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Author:Alquist, Ron 

Working Paper
Forecasting the price of oil
We address some of the key questions that arise in forecasting the price of crude oil. What do applied forecasters need to know about the choice of sample period and about the tradeoffs between alternative oil price series and model specifications? Are real or nominal oil prices predictable based on macroeconomic aggregates? Does this predictability translate into gains in out-of-sample forecast accuracy compared with conventional no-change forecasts? How useful are oil futures markets in forecasting the price of oil? How useful are survey forecasts? How does one evaluate the sensitivity of a baseline oil price forecast to alternative assumptions about future demand and supply conditions? How does one quantify risks associated with oil price forecasts? Can joint forecasts of the price of oil and of U.S. real GDP growth be improved upon by allowing for asymmetries?
AUTHORS: Kilian, Lutz; Alquist, Ron; Vigfusson, Robert J.
DATE: 2011

Working Paper
Did adhering to the gold standard reduce the cost of capital?
A commonly cited benefit of the pre-World War One gold standard is that it reduced the cost of international borrowing by signaling a country?s commitment to financial probity. Using a newly constructed data set that consists of more than 55,000 monthly sovereign bond returns, we test if gold-standard adherence was negatively correlated with the cost of capital. Conditional on UK risk factors, we find no evidence that the bonds issued by countries off gold earned systematically higher excess returns than the bonds issued by countries on gold. Our results are robust to allowing betas to differ across bonds issued by countries off- and on-gold; to including proxies that capture the effect of fiscal, monetary, and trade shocks on the commitment to gold; and to controlling for the effect of membership in the British Empire.
AUTHORS: Alquist, Ron; Chabot, Benjamin
DATE: 2010

Working Paper
Institutions, the cost of capital, and long-run economic growth: evidence from the 19th century capital market
Late 19th century investors demanded compensation to invest in countries with poor institutional protection of property rights. Using the monthly stock returns of 1,808 firms located in 43 countries but traded in London between 1866 and 1907, we estimate the country-specific cost of capital. We find a negative relationship between institutions that protect property rights and capital costs. Firms located in countries with weak institutions were charged a premium compared to similarly risky firms located in countries with strong institutions, and this penalty appeared to be costly in terms of future growth. Countries that paid a premium for borrowing in London during this period grew more slowly after 1913 and are poorer today. We thus identify the capital market as a channel through which strong institutions promote growth.
AUTHORS: Alquist, Ron; Chabot, Benjamin
DATE: 2012

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