A Model of U.S. Monetary Policy Before and After the Great Recession
The author studies a simple dynamic general equilibrium monetary model to interpret key macroeconomic developments in the U.S. economy both before and after the Great Recession. In normal times, when the Federal Reserve?s policy rate is above the interest paid on reserves, countercyclical monetary policy works in a textbook manner. When a shock drives the policy rate to the zero lower bound, the economy enters a liquidity-trap scenario in which open market purchases of government securities have no real or nominal effects, apart from expanding the supply of excess reserves in the banking ...
Fiscal multipliers in war and in peace
Proponents of fiscal stimulus argue that government spending is needed to replace the private spending normally lost during a recession. Estimates of the so-called fiscal multiplier based on wartime episodes are used to support the proposition that a peacetime intervention can "stimulate" the economy in a desirable manner. The author argues that a wartime crisis is fundamentally different from a peacetime economic crisis. What may be desirable in war is not necessarily so in peace. This is demonstrated formally in the context of a simple neoclassical model, which delivers fiscal ...
Optimal disclosure policy and undue diligence
While both public and private financial agencies supply asset markets with large amounts of information, they do not generally disclose all asset-related information to the general public. This observation leads us to ask what principles might govern the optimal disclosure policy for an asset manager or financial regulator. To investigate this question, we study the properties of a dynamic economy endowed with a risky asset, and with individuals that lack commitment. Information relating to future asset returns is available to society at zero cost. Legislation dictates whether this ...
Monetary policy regimes and beliefs
Recent monetary history has been characterized by monetary authorities that appear to shift periodically between distinct policy regimes associated with higher or lower average rates of money creation. As policy regimes are not directly observable and as the rate of monetary expansion varies for reasons other than regime changes, the general public must form beliefs over current monetary policy based on historical realizations of money growth rates. Depending on the parameters governing the behaviour of monetary policy, beliefs (and therefore inflation forecasts) may evolve very slowly in ...
Rehypothecation and Liquidity
We develop a dynamic general equilibrium monetary model where a shortage of collateral and incomplete markets motivate the formation of credit relationships and the rehypothecation of assets. Rehypothecation improves resource allocation because it permits liquidity to flow where it is most needed. The liquidity benefits associated with rehypothecation are shown to be more important in high-inflation (high interest rate) regimes. Regulations restricting the practice are shown to have very different consequences depending on how they are designed. Assigning collateral to segregated accounts, as ...
Maturity Structure and Liquidity Risk
This paper studies the optimal maturity structure for government debt when markets for liquidity insurance are incomplete or non-competitive. There is no fiscal risk. Government debt in the model solves a dynamic inefficiency. Issuing debt in short and long maturities solves a liquidity insurance problem, but optimal yield curve policy is only possible if long-duration debt is rendered illiquid. Optimal policy is implementable through treasury operations only--adjustments in the primary deficit are not necessary.
Shadow Bank Runs
Short-term debt is commonly used to fund illiquid assets. A conventional view asserts that such arrangements are run-prone in part because redemptions must be processed on a first-come, first-served basis. This sequential service protocol, however, appears absent in the wholesale banking sector---and yet, shadow banks appear vulnerable to runs. We explain how banking arrangements that fund fixed-cost operations using short-term debt can be run-prone even in the absence of sequential service. Interventions designed to eliminate run risk may or may not improve depositor welfare. We describe how ...
The simple analytics of money and credit in a quasi-linear environment
Lagos and Wright (2005) demonstrate how the essential properties of a money-search model are preserved in an environment that is rendered highly tractable with the use of quasi-linear preferences. In this paper, I show that this same innovation can be applied to closely related environments used elsewhere in the literature that study insurance and credit markets under limited commitment and private information. The analysis demonstrates clearly how insurance, credit, and money are interrelated in terms of their basic functions. The analysis also leads to a heretofore neglected result ...
On the social cost of transparency in monetary economies
I study a class of models commonly used to motivate monetary exchange, extended to include a physical asset whose expected short-run return is subject to exogenous news events, but whose expected long-run return is independent of this information. I show that there are circumstances in which the nondisclosure of news by an asset manager is welfare-improving. When nondisclosure is infeasible, the framework admits a role for government debt. The theory is used to interpret the nondisclosure practices of reputable financial agencies and suggests caveats for legislation designed to promote ...
Preventing bank runs
Diamond and Dybvig (1983) is commonly understood as providing a formal rationale for the existence of bank-run equilibria. It has never been clear, however, whether bank-run equilibria in this framework are a natural byproduct of the economic environment or an artifact of suboptimal contractual arrangements. In the class of direct mechanisms, Peck and Shell (2003) demonstrate that bank-run equilibria can exist under an optimal contractual arrangement. The difficulty of preventing runs within this class of mechanism is that banks cannot identify whether withdrawals are being driven by ...