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Author:Barnes, Michelle L. 

Briefing
A principal components approach to estimating labor market pressure and its implications for inflation

We build a summary measure of labor market pressure that captures the common movement among a variety of labor market series. Obtained as the labor market series? first principal component, this measure explains a large portion of the variability of the underlying series. For this reason, it is a good summary indicator of labor market pressure. We show that the unemployment rate gap has tracked this summary measure closely over the past 35 years. At times, however, the summary measure and the unemployment rate gap have sent somewhat different signals. In terms of relying on the principal ...
Public Policy Brief

Working Paper
The sensitivity of long-term interest rates to economic news: comment

Refet Grkaynak, Brian Sack, and Eric Swanson (2005) provide empirical evidence that long forward nominal rates are overly sensitive to monetary policy shocks, and that this is consistent with a model where long-term inflation expectations are not anchored because agents must infer the central bank's inflation target from noisy interest rate movements. Using the same data, methodology, and model, we show that their empirical results are neither persistent nor robust to small changes in sample period or methodology. In addition, their theoretical results rely mainly on an ad hoc law of motion ...
Working Papers , Paper 10-7

Briefing
The Michigan Surveys of Consumers and consumer spending

We provide summary measures for a broad set of questions from the Michigan Surveys of Consumers. These measures summarize consumers' attitudes and expectations with respect to income, wealth, prices, and interest rates. They contain information that goes beyond the information captured by the Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment, which is constructed from five questions in the same survey. We show that the summary measures have some explanatory power for aggregate consumption behavior over the period from 1987 to the present, even when controlling for economic fundamentals. The explanatory ...
Public Policy Brief

Discussion Paper
Alternative measures of the Federal Reserve banks' cost of equity capital

The Monetary Control Act of 1980 requires the Federal Reserve System to provide payment services to depository institutions through the twelve Federal Reserve Banks at prices that fully reflect the costs a private-sector provider would incur, including a cost of equity capital (COE). Although Fama and French (1997) conclude that COE estimates are ?woefully? and ?unavoidably? imprecise, the Reserve Banks require such an estimate every year. We examine several COE estimates based on the Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM) and compare them using econometric and materiality criteria. Our results ...
Public Policy Discussion Paper , Paper 05-2

Discussion Paper
TIPS scorecard: are TIPS accomplishing what they were supposed to accomplish?: can they be improved?

In September 1997, the U.S. Treasury developed the TIPS market in order to achieve three important policy objectives: (1) to provide consumers with a class of assets that allows for hedging against real interest rate risk, (2) to provide holders of nominal contracts a means of hedging against inflation risk, and (3) to provide everyone with a reliable indicator of the term structure of expected inflation. This paper evaluates progress toward the achievement of these objectives and analyzes prospective ways to better meet these objectives in the future, by, for example, extending the maturity ...
Public Policy Discussion Paper , Paper 09-8

Working Paper
Did life insurers benefit from TARP or regulatory forbearance during the financial crisis of 2008–2009?

Life insurers? odds of being placed under regulatory control (for example, conservatorship or receivership) during the financial crisis years of 2008 and 2009 increased with deteriorating fundamentals at a much higher rate than during normal times or during the previous recession. However, no life insurer in the sample belonging to a life insurance holding company system (LIHCS) in receipt of TARP funds experienced such insolvency issues, and life insurers with poor and deteriorating performance that belonged to a LIHCS in receipt of TARP funds received increased capital inflows during the ...
Working Papers , Paper 16-24

Working Paper
The behavior of China's stock prices in response to the proposal and approval of bonus issues

Event study analysis is applied to investigate stock price reaction to the announcement of bonus issues for the emerging stock markets of China. Results show that the issues with a high bonus ratio (number of bonus shares in the issue/number of existing shares) usually attract positive returns for both Chinese (A-share traders) and foreign (B-share traders) residents. Issues with a low bonus ratio are rewarded with negative returns for A-share traders and do not stimulate significant activity by B-share traders. The hypothesis of semi-strong form market efficiency is rejected only for ...
Working Papers , Paper 02-1

Working Paper
Do real-time Okun's law errors predict GDP data revisions?

Using U.S. real-time data, we show that changes in the unemployment rate unexplained by Okun's Law have significant predictive power for GDP data revisions. A positive (negative) error in Okun's Law in real time implies that GDP will be later revised to show less (more) growth than initially estimated by the statistical agency. The information in Okun's Law errors about the true state of real economic activity also helps to improve GDP forecasts in the near term. Our findings add a new dimension to the interpretation of real-time Okun's Law errors, as they show that these errors can convey ...
Working Papers , Paper 13-3

Working Paper
Closed-form estimates of the New Keynesian Phillips curve with time-varying trend inflation

We compare estimates of the New Keynesian Phillips Curve (NKPC) when the curve is specified in two different ways. In the standard difference equation (DE) form, current inflation is a function of past inflation, expected future inflation, and real marginal costs. The alternative closed form (CF) specification explicitly solves the DE form to express inflation as a function of past inflation and a present-discounted value of current and expected future marginal costs. The CF specification places model-consistent constraints on expected future inflation that are not imposed in the DE form. In ...
Working Papers , Paper 09-15

Working Paper
Internal sources of finance and the Great Recession

The rising stockpile of cash as a share of total assets at U.S. firms has intrigued economists since at least the paper of Bates, Kahle, and Stulz (2006), yet there has been relatively little work on where this cash has come from and how it is related to investment performance. We exploit Statement of Cash Flows data from Compustat to decompose firms' cash stocks and show that the rise in cash holdings has coincided with an increased willingness to save internally generated cash. We show that although investment is normally sensitive to externally generated cash, the increased sensitivity of ...
Working Papers , Paper 10-15

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