Creator: Kehoe, Patrick J. and Midrigan, Virgiliu Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 652 Abstract:
In the data, a sizable fraction of price changes are temporary price reductions referred to as sales. Existing models include no role for sales. Hence, when confronted with data in which a large fraction of price changes are sales related, the models must either exclude sales from the data or leave them in and implicitly treat sales like any other price change. When sales are included, prices change frequently and standard sticky price models with this high frequency of price changes predict small effects from money shocks. If sales are excluded, prices change much less frequently and a standard sticky price model with this low frequency of price changes predict much larger effects of money shocks. This paper adds a motive for sales in a parsimonious extension of existing sticky price models. We show that the model can account for most of the patterns of sales in the data. Using our model as the data generating process, we evaluate the existing approaches and find that neither well approximates the real effects of money in our economy in which sales are explicitly modeled.
Creator: McGrattan, Ellen R. and Prescott, Edward C. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 651 Abstract:
A framework is developed with what we call technology capital. A country is a measure of locations. Absent policy constraints, a firm owning a unit of technology capital can produce the composite output good using the unit of technology capital at as many locations as it chooses. But it can operate only one operation at a given location, so the number of locations is what constrains the number of units it operates using this unit of technology capital. If it has two units of technology capital, it can operate twice as many operations at every location. In this paper, aggregation is carried out and the aggregate production functions for the countries are derived. Our framework interacts well with the national accounts in the same way as does the neoclassical growth model. It also interacts well with the international accounts. There are constant returns to scale, and therefore no monopoly rents. Yet there are gains to being economically integrated. In the framework, a country’s openness is measured by the effect of its policies on the productivity of foreign operations. Our analysis indicates that there are large gains to this openness.
Palabra clave: Foreign direct investment and Openness Tema: F23 - Multinational Firms; International Business, F43 - Economic Growth of Open Economies, and O11 - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development