Small and orthodox fiscal multipliers at the zero lower bound
Does fiscal policy have large and qualitatively different effects on the economy when the nominal interest rate is zero? An emerging consensus in the New Keynesian literature is that the answer is yes. New evidence provided here suggests that the answer is often no. For a broad range of empirically relevant parameterizations of the Rotemberg model of costly price adjustment, the government purchase multiplier is about one or less, and the response of hours to a tax cut is either negative or close to zero.
Saving and interest rates in Japan: Why they have fallen and why they will remain low
This paper quantifies the role of alternative shocks in accounting for the recent declines in Japanese saving rates and interest rates and provides some projections about their future course. We consider three distinct sources of variation in saving rates and real interest rates: changes in fertility rates, changes in survival rates, and changes in technology. The empirical relevance of these factors is explored using a computable dynamic OLG model. We find that the combined effects of demographics and slower total factor productivity growth successfully explain both the levels and the ...
Making the case for a low intertemporal elasticity of substitution
We provide two ways to reconcile small values of the intertemporal elasticity of substitution (IES) that range between 0.35 and 0.5 with empirical evidence that the IES is large. We do this reconciliation using a model in which all agents have identical preferences and the same access to asset markets. We also conduct an encompassing test, which indicates that specifications of the model with small values of the IES are more plausible than specifications with a large IES.
Seasonality and equilibrium business cycle theories
Barksy-Miron  find that the postwar U.S. economy exhibits a regular seasonal cycle, as well as the business cycle phenomenon. Are these findings consistent with current equilibrium business cycle theories as surveyed by Prescott ? We consider a dynamic, stochastic equilibrium business cycle model which includes deterministic seasonals and nontime-separable preferences. We show how to compute a perfect foresight seasonal equilibrium path for this economy. An approximation to the stochastic equilibrium is calculated. Using postwar U.S. data, GMM estimates of the structural ...
Some unpleasant properties of loglinearized solutions when the nominal rate is zero
Does fiscal policy have large and qualitatively different effects on the economy when the nominal interest rate is zero? An emerging consensus in the New Keynesian (NK) literature is that the answer to this question is yes. Evidence presented here suggests that the NK model's implications for fiscal policy at the zero bound may not be all that different from its implications for policy away from it. For a range of empirically relevant parameterizations, employment increases when the labor tax rate is cut and the government purchase multiplier is less than 1.05.
Why Cash Transfers Are Good Policy in the COVID-19 Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has had an exceptionally large and negative impact on economic activity around the world. We show that cash transfers can be a useful policy tool during a pandemic. Cash transfers mitigate consumption inequality induced by the pandemic and provide incentives to individuals who are most negatively affected by lockdown policies to adhere to them.
The role of damage-contingent contracts in allocating the risks of natural catastrophes
The distinguishing feature of natural-catastrophe risk is claimed to be aggregate risk. Because such risk is encompassed in the general competitive model, it seems to pose no new theoretical challenge. However, that model has markets contingent on exogenous events, while the actual economy seems to be developing mainly markets contingent on the level of total damage. In the context of a model with aggregate risk and endogenous total damage, a notion of competitive markets contingent on total damage is formulated. That notion implies that such markets achieve the same (efficient) risk sharing ...
Seasonal Solow residuals and Christmas: a case for labor hoarding and increasing returns
In aggregate unadjusted data, measured Solow residuals exhibit large seasonal variations. Total Factor Productivity grows rapidly in the fourth quarter at an annual rate of 16 percent and regresses sharply in the first quarter at an annual rate of ?24 percent. This paper considers two potential explanations for the measured seasonal variation in the Solow residual: labor hoarding and increasing returns to scale. Using a specification that allows for no exogenous seasonal variation in technology and a single seasonal demand shift in the fourth quarter, we ask the following question: How much ...
Transaction services, inflation, and welfare
This paper is motivated by empirical observations on the comovements of currency velocity, inflation, and the relative size of the credit services sector. We document these comovements and incorporate into a monetary growth model a credit services sector that provides services that help people economize on money. Our model makes two new contributions. First, we show that direct evidence on the appropriately defined credit service sector for the United States is consistent with the welfare cost measured using an estimated money demand schedule. Second, we provide welfare cost of inflation ...
Monetary Policy over the Life Cycle
A tighter monetary policy is generally associated with higher real interest rates on depositsand loans, weaker performance of equities and real estate, and slower growth in employment andwages. How does a household’s exposure to monetary policy vary with its age? The size andcomposition of both household income and asset portfolios exhibit large variation over the lifecycle inJapanese data. We formulate an overlapping generations model that reproduces these observationsand use it to analyze how household responses to monetary policy shocks vary over the lifecycle. Boththe signs and the ...