In this paper we will consider a simple small open economy with three assets - domestic capital, foreign securities and public debt - to study the government's incentives to devalue and to repay or default the debt. We show that the announcement of a devaluation is anticipated by domestic agents who reduce domestic investments and increase foreign holdings. Once a government devalues, the expectations vanish and the economy recovers its past levels of investment and GDP. However, in a country with international debt denominated in US dollars if a government devalues it requires a higher fraction of GDP to repay its external debt. In consequence, there exists a trade-off between recovering the economy and increasing the future cost of repaying the debt. Our main result is to show that, as devaluation beliefs exists, a devaluation increase government incentives to default and devalue. We calibrate our model to match the decrease in investment of domestic capital, the reduction in production, the increase in trade balance surplus, and the increase in debt levels observed throughout 2001 in Argentina. We show that for a probability of devaluation consistent with the risk premium of the Argentinian Government bonds nominated in dollars issued on April 2001 the external debt of Argentina was in a crisis zone were the government find optimal to default and to devalue.
In most developed countries, housing receives preferential tax treatment relative to other assets. In particular (i) the housing services provided by owner-occupied housing (generally referred to as imputed rents) are untaxed and (ii) mortgage interest payments reduce taxable income. The potential economic distortions resulting from the unique treatment of housing may be substantial, especially in light of the fact that residential capital accounts for more than half of the assets in the U.S. In particular, this tax treatment distorts the households' portfolio composition, their saving rates and their tenure choice. In this paper we build a general equilibrium model populated by heterogeneous agents subject to idiosyncratic risk. We use this framework to quantitatively assess the macroeconomic and distributional distortions introduced by this preferential tax treatment. We also study the effects of alternative tax schemes which could correct the current system's bias.
Entrepreneurs bear substantial risk, but empirical evidence shows no sign of a positive premium. This paper develops a theory of endogenous entrepreneurial risk taking that explains why self-financed entrepreneurs may find it optimal to invest into risky projects offering no risk premium. The model has also a number of implications for firm dynamics supported by empirical evidence, such as a positive correlation between survival, size, and firm age.
"Sudden Stops " experienced during emerging markets crises are characterized by large reversals of capital inflows and the current account, deep recessions, and collapses in asset prices. This paper proposes an open-economy equilibrium asset pricing model in which financial frictions cause Sudden Stops. Margin requirements impose a collateral constraint on foreign borrowing by domestic agents and trading costs distort asset trading by foreign securities firms. At equilibrium, margin constraints may or may not bind depending on portfolio decisions and equilibrium asset prices. If margin constraints do not bind, productivity shocks cause a moderate fall in consumption and a widening current account deficit. If debt is high relative to asset holdings, the same productivity shocks trigger margin calls forcing domestic agents to fire-sell equity to foreign traders. This sets off a Fisherian asset-price deflation and subsequent rounds of margin calls. A current account reversal and a collapse in consumption occur when equity sales cannot prevent a sharp rise in net foreign assets.
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.
We estimate the effects of policy distortions on aggregate productivity. Based on a model of plant production and productivity uncertainty and heterogeneity, and using Chilean manufacturing data, we focus on the effect of taxation on the exit behavior of plants. We find that taxes do distort the liquidation decisions of firms, suggesting that policy distortions reduce the extent to which factors are reallocated towards the most productive plants. Our results have important consequences for growth and development, as policies that alter the measure of plants that operate in equilibrium change the short-run response of output to exogenous shocks and the long run level of aggregate TFP. In particular, we find that the amount of productivity lost due to excessive plant shutdowns are very large.