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Author:Aguiar, Mark 

Discussion Paper
Lifestyle prices and production
Using scanner data and time diaries, we document how households substitute time for money through shopping and home production. We find evidence that there is substantial heterogeneity in prices paid across households for identical consumption goods in the same metro area at any given point in time. For identical goods, prices paid are highest for middle-aged, rich, and large households, consistent with the hypothesis that shopping intensity is low when the cost of time is high. The data suggest that a doubling of shopping frequency lowers the price paid for a given good by approximately 10 percent. From this elasticity and observed shopping intensity, we impute the shopper?s opportunity cost of time, which peaks in middle age at a level roughly 40 percent higher than that of retirees. Using this measure of the price of time and observed time spent in home production, we estimate the parameters of a home production function. We find an elasticity of substitution between time and market goods in home production of close to 2. Finally, we use the estimated elasticities for shopping and home production to calibrate an augmented lifecycle consumption model. The augmented model predicts the observed empirical patterns quite well. Taken together, our results highlight the danger of interpreting lifecycle expenditure without acknowledging the changing demands on time and the available margins of substituting time for money.
AUTHORS: Hurst, Erik; Aguiar, Mark
DATE: 2005

Working Paper
Emerging market business cycles: the cycle is the trend
Business cycles in emerging markets are characterized by strongly counter-cyclical current accounts, consumption volatility that exceeds income volatility, and dramatic ?sudden stops? in capital inflows. These features contrast with those of developed, small open economies and highlight the uniqueness of emerging markets. Nevertheless, we show that both qualitatively and quantitatively a standard dynamic stochastic, small open economy model can account for the behavior of both types of markets. Motivated by the observed frequent policy-regime switches in emerging markets, our underlying premise is that these economies are subject to substantial volatility in their trend growth rates relative to developed markets. ; Consequently, shocks to trend growth--rather than transitory fluctuations around a stable trend--are the primary source of fluctuations in these markets. When the parameters of the income process are structurally estimated using GMM for each type of economy, we find that the observed predominance of permanent shocks relative to transitory shocks for emerging markets and the reverse for developed markets explain differences in key features of their business cycles. Lastly, employing a VAR methodology to identify permanent shocks, we find further support for the notion that, for emerging economies, the cycle is the trend.
AUTHORS: Gopinath, Gita; Aguiar, Mark
DATE: 2004

Working Paper
Defaultable debt, interest rates, and the current account
World capital markets have experienced large-scale sovereign defaults on a number of occasions, the most recent being Argentina?s default in 2002. In this paper, we develop a quantitative model of debt and default in a small open economy. We use this model to match four empirical regularities regarding emerging markets: defaults occur in equilibrium, interest rates are countercyclical, net exports are countercyclical, and interest rates and the current account are positively correlated. That is, emerging markets on average borrow more in good times and at lower interest rates than in slumps. Our ability to match these facts within the framework of an otherwise standard business-cycle model with endogenous default relies on the importance of a stochastic trend in emerging markets.
AUTHORS: Gopinath, Gita; Aguiar, Mark
DATE: 2004

Working Paper
Measuring trends in leisure: the allocation of time over five decades
In this paper, we use five decades of time-use surveys to document trends in the allocation of time. We document that a dramatic increase in leisure time lies behind the relatively stable number of market hours worked (per working-age adult) between 1965 and 2003. Specifically, we document that leisure for men increased by 6-8 hours per week (driven by a decline in market work hours) and for women by 4-8 hours per week (driven by a decline in home production work hours). This increase in leisure corresponds to roughly an additional 5 to 10 weeks of vacation per year, assuming a 40-hour work week. We also find that leisure increased during the last 40 years for a number of sub-samples of the population, with less-educated adults experiencing the largest increases. Lastly, we document a growing ?inequality? in leisure that is the mirror image of the growing inequality of wages and expenditures, making welfare calculation based solely on the latter series incomplete.
AUTHORS: Aguiar, Mark; Hurst, Erik
DATE: 2006

Working Paper
Efficient expropriation: sustainable fiscal policy in a small open economy
We study a small open economy characterized by two empirically important frictions? incomplete financial markets and an inability of the government to commit to policy. We characterize the best sustainable fiscal policy and show that it can amplify and prolong shocks to output. In particular, even when the government is completely benevolent, the government?s credibility not to expropriate capital varies endogenously with the state of the economy and may be ?scarcest? during recessions. This increased threat of expropriation depresses investment, prolonging downturns. It is the incompleteness of financial markets and the lack of commitment that generate investment cycles even in an environment where first-best capital stock is constant.
AUTHORS: Gopinath, Gita; Aguiar, Mark; Amador, Manuel
DATE: 2006

Conference Paper
Measuring trends in leisure
In this paper, we use five decades of time-use surveys to document trends in the allocation of time. We find that a dramatic increase in leisure time lies behind the relatively stable number of market hours worked (per working-age adult) between 1965 and 2003. Specifically, we show that leisure for men increased by 6-8 hours per week (driven by a decline in market work hours) and for women by 4-8 hours per week (driven by a decline in home production work hours). This increase in leisure corresponds to roughly an additional 5 to 10 weeks of vacation per year, assuming a 40-hour work week. Alternatively, the ?consumption equivalent? of the increase in leisure is valued at 8 to 9 percent of total 2003 U.S. consumption expenditures. We also find that leisure increased during the last 40 years for a number of sub-samples of the population, with less educated adults experiencing the largest increases. Lastly, we document a growing ?inequality? in leisure that is the mirror image of the growing inequality of wages and expenditures, making welfare calculation based solely on the latter series incomplete.
AUTHORS: Aguiar, Mark; Hurst, Erik
DATE: 2006

Conference Paper
Defaultable debt, interest rates and the current account
World capital markets have experienced large scale sovereign defaults on a number of occasions, the most recent being Argentina?s default in 2002. In this paper we develop a quantitative model of debt and default in a small open economy. We use this model to match four empirical regularities regarding emerging markets: defaults occur in equilibrium, interest rates are countercyclical, net exports are countercyclical, and interest rates and the current account are positively correlated. That is, emerging markets on average borrow more in good times and at lower interest rates as compared to slumps. Our ability to match these facts within the framework of an otherwise standard business cycle model with endogenous default relies on the importance of a stochastic trend in emerging markets.
AUTHORS: Gopinath, Gita; Aguiar, Mark
DATE: 2004-06

Working Paper
Defaultable debt, interest rates and the current account
World capital markets have experienced large scale sovereign defaults on a number of occasions, the most recent being Argentina?s default in 2002. In this paper we develop a quantitative model of debt and default in a small open economy. We use this model to match four empirical regularities regarding emerging markets: defaults occur in equilibrium, interest rates are countercyclical, net exports are countercyclical, and interest rates and the current account are positively correlated. That is, emerging markets on average borrow more in good times and at lower interest rates as compared to slumps. Our ability to match these facts within the framework of an otherwise standard business cycle model with endogenous default relies on the importance of a stochastic trend in emerging markets.
AUTHORS: Aguiar, Mark; Gopinath, Gita
DATE: 2004

Working Paper
Self-Fulfilling Debt Crises, Revisited
We revisit self-fulfilling rollover crises by exploring the potential uncertainty introduced by a gap in time (however small) between an auction of new debt and the payment of maturing liabilities. It is well known (Cole and Kehoe, 2000) that the lack of commitment at the time of auction to repayment of imminently maturing debt can generate a run on debt, leading to a failed auction and immediate default. We show that the same lack of commitment leads to a rich set of possible self-fulfilling crises, including a government that issues more debt because of the crisis, albeit at depressed prices. Another possible outcome is a “sudden stop” (or forced austerity) in which the government sharply curtails debt issuance. Both outcomes stem from the government’s incentive to eliminate uncertainty about imminent payments at the time of auction by altering the level of debt issuance. In an otherwise standard quantitative version of the model, including such crises in-creases the default probabilities by a factor of five and the spread volatility by a factor of twenty-five.
AUTHORS: Chatterjee, Satyajit; Cole, Harold L.; Aguiar, Mark; Stangebye, Zachary
DATE: 2020-01-22

Working Paper
Self-Fulfilling Debt Crises, Revisited: The Art of the Desperate Deal
We revisit self-fulfilling rollover crises by introducing an alternative equilibrium selection that involves bond auctions at depressed but strictly positive equilibrium prices, a scenario in line with observed sovereign debt crises. We refer to these auctions as ?desperate deals?, the defining feature of which is a price schedule that makes the government indifferent to default or repayment. The government randomizes at the time of repayment, which we show can be implemented in pure strategies by introducing stochastic political payoffs or external bailouts. Quantitatively, auctions at fire-sale prices are crucial for generating realistic spread volatility.
AUTHORS: Aguiar, Mark; Stangebye, Zachary; Chatterjee, Satyajit; Cole, Harold L.
DATE: 2017-03-27

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