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Author:Aiyagari, S. Rao 

Journal Article
On the contribution of technology shocks to business cycles
This article contends that the various measures of the contribution of technology shocks to business cycles calculated using the real business cycle modeling method are not corroborated. The article focuses on a different and much simpler method for calculating the contribution of technology shocks, which takes account of facts concerning the productivity/labor input correlation and the variability of labor input relative to output. Under several standard assumptions, the method predicts that the contribution of technology shocks must be large (at least 78 percent), that the labor supply elasticity need not be large to explain the observed fluctuation in labor input, and that the contribution of technology shocks can be estimated fairly precisely. The method also estimates that the contribution of technology shocks could be lower than 78 percent under alternative assumptions. ; Reprinted in the Quarterly Review, Summer 1997 (v. 21, no. 3)
AUTHORS: Aiyagari, S. Rao
DATE: 1994

Journal Article
Explaining financial market facts: the importance of incomplete markets and transaction costs
In this article, I suggest that incomplete markets and transaction costs are crucial for explaining the high equity premium and the low risk-free rate. I first demonstrate the failure of the complete frictionless markets model in explaining these return puzzles and then show how introducing incomplete markets and transaction costs can lead to success. Additionally, I explain how these features lead to predictions concerning individual consumptions, wealths, portfolios, and asset market transactions that are in better agreement with the facts than the predictions of the complete frictionless markets model.
AUTHORS: Aiyagari, S. Rao
DATE: 1993

Journal Article
Deficits, interest rates, and the tax distribution
AUTHORS: Aiyagari, S. Rao
DATE: 1985

Journal Article
Deflating the case for zero inflation
This paper analyzes the U.S. congressional proposal to instruct the Federal Reserve to, in the next five years, lower inflation to zero from its current rate of around 5 percent. The paper concludes that, when other policy options are considered, the zero inflation policy is not advisable. Its benefits would be very small--possibly negative--while its costs would probably be significant. Other, more direct policy options could produce most of the same benefits with fewer costs. Among these alternative policies are deregulating interest rates on demand deposits, paying interest on financial institution reserves, lowering the federal tax rate on capital income, and indexing the federal tax code to inflation. ; Reprinted in Quarterly Review, v. 21, no. 3, Summer 1997.
AUTHORS: Aiyagari, S. Rao
DATE: 1990

Report
Can there be short-period deterministic cycles when people are long lived?
This paper considers whether short-period deterministic cycles can exist in a class of stationary overlapping generations models with long- (but finite-) lived agents. It shows that if agents discount the future positively, then as life spans get large, nonmonetary cycles will disappear. Further, neither constant monetary steady states nor stationary monetary cycles can exist. It also shows that if agents discount the future negatively, then there are robust examples in which constant monetary steady states as well as stationary monetary cycles (with undiminished amplitude) can occur no matter how long agents live.
AUTHORS: Aiyagari, S. Rao
DATE: 1988

Report
The optimum quantity of debt
We find that the welfare gains to being at the optimum quantity of debt rather than the current U.S. level are small, and, therefore, concerns regarding the high level of debt in the U.S. economy may be misplaced. This finding is based on a model of a large number of infinitely-lived households whose saving behavior is influenced by precautionary saving motives and borrowing constraints. This model incorporates a different role for government debt than is found in standard models, and it captures different cost-benefit trade-offs. On the benefit side, government debt enhances the liquidity of households by providing an additional means of smoothing consumption and by effectively loosening borrowing constraints. On the cost side, the implied taxes have adverse wealth distribution and incentive effects. In addition, government debt crowds out capital via higher interest rates and lowers per capita consumption.
AUTHORS: McGrattan, Ellen R.; Aiyagari, S. Rao
DATE: 1997

Report
Social insurance and taxation under sequential majority voting and utilitarian regimes
It is often argued that with a positively skewed income distribution (median less than mean) majority voting would result in higher tax rates than maximizing average welfare and, hence, lower aggregate savings. We reexamine this view in a capital accumulation model, in which distorting redistributive taxes provide insurance against idiosyncratic shocks and income distributions evolve endogenously. We find small differences of either sign between the tax rates set by a majority voting and a utilitarian government, for reasonable parametric specifications, despite the fact that model simulations produce positively skewed distributions of total income across agents.
AUTHORS: Peled, Dan; Aiyagari, S. Rao
DATE: 1995

Report
Comments on Farmer and Guo's \\"the econometrics of indeterminacy: an applied study.\\"
I argue that Farmer and Guo's one-sector real business cycle model with indeterminacy and sunspots fails empirically and that its failure is inherent in the logic of the model taken together with some simple labor market facts.
AUTHORS: Aiyagari, S. Rao
DATE: 1995

Discussion Paper
Efficient investment in children
Many would say that children are societys most precious resource. So, how should it invest in them? To gain insight into this question, a dynamic general equilibrium model is developed where children differ by ability. Parents invest time and money in their offspring, depending on their altruism. This allows their children to grow up as more productive adults. First, the efficient allocation for the framework is characterized. Next, this is compared with the case of incomplete financial markets. Then, the situation where childcare markets are also lacking is examined. Additionally, the effects of impure altruism are analyzed.
AUTHORS: Greenwood, Jeremy; Aiyagari, S. Rao; Seshadri, Ananth
DATE: 1999

Discussion Paper
The output, employment, and interest rate effects of government consumption
This paper investigates the impact of aggregate variables of changes in government consumption in the context of a stochastic, neoclassical growth model. We show, theoretically, that the impact on output and employment of a persistent change in government consumption exceeds that of a temporary change. We also show that, in principle, there can be an analog to the Keynesian multiplier in the neoclassical growth model. Finally, in an empirically plausible version of the model, we show that the interest rate impact of a persistent government consumption shock exceeds that of a temporary one. Our results provide counterexamples to existing claims in the literature.
AUTHORS: Aiyagari, S. Rao; Eichenbaum, Martin; Christiano, Lawrence J.
DATE: 1990

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