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Author:Alvarez, Fernando 

Money and interest rates with endogeneously segmented markets

This paper analyses the effects of open market operations on interest rates in a model in which agents must pay a fixed cost to exchange assets and cash. Asset markets are endogenously segmented in that some agents choose to pay the fixed cost and some do not. When the fixed cost is zero, the model reduces to the standard one in which persistent money injections increase nominal interest rates, flatten the yield curve, and lead to a downward-sloping yield curve on average. In contrast, if markets are sufficiently segmented, then persistent money injections decrease interest rates, steepen or ...
Staff Report , Paper 260

The time consistency of monetary and fiscal policies

We show that optimal monetary and fiscal policies are time consistent for a class of economies often used in applied work, economies appealing because they are consistent with the growth facts. We establish our results in two steps. We first show that for this class of economies, the Friedman rule of setting nominal interest rates to zero is optimal under commitment. We then show that optimal policies are time consistent if the Friedman rule is optimal. For our benchmark economy in which the time consistency problem is most severe, the converse also holds: if optimal policies are time ...
Staff Report , Paper 305

Working Paper
Labor market policies in an equilibrium search model

We explore to what extent differences in employment and unemployment across economies can be generated by differences in labor market policies. We use a version of the Lucas-Prescott equilibrium search model with undirected search and endogenous labor-force participation. Minimum wages, degree of unionization, firing taxes, and unemployment benefits are introduced and their effects analyzed. When the model is calibrated to US observations it reproduces several of the elasticities of employment and unemployment with respect to changes in policies reported in the empirical literature. We find ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-99-10

Working Paper
Fixed term employment contracts in an equilibrium search model

Fixed term employment contracts have been introduced in number of European countries as a way to provide flexibility to economies with high employment protection levels. We introduce these contracts into the equilibrium search model in Alvarez and Veracierto (1999), a version of the Lucas and Prescott island model, adapted to have undirected search and variable labor force participation. We model a contract of length J as a tax on separations of workers with tenure higher than J. We show a version of the welfare theorems, and characterize the efficient allocations. This requires solving a ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-05-14

Working Paper
Search, self-insurance and job-security provisions

We construct a general equilibrium model to evaluate the quantitative effects of severance payments in the presence of contracting and reallocational frictions. Key elements of the model are: 1) establishment level dynamics, 2) imperfect insurance markets, and 3) variable search decisions. Contrary to previous studies that analyzed severance payments in frictionless environments, we find that severance payments reduce unemployment, produce negative insurance effects and improve levels.
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-98-2

Working Paper
Mandatory Disclosure and Financial Contagion

This paper analyzes the welfare implications of mandatory disclosure of losses at financial institutions when it is common knowledge that some banks have incurred losses but not which ones. We develop a model that features contagion, meaning that banks not hit by shocks may still suffer losses because of their exposure to banks that are. In addition, we assume banks can profitably invest funds provided by outsiders, but will divert these funds if their equity is low. Investors thus value knowing which banks were hit by shocks to assess the equity of the banks they invest in. We find that when ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2014-4

If exchange rates are random walks, then almost everything we say about monetary policy is wrong

The key question asked by standard monetary models used for policy analysis, How do changes in short-term interest rates affect the economy? All of the standard models imply that such changes in interest rates affect the economy by altering the conditional means of the macroeconomic aggregates and have no effect on the conditional variances of these aggregates. We argue that the data on exchange rates imply nearly the opposite: the observation that exchange rates are approximately random walks implies that fluctuations in interest rates are associated with nearly one-for-one changes in ...
Staff Report , Paper 388

Time-varying risk, interest rates, and exchange rates in general equilibrium

Under mild assumptions, the data indicate that fluctuations in nominal interest rate differentials across currencies are primarily fluctuations in time-varying risk. This finding is an immediate implication of the fact that exchange rates are roughly random walks. If most fluctuations in interest differentials are thought to be driven by monetary policy, then the data call for a theory which explains how changes in monetary policy change risk. Here we propose such a theory based on a general equilibrium monetary model with an endogenous source of risk variation - a variable degree of asset ...
Staff Report , Paper 371

Sluggish responses of prices and inflation to monetary shocks in an inventory model of money demand

We examine the responses of prices and inflation to monetary shocks in an inventory-theoretic model of money demand. We show that the price level responds sluggishly to an exogenous increase in the money stock because the dynamics of households' money inventories leads to a partially offsetting endogenous reduction in velocity. We also show that inflation responds sluggishly to an exogenous increase in the nominal interest rate because changes in monetary policy affect the real interest rate. In a quantitative example, we show that this nominal sluggishness is substantial and persistent if ...
Staff Report , Paper 417

The Risk of Becoming Risk Averse: A Model of Asset Pricing and Trade Volumes

We develop a new general equilibrium model of asset pricing and asset trading volume in which agents? motivations to trade arise due to uninsurable idiosyncratic shocks to agents? risk tolerance. In response to these shocks, agents trade to rebalance their portfolios between risky and riskless assets. We study a positive question ? When does trade volume become a pricing factor? ? and a normative question ? What is the impact of Tobin taxes on asset trading on welfare? In our model, economies in which marketwide risk tolerance is negatively correlated with trade volume have a higher risk ...
Staff Report , Paper 577



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