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Author:Aiyagari, S. Rao 

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 ...
Quarterly Review , Volume 17 , Issue Win , Pages 17-31

Working Paper
Optimality and monetary equilibria in stationary overlapping generations models with long lived agents: growth versus discounting

This paper studies the relationship between the existence and optimality of a monetary steady-state and the nonoptimality of nonmonetary steady-states. We construct a sequence of stationary overlapping generations economies with longer and longer lived generations in which all agents maximize a discounted sum of utilities with a common discount rate. Under some assumptions the following result is established: If the discount rate is greater (less) than the population growth rate, then eventually every nonmonetary steady-state is optimal (non-optimal) and a monetary steady-state does not exist ...
Working Papers , Paper 312

Working Paper
Comments on Farmer and Guo's \\"The econometrics of indeterminacy: an applied study.\\"

(replaced by Staff Report No. 196)
Working Papers , Paper 543

Working Paper
The optimal quantity of debt

We describe a model for calculating the optimal quantity of debt and then apply it to the U.S. economy. The model consists 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 the standard representative agent growth model and captures different trade-offs between the benefits and costs of varying its level. Government debt enhances the liquidity of households by providing additional assets for smoothing consumption (in addition to claims ...
Working Papers , Paper 538

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 ...
Staff Report , Paper 114

Working Paper
Optimal capital income taxation with incomplete markets, borrowing constraints, and constant discounting

For a wide class of dynamic models, Chamley (1986) has shown that the optimal capital income tax rate is zero in the long run. Lucas (1990) has argued that for the U.S. economy there is a significant welfare gain from switching to this policy. We show that for the Bewley (1986) class of models with heterogeneous agents and incomplete markets (due to uninsured idiosyncratic shocks), and borrowing constraints the optimal tax rate on capital income is positive even in the long run. Quantitative analysis of a parametric version of such a model suggests that one cannot dismiss the possibility that ...
Working Papers , Paper 508

Journal Article
Macroeconomics with frictions

This article is a progress report on research that attempts to include one type of market incompleteness and frictions in macroeconomic models. The focus of the research is the absence of insurance markets in which individual-specific risks may be insured against. The article describes some areas where this type of research has been and promises to be particularly useful, including consumption and saving, wealth distribution, asset markets, business cycles, and fiscal policies. The article also describes work in each of these areas that was presented at a conference sponsored by the Federal ...
Quarterly Review , Volume 18 , Issue Sum , Pages 24-40

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 ...
Staff Report , Paper 203

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. ...
Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics , Paper 25

Transaction services, inflation, and welfare

This paper is motivated by empirical observations on the comovements of currency velocity, inflation, and the relative size of the credit services sector. We document these comovements and incorporate into a monetary growth model a credit services sector that provides services that help people economize on money. Our model makes two new contributions. First, we show that direct evidence on the appropriately defined credit service sector for the United States is consistent with the welfare cost measured using an estimated money demand schedule. Second, we provide welfare cost of inflation ...
Staff Report , Paper 241


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