Showing results 1 to 10 of approximately 28.(refine search)
Properties of the vacancy statistic in the discrete circle covering problem
Holst (1985) introduced a discrete spacings model that is related to the Bose-Einstein distribution and obtained the distribution of the number of vacant slots in an associated circle covering problem. We correct his expression for its probability mass function, obtain the first two moments, and describe their limiting properties. We also discuss an application of our results to a study of contagion in banking networks.
On the timing of innovation in stochastic Schumpeterian growth models
Recent work has revived the Schumpeterian hypothesis that recessions facilitate innovation and growth. But a major source of productivity growth, research and development, is actually procyclical. This paper argues that while it is optimal to concentrate growth enhancing activities in downturns, dynamic spillovers inherent to the R&D process lead private agents to concentrate too much of their R&D activity in booms, precisely when its social cost is highest. Thus, while previous literature has argued recessions promote growth and intertemporal substitution is a desirable consequence of ...
Mortgage choices and housing speculation
We describe a rational expectations model in which speculative bubbles in house prices can emerge. Within this model both speculators and their lenders use interest-only mortgages (IOs) rather than traditional mortgages when there is a bubble. Absent a bubble, there is no tendency for IOs to be used. These insights are used to assess the extent to which house prices in US cities were driven by speculative bubbles over the period 2000-2008. We find that IOs were used sparingly in cities where elastic housing supply precludes speculation from arising. In cities with inelastic supply, where ...
Pay for percentile
We propose an incentive pay scheme for educators that links educator compensation to the ranks of their students within appropriately defined comparison sets, and we show that under certain conditions our scheme induces teachers to allocate socially optimal levels of effort to all students. Because this scheme employs only ordinal information, our scheme allows education authorities to employ completely new assessments at each testing date without ever having to equate various assessment forms. This approach removes incentives for teachers to teach to a particular assessment form and ...
Bridging Between Policymakers’ and Economists’ Views on Bubbles
Senior economist Gadi Barlevy examines the gap between policymakers and researchers when it comes to asset bubbles. He describes policymakers? key questions about asset bubbles and asks how economic models might be used to shed light on them.
On Interest Rate Policy and Asset Bubbles
In a provocative paper, Gal (2014) showed that a policymaker who raises interest rates to rein in a potential bubble will only make a bubble bigger if one exists. This poses a challenge to advocates of lean-against-the-wind policies that call for raising interest rates to mitigate potential bubbles. In this paper, we argue there are situations in which the lean-against-the wind view is justified. First, we argue Gal?s framework abstracts from the possibility that a policymaker who raises rates will crowd out resources that would have otherwise been spent on the bubble. Once we modify Gal?s ...
Robustness and macroeconomic policy
This paper considers the design of macroeconomic policies in the face of uncertainty. In recent years, several economists have advocated that when policymakers are uncertain about the environment they face and find it difficult to assign precise probabilities to the alternative scenarios that may characterize this environment, they should design policies to be robust in the sense that they minimize the worstcase loss these policies could ever impose. I review and evaluate the objections cited by critics of this approach. I further argue that, contrary to what some have inferred, concern about ...
Bubbles and Fools
This article reviews the literature on greater-fool theories of bubbles, which argue that bubbles can arise if traders are willing to buy assets they know to be overvalued because they hope to later sell them at a profit to others. The author discusses two approaches that attempt to model this phenomenon and what these approaches imply for economic policy.
Interest-only mortgages and speculation in hot housing markets
Even as housing markets have temporarily shut down across the U.S. during the Covid-19 pandemic, housing remains a key sector that contributes disproportionately to fluctuations in overall economic activity and that will likely play an important role as the economy reopens. Interest in this market among research economists and policymakers intensified after the exceptional boom and bust in housing between 2003 and 2008. In this Chicago Fed Letter, we describe research in Barlevy and Fisher (2020)1 that examined patterns in the kinds of mortgages homebuyers took out in different cities during ...
Evaluating the role of labor market mismatch in rising unemployment
Recent labor market trends have raised concerns that the unemployment rate is high not because employers are reluctant to hire but because they are unable to hire. These concerns, if true, would cast doubt on using monetary policy to stimulate the labor market, since it works by encouraging firms to hire more. Using a matching function approach, the author finds that a shock that makes it more difficult for firms to hire qualified applicants would by itself imply an unemployment rate of no more than 7.1 percent, much below the actual unemployment rate during the past two years. Hence, the ...