We formulate a representative consumer model of intertemporal resource reallocation in which fluctuations in equity prices contribute to the smoothing of consumption flows. Features of the model include (a) an incompletely observable stochastic process of productivity shocks leading to fluctuating confidence of beliefs and (b) technologies involving commitments of a resource good. These features are exploited to show that (1) equities are not a representative form of total wealth and (2) the valuation of currently active firms is not representative of the valuation of all firms. We examine the implications of (1) and (2) to argue that empirical findings for the volatility and 'value shortfall' of equity prices may be consistent with a frictionless representative consumer model having a low degree of risk-aversion. Simulation of a calibrated version of the model for a risk-neutral consumer shows that when the 'data' is analyzed according to current econometric procedures, it is found to exhibit volatility of the same order of magnitude as that found in the actual data, although the model contains no excess volatility.
Different monetary aggregates covary very differently with short term nominal interest rates. Broad monetary aggregates like Ml and the monetary base covary positively with current and future values of short term interest rates. In contrast, the nonborrowed reserves of banks covary negatively with current and future interest rates. Observations like this 'sign switch' lie at the core of recent debates about the effects of monetary policy actions on short term interest rates. This paper develops a general equilibrium monetary business cycle model which is consistent with these facts. Our basic explanation of the 'sign switch' is that movements in nonborrowed reserves are dominated by exogenous shocks to monetary policy, while movements in the base and Ml are dominated by endogenous responses to non-policy shocks.
In this paper a dynamic model is constructed in which labor and capital taxes are determined endogenously through majority voting. The wealth distribution of the economy is shown to influence the voting behavior, and hence the equilibrium levels of the tax rates, which in turn affect the future distribution of wealth. It is shown that the economy exhibits a unique dynamic behavior. Because of the endogenously determined taxes, the asset prices, wealth distribution, and the tax rates can display persistent fluctuations, and even limit cycles, in reaction to exogenous disturbances, or even due to initial conditions. It is also shown that "tax smoothing" does not necessarily appear to naturally arise in such a model, as the economy can display extreme fluctuations in the endogenously determined tax rates.
A cash-in-advance model with sequential markets is constructed, where unanticipated monetary injections are nonneutral and can potentially produce large liquidity effects. However, if the monetary authority adheres to an optimal money rule, money should not respond to unanticipated shocks, so that a Friedman rule is suboptimal and the monetary authority does not exploit the liquidity effect. Quantitatively, the model can generate variability in money and nominal interest rates close to what is observed, and can produce data with no obvious evidence of the existence of liquidity effects.
The data and press commentaries studied in this paper call for a reinterpretation of the French inflationary crisis and its stabilization in 1926. In contrast with T. J. Sargent's (1984) interpretation, there is evidence that the budgetary situation was well in hand and that only fear of a capital levy made the public unwilling to buy government bonds. As a result, the government had to repay the bonds coming to maturity with monetary financing. Only when Poincare introduced a bill to shift the tax burden off bondholders did the demand for government bonds recover and inflation stop.
We explain why contracting parties may choose ambiguous financial contracts. Introducing ambiguity may be optimal, even when unambiguous contracts can be costlessly written. We show that an ambiguous contract has two advantages. First, it permits the guarantor to sacrifice reputational capital in order to preserve financial capital as well as information reusability in states where such tradeoff is optimal. Second, it fosters the development of reputation. This theory is then used to explain ambiguity in mutual fund contracts, bank loan commitments, bank holding company relationships, the investment banker's "highly confident" letter, non-recourse debt contracts in project financing, and other financial contracts.
We incorporate the consumption-ability relationship of static "efficiency wage" models into a dynamic general equilibrium model. We show that for many aggregate land stocks, there is a continuum of unemployment rates which could persist indefinitely as part of a stationary equilibrium. For many of these aggregate land stocks, both unemployment and full employment are distrinct possibilities. Broadly speaking, more unemployment corresponds to more undernourishment and more inequality in land distribution. Thus our results suggest that the market mechanism is less efficacious than land reform in reducing unemployment and undernourishment.
ln environments with private information and spatial separation, the ability of agents to establish mutually beneficial arrangements can be limited by their ability to communicate contemporary dealings and histories of past dealings. Indeed, with the extension of some recent work in contract theory and mechanism design, this paper argues that location or person-specific assignment systems, portable object record-keeping systems, written message systems, and telecommunication systems can be viewed as communication systems which are successively more complete in this sense. An attempt is made also to match these various communication systems with systems in use in historical primitive, and/or contemporary societies and to interpret these communication systems as financial structures.
Cointegration tests are used to examine the basic long-term relation between population and the housing stock. There is some weak evidence of a long-run relation between the constant-cost value of the housing stock and population-driven demand. Much stronger evidence exists for a long-term relation between owner-occupied housing units and the adult population. We generally cannot reject that the number of housing units intended for owner-occupancy has adjusted in proportion to the population 25 years of age and older. Using these results and current population projections, we produce trend forecasts through the year 2010 for the owner-occupied housing stock and single-family housing starts in the U.S.
Handout for "Policy Concerning Water Markets": Using Water Better: A Market-Based Approach to California's Water Crisis, by Ronald H. Schmidt and Frederick Cannon. Published 1991 by Bay Area Economic Forum (Calif.), Association of Bay Area Governments, Bay Area Council (Calif.). Handout for "Environmental Issues and Ag Lending": Land Values and Environmental Regulation by Michael D. Boehlge, Philip M. Raup and Kent D. Olson. University of Minnesota Department of Agricutural and Applied Economics Staff Paper P91-3, January 1991.
The Conference Proceedings collection houses papers and ephemera from twenty eight conferences hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Research Department between 1994 and 2003. Additional papers from other Minneapolis Research Department conferences can be found at the Minneapolis Fed conferences and programs website.
The Reserve-o-Meter was a tool used in presentations given by Clarence Nelson and James Hammill. From the August 6, 1993 presentation entitled Monetary Policy, Fiscal Policy and the Economy: What are Policy Goals and how does Policy Work, the Reserve-o-Meter is described as "an analog computer by which you can study the leverage or reserve-to-deposit multiplier for any bank." Included here are front and back images of the Reserve-o-Meter, the full presentation text and accompanying slides.
I prove some theorems for competitive equilibria in the presence of distortionary taxes and other restraints of trade, and use those theorems to motivate an algorithm for (exactly) computing and empirically evaluating competitive equilibria in dynamic economies. Although its economics is relatively sophisticated, the algorithm is so computationally economical that it can be implemented with a few lines in a spreadsheet. Although a competitive equilibrium models interactions between all sectors, all consumer types, and all time periods, I show how my algorithm permits separate empirical evaluation of these pieces of the model and hence is practical even when very little data is available. For similar reasons, these evaluations are not particularly sensitive to how data is partitioned into "trends" and "cycles." I then compute a real business cycle model with distortionary taxes that fits aggregate U.S. time series for the period 1929-50 and conclude that, if it is to explain aggregate behavior during the period, government policy must have heavily taxed labor income during the Great Depression and lightly taxed it during the war. In other words, the challenge for the competitive equilibrium approach is not so much why output might change over time, but why the marginal product of labor and the marginal value of leisure diverged so much and why that wedge persisted so long. In this sense, explaining aggregate behavior during the period has been reduced to a public finance question - were actual government policies distorting behavior in the same direction and magnitude as government policies in the model?
One of the more significant developments in econometric modeling over the past decade has been the invention of the forecasting technique known as Bayesian vector autoregression (BVAR). This paper provides a detailed description of the process of specifying a BVAR model of quarterly time series on the U.S. macroeconomy. The postsample forecasting performance of the model is evaluated at an informal level by comparing the model's performance to certain naive forecasting methods, and is evaluated at a formal level by means of efficiency tests. Although the null hypothesis of efficiency is rejected for the model's forecasts, the accuracy of the model exceeds that of naive forecasting methods, and seems comparable to that of commercial forecasting firms for early quarter forecasts.
We present a model of vintage human capital. The economy exhibits exogenous deterministic technological change. Technology requires skills that are specific to the vintage. A stationary competitive equilibrium is defined and shown to exist and be unique, as well as Pareto optimal. The stationary equilibrium is characterized by an endogenous distribution of skilled workers across vintages. The distribution is shown to be single peaked, and under general conditions there is a lag between the time when a technology appears and the peak of its usage, what is known as diffusion. An increase in the rate of exogenous technological charge shirts the distribution of human capital to more recent vintages and increases the relative wage of the unskilled workers in each vintage.
We document properties of business cycles in ten countries over the last hundred years, contrasting the behavior of real quantities with that of the price level and the stock of money. Although the magnitude of output fluctuations has varied across countries and periods, relations among variables have been remarkably uniform. Consumption has generally been about as variable as output, and investment substantially more variable, and both have been strongly procydical. The trade balance has generally been countercyclical. The exception to this regularity is government purchases, which exhibit no systematic cyclical tendency. With respect to the size of output fluctuations, standard deviations are largest between the two world wars. In some countries (notably Australia and Canada) they are substantially larger prior to World War I than after World War II, but in others (notably Japan and the United Kingdom) there is little difference between these periods. Properties of price levels, in contrast, exhibit striking differences between periods. Inflation rates are more persistent after World War II than before, and price level fluctuations are typically procyclical before World War II, countercyclical afterward. We find no general tendency toward increased persistence in money growth rates, but find that fluctuations in money are less highly correlated with output in the postwar period.
We look for the scale effects on growth predicted by some theories of trade and growth based on dynamic returns to scale at the national or industry level. The increasing returns can arise from learning by doing, investment in human capital, research and development, or development of new products. We find some evidence of a relation between growth rates and the measures of scale implied by the learning by doing theory, especially total manufacturing. With respect to human capital, there is some evidence of a relation between growth rates and per capita measures of inputs into the human capital accumulation process, but little evidence of a relation with the scale of inputs. There is also little evidence that growth rates are related to measures of inputs into R&D. We find, however, that growth rates are related to measures of intra-industry trade, particularly when we control for scale of industry.
A necessary feature for equilibrium is that beliefs about the behavior of other agents are rational. We argue that in stationary OLG environments this implies that any future generation in the same situation as the initial generation must do as well as the initial generation did in that situation. We conclude that the existing equilibrium concepts in the literature do not satisfy this condition. We then propose an alternative equilibrium concept, organizational equilibrium, that satisfies this condition. We show that equilibrium exists, it is unique, and it improves over autarky without achieving optimality. Moreover, the equilibrium can be readily found by solving a maximization program.
Some economic policies and regulations seem to have only one purpose: to prevent technological development and economic growth from occurring. In this paper, we attempt to rationalize such policies as outcomes of voting equilibria. In our environment, some agents will be worse off if the economy grows, since their skills are complementary to resources that can be allocated to growth-stimulating activities. In the absence of arrangements where votes are traded, we show that for some initial skill distributions, the economy may stagnate due to growth-preventing policies. Different initial skill distributions, however, lead to voting outcomes and policies in support of technological development, and to persistent economic growth. In making our argument formally, we use a dynamic model with induced heterogeneity in agents' skills. In their voting decisions, agents compare how they will be affected under each policy alternative, and then vote for the policy that maximizes their welfare.
We use political-equilibrium theory and the neoclassical growth model to compare the quantitative properties of different tax systems. We first explore whether societies which can only use consumption taxes fare better than societies which can only use income taxes. We find that if government outlays are used mainly for redistribution through transfers, then the answer is no, contradicting conventional wisdom in public finance. The reason for this is that when taxes are endogenous, and voted on by a selfish constituency, the distortionary effects of taxation are taken into account in choosing the level of taxation. Hence, political equilibria have the property that taxes which are relatively distortionary will be relatively low. These results are overturned if the government outlays are used only for the providing of public goods, implying that less distortionary taxes give better outcomes. We also investigate the properties of a tax systems in which both consumption and income taxes are used and voted on simultaneously. Since the ability to use more tax instruments allows redistribution with less distortions, the total amount of transfers tends to be higher here than in one-tax systems. Typically, tax systems tend to be self-perpetuating in the sense that changes of the tax system result in a reduction in the welfare of the median voter.
We analyze the Italian economy in the interwar years. In Italy, as in many other countries, the years immmediately after 1929 were characterized by a major slowdown in economic activity as non farm output declined almost 12. We argue that the slowdown cannot be explained solely by productivity shocks and that other factors must have contributed to the depth and duration of the the 1929 crisis. We present a model in which trade restrictions together with wage rigidities produce a slowdown in economic activity that is consistent with the one observed in the data. The model is also consistent with evidence from sectorial disaggregated data. Our model predicts that trade restrictions can account for about 3/4 of the observed slowdown while wage rigidity (monetary shocks) can account for the remaining fourth.
Our goal is to provide a theoretical framework in which both positive and normative aspects of international currency can be addressed in a systematic way. To this end, we use the framework of random matching games and develop a two country model of the world economy, in which two national fiat currencies compete and may be circulated as media of exchange. There are multiple equilibria, which differ in the areas of circulation of the two currencies. In one equilibrium, the two national currencies are circulated only locally. In another, one of the national currencies is circulated as an international currency. There is also an equilibrium in which both currencies are accepted internationally. We also find an equilibrium in which the two currencies are directly exchanged. The existence conditions of these equilibria are characterized, using the relative country size and the degree of economic integration as the key parameters. In order to generate sharper predictions in the presence of multiple equilibria, we discuss an evolutionary approach to equilibrium selection, which is used to explain the evolution of the international currency as the two economies become more integrated. Some welfare implications are also discussed. For example, a country can improve its national welfare by letting its own currency circulated internationally, provided the domestic circulation is controlled for. When the total supply is fixed, however, a resulting currency shortage may reduce the national welfare.
We extend the analysis of Kiyotaki and Wright, who study an economy in which the different commodities that serve as media of exchange are determined endogenously. Kiyotaki and Wright consider only symmetric, steady-state, pure-strategy equilibria, and find that for some parameter values no such equilibria exist. We consider mixed-strategy equilibria and dynamic equilibria. We prove that a steady-state equilibrium exists for all parameter values and that the number of steady-state equilibria is generically finite. We also show, however, that there may be a continuum of dynamic equilibria. Further, some dynamic equilibria display cycles.
This paper examines the effect of different education financing systems on the level and distribution of resources devoted to public education. We focus on California, which in the 1970's was transformed from a system of mixed local and state financing to one of effectively pure state finance and subsequently saw its funding of public education fall between ten and fifteen percent relative to the rest of the US. We show that a simple political economy model of public finance can account for the bulk of this drop. We find that while the distribution of spending became more equal, this was mainly at the cost of a large reduction in spending in the wealthier communities with little increase for the poorer districts. Our model implies that there is no simple trade-off between equity and resources; we show that if California had moved to the opposite extreme and abolished state aid altogether, funding for public education would also have dropped by almost ten percent.
A simple stochastic model of the firm is constructed in which a dynamic monopolist who maximizes a discounted profits stream subject to labor adjustment costs and given factor prices sets output price as a distributed lag of past wages and input prices. If the observed relation of wages and prices in manufacturing arises solely from this behavior then wages and input prices are exogenous with respect to output prices. In tests using quarterly and monthly series for the straight time wage, an index of raw materials prices and the wholesale price index for manufacturing and its durable and nondurable subsectors this hypothesis cannot be refuted for the period 1955:1 to 1971:11. During the period 1926:1 to 1940:11, however, symmetrically opposite behavior is observed manufacturing wholesale prices are exogenous with respect to the wage rate, a relation which can arise if dynamically monopsonistic firms compete in product markets. Neither structural relation has withstood direct wage and price controls.
Across developing countries, capital market inefficiencies tend to decrease and external borrowing tends to sharply increase as national wealth rises. We construct a simple model of intertemporal trade under asymmetric information which provides a coherent explanation of both these phenomenon, without appealing to imperfect capital mobility. The model can be applied to a number of policy issues in LDC lending, including the debt overhang problem, and the impact of government guarantees of private debt to foreign creditors. In the two-country general equilibrium version of the model, an increase in wealth in the rich country can induce a decline in investment in the poor country via a "siphoning effect". Finally, we present some new empirical evidence regarding the link between LDC borrowing and per capita income.
The files below demonstrate how to calibrate the neoclassical growth model and then solve the model numerically, using data from Finland as an example. You can download all files at once by clicking "create the zip" or you can download individual files by clicking on the title or selecting "download" from the action column.
BaseCaseCalibration.xls calibrates model parameters and derives a sequence of TFP values in the ‘calibration’ worksheet. The parameters are also saved in paramBase.txt, and the series of TFP values along with labor endowment and taxes are saved in dataBase.txt. The MATLAB program depressions.m uses these text files and solveModel.m to solve the model numerically. The output this program saves to output.xls can be used to generate the graphs in BaseCaseCalibration.xls.
These files can be used to model any economy over any period by replacing the data in BaseCaseCalibration.xls and saving the results in the correct format to paramBase.txt and dataBase.txt. The files below contain an overview of the calibration procedures, the MATLAB programs, and instructions on using the files on your own data. More details can be found in the files themselves.
We consider a model of international sovereign debt where repayment is enforced because defaulting nations lose their reputation and consequently, are excluded from international capital markets. Underlying the analysis of reputation is the hypothesis that borrowing countries have different, unobservable, attitudes towards the future. Some regimes are relatively myopic, while others are willing to make sacrifices to preserve their access to debt markets. Nations' preferences, while unobservable, are not fixed but evolve over time according to a Markov process. We make two main points. First we argue that in models of sovereign debt the length of the punishment interval that follows a default should be based on economic factors rather than being chosen arbitrarily. In our model, the length of the most natural punishment interval depends primarily on the preference parameters. Second, we point out that there is a more direct way for governments to regain their reputation. By offering to partially repay loans in default, a government can signal its reliability. This type of signaling can cause punishment interval equilibria to break down. We examine the historical record on lending resumption to argue that in almost all cases, some kind of partial repayment was made.
Traditional theories of asset pricing assume there is complete market participation so all investors participate in all markets. In this case changes in preferences typically have only a small effect on asset prices and are not an important determinant of asset price volatility. However, there is considerable empirical evidence that most investors participate in a limited number of markets. We show that limited market participation can amplify the effect of changes in preferences so that an arbitrarily small degree of aggregate uncertainty in preferences can cause a large degree of price volatility. We also show that in addition to this equilibrium with limited participation and volatile asset prices, there may exist a Pareto-preferred equilibrium with complete participation and less volatility.
This paper develops a dynamic model of general imperfect competition by embedding the Shapley-Shubik model of market games into an overlapping generations framework. Existence of an open market equilibrium where there is trading at each post is demonstrated when there are an arbitrary (finite) number of commodities in each period and an arbitrary (finite) number of consumers in each generation. The open market equilibria are fully characterized when there is a single consumption good in each period and it is shown that stationary open market equilibria exist if endowments are not Pareto optimal. Two examples are also given. The first calculates the stationary equilibrium in an economy, and the second shows that the on replicating the economy the stationary equilibria converge to the unique non-autarky stationary equilibrium in the corresponding Walrasian overlapping generations economy. Preliminary on-going work indicates the possibility of cycles and other fluctuations even in the log-linear economy.
We explain how a long period of slow pre-industrial development triggers an Industrial Revolution that leads to modern balanced growth. Development in the preindustrial period is driven by increasing returns to specialization made possible by a growing population. Increasing access to specialized intermediate goods eventually makes fundamental technological innovation possible. Innovation initiates the Industrial Revolution, after which productivity grows endogenously regardless of population growth. Industrialization reconciles the crucial role of population early on with its weak relation to per capita product in developed economies. Faster population growth speeds early development, though if it results from a highly productive primitive technology, the consequences for development are ambiguous.
A number of theoretical models of technology adoption have been proposed that emphasize technological switching, loss of expertise and subsequent technology-specific learning. These models imply that measured productivity may initially fall and then later rise after the adoption of a new technology. This paper investigates whether or not this implication is a feature of plant-level data from the Colombian manufacturing sector. We regress measures of productivity growth at the plant level on a plant-specific measure of technology adoption and its lagged values. We find that...
This paper investigates the optimal tax structure in an overlapping generations model in which individuals face idiosyncratic income risk, borrowing constraints and lifetime uncertainty. The calibrated model economy produces some quantitative results that differ significantly from the findings of the previous research. The main finding in this imperfect insurance setup is that moving away from capital income taxation toward higher labor income taxation yields a (steady-state) welfare benefit of 1% of aggregate consumption compared with the 6% figure Lucas (1990) finds in an infinite-horizon, complete markets model. This is because replacing the tax on capital income with a higher tax on labor income redistributes resources away from the young working years during which borrowing constraints are more likely to bind. Furthermore, when the individuals have access to a private annuity market to insure against uncertain lifetimes, it becomes optimal to tax capital. When a consumption tax is made available, it is optimal to switch to consumption taxation. The welfare benefit from implementing this optimal plan is on the order of 1.5-3.2% of GNP.