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Author:Bocola, Luigi 

Working Paper
Risk, economic growth and the value of U.S. corporations
This paper documents a strong association between total factor productivity (TFP) growth and the value of U.S. corporations (measured as the value of equities and net debt for the U.S. corporate sector) throughout the postwar period. Persistent fluctuations in the first two moments of TFP growth predict two-thirds of the medium-term variation in the value of U.S. corporations relative to gross domestic product (hence-forth value-output ratio). An increase in the conditional mean of TFP growth by1% is associated to a 21% increase in the value-output ratio, while this indicator declines by 12% following a 1% increase in the standard deviation of TFP growth. A possible explanation for these findings is that movements in the first two moments of aggregate productivity affect the expectations that investors have regarding future corporate payouts as well as their perceived risk. We develop a dynamic stochastic general equilibrium model with the aim of verifying how sensible this interpretation is. The model features recursive preferences for the households, Markov-Switching regimes in the first two moments of TFP growth, incomplete information and monopolistic rents. Under a plausible calibration and including all these features, the model can account for a sizable fraction of the elasticity of the value-output ratio to the first two moments of TFP growth.
AUTHORS: Gornemann, Nils; Bocola, Luigi
DATE: 2013

Report
Reverse Speculative Attacks
In January 2015, in the face of sustained capital inflows, the Swiss National Bank abandoned the floor for the Swiss Franc against the Euro, a decision which led to the appreciation of the Swiss Franc. The objective of this paper is to present a simple framework that helps to better understand the timing of this episode, which we label a ?reverse speculative attack?. We model a central bank which wishes to maintain a peg, and responds to increases in demand for domestic currency by expanding its balance sheet. In contrast to the classic speculative attacks, which are triggered by the depletion of foreign assets, reverse attacks are triggered by the concern of future balance sheet losses. Our key result is that the interaction between the desire to maintain the peg and the concern about future losses, can lead the central bank to first accumulate a large amount of reserves, and then to abandon the peg, just as we have observed in the Swiss case.
AUTHORS: Perri, Fabrizio; Bocola, Luigi; Amador, Manuel; Bianchi, Javier
DATE: 2016-05-24

Report
Sovereign risk and firm heterogeneity
This paper studies the recessionary effects of sovereign default risk using firm-level data and a model of sovereign debt with firm heterogeneity. Our environment features a two-way feedback loop. Low output decreases the tax revenues of the government and raises the risk that it will default on its debt. The associated increase in sovereign interest rate spreads, in turn, raises the interest rates paid by firms, which further depresses their production. Importantly, these effects are not homogeneous across firms, as interest rate hikes have more severe consequences for firms that are in need of borrowing. Our approach consists of using these cross-sectional implications of the model, together with micro data, to measure the effects that sovereign risk has on real economic activity. In an application to Italy, we find that the progressive heightening of sovereign risk during the recent crisis was responsible for 50% of the observed decline in output.
AUTHORS: Arellano, Cristina; Bocola, Luigi; Bai, Yan
DATE: 2017-03-22

Report
Financial Crises and Lending of Last Resort in Open Economies
We study financial panics in a small open economy with floating exchange rates. In our model, bank runs trigger a decline in domestic wealth and a currency depreciation. Runs are more likely when banks have dollar debt. Dollar debt emerges endogenously in response to the precautionary motive of domestic savers: dollar savings provide insurance against crises; so when crises are possible it becomes relatively more expensive for banks to borrow in local currency, which gives them an incentive to issue dollar debt. This feedback between aggregate risk and savers? behavior can generate multiple equilibria, with the bad equilibrium characterized by financial dollarization and the possibility of bank runs. A domestic lender of last resort can eliminate the bad equilibrium, but interventions need to be fiscally credible. Holding foreign currency reserves hedges the fiscal position of the government and enhances its credibility, thus improving financial stability.
AUTHORS: Bocola, Luigi; Lorenzoni, Guido
DATE: 2017-10-24

Working Paper
The Pass-Through of Sovereign Risk
This paper examines the macroeconomic implications of sovereign credit risk in a business cycle model where banks are exposed to domestic government debt. The news of a future sovereign default hampers financial intermediation. First, it tightens the funding constraints of banks, reducing their available resources to finance firms (liquidity channel). Second, it generates a precautionary motive for banks to deleverage (risk channel). I estimate the model using Italian data, finding that i) sovereign credit risk was recessionary and that ii) the risk channel was sizable. I then use the model to evaluate the effects of subsidized long term loans to banks, calibrated to the ECB?s longer-term refinancing operations. The presence of strong precautionary motives at the time of policy enactment implies that bank lending to firms is not very sensitive to these credit market interventions.
AUTHORS: Bocola, Luigi
DATE: 2015-04-16

Working Paper
Exchange Rate Policies at the Zero Lower Bound
We study how a monetary authority pursues an exchange rate objective in an environment that features a zero lower bound (ZLB) constraint on nominal interest rates and limits to international arbitrage. If the nominal interest rate that is consistent with interest rate parity is positive, the central bank can achieve its exchange rate objective by choosing that interest rate, a well-known result in international ?nance. However, if the rate consistent with parity is negative, pursuing an exchange rate objective necessarily results in zero nominal interest rates, deviations from parity, capital in?ows, and welfare costs associated with the accumulation of foreign reserves by the central bank. In this latter case, all changes in external conditions that increase in?ows of capital toward the country are detrimental, while policies such as negative nominal interest rates or capital controls can reduce the costs associated with an exchange rate policy. We provide a simple way of measuring these costs, and present empirical support for the key implications of our framework: when interest rates are close to zero, violations in covered interest parity are more likely, and those violations are associated with reserve accumulation by central banks.
AUTHORS: Bianchi, Javier; Bocola, Luigi; Amador, Manuel; Perri, Fabrizio
DATE: 2017-03-16

Working Paper
Assessing DSGE model nonlinearities
We develop a new class of nonlinear time-series models to identify nonlinearities in the data and to evaluate nonlinear DSGE models. U.S. output growth and the federal funds rate display nonlinear conditional mean dynamics, while inflation and nominal wage growth feature conditional heteroskedasticity. We estimate a DSGE model with asymmetric wage/price adjustment costs and use predictive checks to assess its ability to account for nonlinearities. While it is able to match the nonlinear inflation and wage dynamics, thanks to the estimated downward wage/price rigidities, these do not spill over to output growth or the interest rate.
AUTHORS: Schorfheide, Frank; Bocola, Luigi; Aruoba, S. Boragan
DATE: 2013

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