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Author:Armenter, Roc 

Working Paper
Fraud deterrence in dynamic Mirrleesian economies

Social and private insurance schemes rely on legal action to deter fraud and tax evasion. This observation guides the authors to introduce a random state verification technology in a dynamic economy with private information. With some probability, an agent's skill level becomes known to the planner, who prescribes a punishment if the agent is caught misreporting. The authors show how deferring consumption can ease the provision of incentives. As a result, the marginal benefit may be below the marginal cost of investment in the constrained-efficient allocation, suggesting a subsidy on savings. ...
Working Papers , Paper 10-7

Working Paper
Does the time inconsistency problem make flexible exchange rates look worse than you think?

The Barro-Gordon inflation bias has provided the most influential argument for fixed exchange rate regimes. However, with low inflation rates now widespread, credibility concerns seem no longer relevant. Why give up independent monetary policy to contain an inflation bias that is already under control? We argue that credibility problems do not end with the inflation bias and they are a larger drawback for flexible exchange rates than usually thought. Absent commitment, independent monetary policy can induce expectation traps---that is, welfare ranked multiple equilibria---and perverse policy ...
International Finance Discussion Papers , Paper 865

Working Paper
Rational Inattention via Ignorance Equivalence

We present a novel approach to finite Rational Inattention (RI) models based on the ignorance equivalent, a fictitious action with state-dependent payoffs that effectively summarizes the optimal learning and conditional choices. The ignorance equivalent allows us to recast the RI problem as a standard expected utility maximization over an augmented choice set called the learning-proof menu, yielding new insights regarding the behavioral implications of RI, in particular as new actions are added to the menu. Our geometric approach is also well suited to numerical methods, outperforming ...
Working Papers , Paper 20-24

Journal Article
Does the U.S. trade more widely than it appears?

Given the importance of international trade for economic growth, why in any given year do few U.S. firms export their wares, and why are most U.S. goods not traded with most countries? Roc Armenter presents some intriguing evidence suggesting the U.S. does export most of its products to most countries, just not very often.
Business Review , Issue 1 , Pages 1-8

Working Paper
The macroeconomics of firms' savings

The authors document that the U.S. non-financial corporate sector became a net lender in the 2000s, using aggregate and firm-level data. They develop a structural model with investment, debt, and equity. Debt is fiscally advantageous but subject to a no-default borrowing constraint. Equity allows the firm to suspend dividends when the cash flow is negative. Firms accumulate financial assets for precautionary reasons, yet value equity as partial insurance against shocks. The calibrated model replicates the prevalence of net savings in the period 2000-2007 and attributes the rise in corporate ...
Working Papers , Paper 12-1

Does the time inconsistency problem make flexible exchange rates look worse than you think?

Lack of commitment in monetary policy leads to the well known Barro-Gordon inflation bias. In this paper, we argue that two phenomena associated with the time inconsistency problem have been overlooked in the exchange rate debate. We show that, absent commitment, independent monetary policy can also induce expectation traps-that is, welfare-ranked multiple equilibria-and perverse policy responses to real shocks-that is, an equilibrium policy response that is welfare inferior to policy inaction. Both possibilities imply higher macroeconomic volatility under flexible exchange rates than under ...
Staff Reports , Paper 230

Discussion Paper
Size Is Not All: Distribution of Bank Reserves and Fed Funds Dynamics

As a consequence of the Federal Reserve’s large-scale asset purchases from 2008-14, banks’ reserve balances at the Fed have increased dramatically, rising from $10 billion in March 2008 to more than $2 trillion currently. In that new environment of abundant reserves, the FOMC put in place a framework for controlling the fed funds rate, using the interest rate that it offered to banks and a different, lower interest rate that it offered to non-banks (and banks). Now that the Fed has begun to gradually reduce its asset holdings, aggregate reserves are shrinking as well, and an important ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20180711

Working Paper
Rational Inattention via Ignorance Equivalence

We introduce the concept of the ignorance equivalent to effectively summarize the payoff possibilities in a finite Rational Inattention problem. The ignorance equivalent is a unique fictitious action that is weakly preferable to all existing learning strategies and yet generates no new profitable learning opportunities when added to the menu of choices. We fully characterize the relationship between the ignorance equivalent and the optimal learning strategies. Agents with heterogeneous priors self-select their own ignorance equivalent, which gives rise to an expected-utility analogue of the ...
Working Papers , Paper 21-29

Endogenous productivity and development accounting

Cross-country data reveal that the per capita incomes of the richest countries exceed those of the poorest countries by a factor of thirty-five. We formalize a model with embodied technical change in which newer, more productive vintages of capital coexist with older, less productive vintages. A reduction in the cost of investment raises both the quantity and productivity of capital simultaneously. The model induces a simple relationship between the relative price of investment goods and per capita income. Using cross-country data on the prices of investment goods, we find that the model does ...
Staff Reports , Paper 258

Journal Article
A bit of a miracle no more: the decline of the labor share

Why has labor's share of national income been declining steeply? How income is divided between labor and capital has implications for inequality and long-run economic growth. But as Roc Armenter explains, measuring labor's share is not so straightforward.
Business Review , Issue Q3 , Pages 1-9


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