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 even twist the yield curve, and lead to an upward-sloping yield curve on average.
AUTHORS: Atkeson, Andrew; Kehoe, Patrick J.; Alvarez, Fernando
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 consistent, then the Friedman rule is optimal.
AUTHORS: Kehoe, Patrick J.; Alvarez, Fernando; Neumeyer, Pablo
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 conditional variances and nearly no changes in conditional means. In this sense standard monetary models capture essentially none of what is going on in the data. We thus argue that almost everything we say about monetary policy using these models is wrong.> Replaces Working Paper No. 650
AUTHORS: Atkeson, Andrew; Alvarez, Fernando; Kehoe, Patrick J.
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 market segmentation.
AUTHORS: Atkeson, Andrew; Kehoe, Patrick J.; Alvarez, Fernando
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 inventories in the model are calibrated to match U.S. households' holdings of M2.
AUTHORS: Alvarez, Fernando; Edmond, Chris; Atkeson, Andrew
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 premium for aggregate risk. Likewise, for a given economy, we ?nd that assets whose cash ?ows are concentrated on states with high trading volume have higher prices and lower risk premia. We then show that Tobin taxes on asset trade have a ?rst-order negative impact on ex-ante welfare, i.e., a small subsidy to trade leads to an improvement in ex-ante welfare. Finally, we develop an alternative version of our model in which asset trade arises from uninsurable idiosyncratic shocks to agents? hedging needs rather than shocks to their risk tolerance. We show that our positive results regarding the relationship between trade volume and asset prices carry through. In contrast, the normative implications of this speci?cation of our model for Tobin taxes or subsidies depend on the speci?cation of agents? preferences and non-traded endowments.
AUTHORS: Alvarez, Fernando; Atkeson, Andrew
Banking in computable general equilibrium economies: technical appendices I and II
Following are the technical appendixes for ?Banking in Computable Equilibrium Economies? by Javier Daz-Gimnez, Edward C. Prescott, Terry Fitzgerald, and Fernando Alvarez, in Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control 16 (1992), 533?59. Technical Appendix I, by Fernando Alvarez, describes the procedures used to construct the balance sheets reported in Tables 1 and 2 in page 536 and 537 of the paper. Technical Appendix II, by Terry Fitzgerald, describes the computational procedures used in this paper.
AUTHORS: Fitzgerald, Terry J.; Alvarez, Fernando
Banking in computable general equilibrium economies
In this paper we develop a computable general equilibrium economy that models the banking sector explicitly. Banks intermediate between households and between the household sector and the government sector. Households borrow from banks to finance their purchases of houses and they lend to banks to save for retirement. Banks pool households? savings and they purchase interest-bearing government debt and non-interest bearing reserves. We use this structure to answer two sets of questions: one normative in nature that evaluates the welfare costs of alternative monetary and tax policies, and one positive in nature that studies the real effects of following a procyclical interest-rate policy rule.
AUTHORS: Alvarez, Fernando; Diaz-Gimenez, Javier; Prescott, Edward C.; Fitzgerald, Terry J.
Money, interest rates, and exchange rates with endogenously segmented markets
This paper analyzes the effects of money injections on interest rates and exchange rates in a model in which agents must pay a Baumol-Tobin style fixed cost to exchange bonds and money. Asset markets are endogenously segmented because this fixed cost leads agents to trade bonds and money only infrequently. When the government injects money through an open market operation, only those agents that are currently trading absorb these injections. Through their impact on these agents? consumption, these money injections affect real interest rates and real exchange rates. We show that the model generates the observed negative relation between expected inflation and real interest rates. With moderate amounts of segmentation, the model also generates other observed features of the data: persistent liquidity effects in interest rates and volatile and persistent exchange rates. A standard model with no fixed costs can produce none of these features.
AUTHORS: Kehoe, Patrick J.; Atkeson, Andrew; Alvarez, Fernando
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 is 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: fluctuations in interest rates are associated with nearly one-for-one changes in conditional variances and nearly no changes in conditional means. In this sense standard monetary models capture essentially none of what is going on in the data. We thus argue that almost everything we say about monetary policy using these models is wrong.
AUTHORS: Kehoe, Patrick J.; Alvarez, Fernando; Atkeson, Andrew