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Author:Atkeson, Andrew 

Journal Article
Taxing capital income: a bad idea

Under a narrow set of assumptions, Chamley (1986) established that the optimal tax rate on capital income is eventually zero. This study examines and extends that result by relaxing Chamley?s assumptions, one by one, to see if the result still holds. It does. This study unifies the work of other researchers, who have confirmed the result independently using different types of models and approaches. This study uses just one type of model (discrete time) and just one approach (primal). Chamley?s result holds when agents are heterogeneous rather than identical, the economy?s growth rate is ...
Quarterly Review , Volume 23 , Issue Sum , Pages 3-17

Journal Article
Are Phillips curves useful for forecasting inflation?

This study evaluates the conventional wisdom that modern Phillips curve-based models are useful tools for forecasting inflation. These models are based on the non-accelerating inflation rate of unemployment (the NAIRU). The study compares the accuracy, over the last 15 years, of three sets of inflation forecasts from NAIRU models to the naive forecast that at any date inflation will be the same over the next year as it has been over the last year. The conventional wisdom is wrong; none of the NAIRU forecasts is more accurate than the naive forecast. The likelihood of accurately predicting a ...
Quarterly Review , Volume 25 , Issue Win , Pages 2-11

Journal Article
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: the observation that exchange rates are approximately random walks implies that fluctuations in interest rates are associated with nearly one-for-one changes in ...
Quarterly Review , Issue Jul , Pages 2-9

Journal Article
On Using SIR Models to Model Disease Scenarios for COVID-19

From introduction: This paper is intended to introduce economists to a simple SIR model of the progression of COVID-19 to aid understanding of how such a model might be incorporated into more standard macroeconomic models. An SIR model is a Markov model of the spread of an epidemic in which the total population is divided into categories of being susceptible to the disease (S); actively infected with the disease (I); and resistant (R), meaning those that have recovered, died from the disease, or have been vaccinated. The initial distribution of the population across these states and the ...
Quarterly Review , Volume 41 , Issue 01 , Pages 35

Report
Aggregate implications of innovation policy

In this paper we present a tractable model of innovating firms and the aggregate economy that we use to assess quantitatively the link between the responses of firms to changes in innovation policy and the impact of those policy changes on aggregate output and welfare. We show that, to a first-order approximation, a wide range of policy changes have a long-run impact in direct proportion to the fiscal expenditures on those policies, and that to evaluate the aggregate impact of a policy change, there is no need to calculate changes in firms' decisions in response to these policy changes. ; We ...
Staff Report , Paper 459

Report
Optimal regulation in the presence of reputation concerns

We study a market with free entry and exit of firms who can produce high-quality output by making a costly but efficient initial unobservable investment. If no learning about this investment occurs, an extreme ?lemons problem? develops, no firm invests, and the market shuts down. Learning introduces reputation incentives such that a fraction of entrants do invest. If the market operates with spot prices, simple regulation can enhance the role of reputation to induce investment, thus mitigating the ?lemons problem? and improving welfare.
Staff Report , Paper 464

Report
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

Report
External and Public Debt Crises

The recent debt crises in Europe and the U.S. states feature similar sharp increases in spreads on government debt but also show important differences. In Europe, the crisis occurred at high government indebtedness levels and had spillovers to the private sector. In the United States, state government indebtedness was low, and the crisis had no spillovers to the private sector. We show theoretically and empirically that these different debt experiences result from the interplay between differences in the ability of governments to interfere in private external debt contracts and differences in ...
Staff Report , Paper 515

Discussion Paper
Policies to stimulate innovation

Economic Policy Paper , Paper 11-5

Working Paper
External and Public Debt Crises

The recent debt crises in Europe and the U.S. states feature similar sharp increases in spreads on government debt but also show important differences. In Europe, the crisis occurred at high government indebtedness levels and had spillovers to the private sector. In the United States, state government indebtedness was low, and the crisis had no spillovers to the private sector. We show theoretically and empirically that these different debt experiences result from the interplay between differences in the ability of governments to interfere in private external debt contracts and differences in ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2015-5

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