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Author:Acharya, Sushant 

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Asset price effects of peer benchmarking: evidence from a natural experiment
We estimate the effects of peer benchmarking by institutional investors on asset prices. To identify trades purely due to peer benchmarking as separate from those based on fundamentals or private information, we exploit a natural experiment involving a change in a government-imposed underperformance penalty applicable to Colombian pension funds. This change in regulation is orthogonal to stock fundamentals and only affects incentives to track peer portfolios, allowing us to identify the component of demand that is caused by peer benchmarking. We find that these peer effects generate excess stock return volatility, with stocks exhibiting short-term abnormal returns followed by returns reversal in the subsequent quarter. Additionally, peer benchmarking produces an excess in comovement across stock returns beyond the correlation implied by fundamentals.
AUTHORS: Acharya, Sushant; Pedraza, Alvaro
DATE: 2015-05-01

Report
Replacement hiring and the productivity-wage gap
A large and growing share of hires in the United States are replacement hires. This increase coincides with a growing productivity-wage gap. We connect these trends by building a model where firms post long-lived vacancies and engage in on-the-job search for more productive workers. These features improve a firm's bargaining position while raising workers' job insecurity and the wedge between hiring and meeting rates. All three channels lower wages while raising productivity. Quantitatively, increased replacement hiring explains half the increase in the productivity-wage gap. The socially efficient outcome features fewer low-productivity jobs and a 10 percent narrower productivity-wage gap.
AUTHORS: Acharya, Sushant; Wee, Shu Lin
DATE: 2018-06-01

Report
Rational inattention in hiring decisions
We provide an information-based theory of matching efficiency fluctuations. Rationally inattentive firms have limited capacity to process information and cannot perfectly identify suitable applicants. During recessions, higher losses from hiring unsuitable workers cause firms to be more selective in hiring. When firms cannot obtain sufficient information about applicants, they err on the side of caution and accept fewer applicants to minimize losses from hiring unsuitable workers. Pro-cyclical acceptance rates drive a wedge between meeting and hiring rates, explaining fluctuations in matching efficiency. Quantitatively, our model replicates the joint behavior of unemployment rates and matching efficiency observed since the Great Recession.
AUTHORS: Acharya, Sushant; Wee, Shu Lin
DATE: 2019-02-01

Report
The side effects of safe asset creation
We present an incomplete markets model to understand the costs and benefits of increasing government debt in a low interest rate environment. Higher risk increases the demand for safe assets, lowering the natural rate of interest below zero, constraining monetary policy at the zero lower bound, and raising unemployment. Higher government debt satiates the demand for safe assets, raising the natural rate and restoring full employment. While this permanently lowers investment, a policymaker committed to low inflation has no alternative. Higher inflation targets, instead, permit both full employment and high investment, but allow for harmful bubbles. Aggressive fiscal policy can prevent bubbles.
AUTHORS: Acharya, Sushant; Dogra, Keshav
DATE: 2018-03-01

Report
Costly information, planning complementarities and the Phillips Curve
Standard sticky information pricing models successfully capture the sluggish movement of aggregate prices in response to monetary policy shocks but fail at matching the magnitude and frequency of price changes at the micro level. This paper shows that in a setting where firms choose when to acquire costly information about different types of shocks, strategic complementarities in pricing generate planning complementarities. This results in firms optimally updating their information about monetary policy shocks less frequently than about idiosyncratic shocks. When calibrated to match frequent and large price changes observed in micro pricing data, the model is still capable of producing substantial non-neutralities. In addition, I use the model consistent Phillips curve and data from the Survey of Professional Forecasters to estimate the frequency at which firms update their information about monetary policy shocks. I find that the frequency of updating was higher in the 1970s compared to subsequent decades and hence conclude that monetary policy in the U.S. was relatively less effective prior to the 1980s.
AUTHORS: Acharya, Sushant
DATE: 2014-11-01

Report
Slow recoveries and unemployment traps: monetary policy in a time of hysteresis
We analyze monetary policy in a model where temporary shocks can permanently scar the economy's productive capacity. Unemployed workers? skill losses generate multiple steady-state unemployment rates. When monetary policy is constrained by the zero bound, large shocks reduce hiring to a point where the economy recovers slowly at best?at worst, it falls into a permanent unemployment trap. Since monetary policy is powerless to escape such traps ex post, it must avoid them ex ante. The model quantitatively accounts for the slow U.S. recovery following the Great Recession, and suggests that lack of swift monetary accommodation helps explain the European periphery?s stagnation.
AUTHORS: Acharya, Sushant; Bengui, Julien; Dogra, Keshav; Wee, Shu Lin
DATE: 2017-11-01

Report
Understanding HANK: insights from a PRANK
We show analytically that whether incomplete markets resolve New Keynesian ?paradoxes? depends primarily on the cyclicality of income risk, rather than marginal propensity to consume (MPC) heterogeneity. Incomplete markets reduce the effectiveness of forward guidance and multipliers in a liquidity trap only with procyclical risk. Countercyclical risk amplifies these ?puzzles.? Procyclical risk permits determinacy under a peg; countercyclical risk generates indeterminacy even under the Taylor principle. MPC heterogeneity leaves determinacy and paradoxes qualitatively unaffected, but can change the sensitivity of GDP to interest rates. By affecting the cyclicality of risk, even ?passive? fiscal policy influences the effects of monetary policy.
AUTHORS: Acharya, Sushant; Dogra, Keshav
DATE: 2018-02-01

Report
Liquidity traps, capital flows
Motivated by debates surrounding international capital flows during the Great Recession, we conduct a positive and normative analysis of capital flows when a region of the global economy experiences a liquidity trap. Capital flows reduce inefficient output fluctuations in this region by inducing exchange rate movements that reallocate expenditure toward the goods it produces. Restricting capital mobility hampers such an adjustment. From a global perspective, constrained efficiency entails subsidizing capital flows to address an aggregate demand externality associated with exchange rate movements. Absent cooperation, however, dynamic terms-of-trade manipulation motives drive countries to inefficiently restrict capital flows, impeding aggregate demand stabilization.
AUTHORS: Acharya, Sushant; Bengui, Julien
DATE: 2016-01-01

Discussion Paper
Natural Experiment Sheds Light on the Market Effects of Herding
Pension funds are expected to behave in a patient, countercyclical manner, making the most of low valuations over the business cycle to achieve high returns. Such behavior provides liquidity and stability to the financial system. However, this belief has come under question. A large theoretical literature has emerged which looks at how short-term considerations affecting these institutional investors might arise from relative performance concerns or from the influence of other incentives introduced by market and regulatory monitoring. Such considerations might incentivize fund managers to mimic others and herd toward common assets. Given the sizable wealth under management by these investors, such herding behavior can potentially have large effects on asset prices both in the short and long run.
AUTHORS: Acharya, Sushant; Pedraza, Alvaro
DATE: 9/30/2015

Discussion Paper
Revisiting the Case for International Policy Coordination
Prompted by the U.S. financial crisis and subsequent global recession, policymakers in advanced economies slashed interest rates dramatically, hitting the zero lower bound (ZLB), and then implemented unconventional policies such as large-scale asset purchases. In emerging economies, however, the policy response was more subdued since they were less affected by the financial crisis. As a result, capital flows from advanced to emerging economies increased markedly in response to widening interest rate differentials. Some emerging economies reacted by adopting measures to slow down capital inflows, acting under the presumption that these flows were harmful. This type of policy response has reignited the debate over how to moderate international spillovers.
AUTHORS: Acharya, Sushant; Akinci, Ozge; De Paoli, Bianca; Bengui, Julien
DATE: 6/1/2016

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