Real business cycles: a legacy of countercyclical policies?
If business cycles are caused mostly by changes in productivity, rather than by monetary and financial disturbances, what role do monetary and fiscal policies play? In this article, Satyajit Chatterjee discusses the possibility that countercyclical monetary and fiscal policies have played an important role in reducing the severity of business cycles since World War II but that additional countercyclical policies that try to offset movements in productivity aren't likely to be beneficial
A seniority arrangement for sovereign debt
A sovereign's inability to commit to a course of action regarding future borrowing and default behavior makes long-term debt costly (the problem of debt dilution). One mechanism to mitigate the debt dilution problem is the inclusion of a seniority clause in sovereign debt contracts. In the event of default, creditors are to be paid off in the order in which they lent (the ?absolute priority" or ?first-in-time" rule). In this paper, we propose a modification of the absolute priority rule that is more suited to the sovereign debt context and analyze its positive and normative implications ...
Foreclosures and house price dynamics: a quantitative analysis of the mortgage crisis and the foreclosure prevention policy
This paper is superseded by WP 15-15 <p>The authors construct a quantitative equilibrium model of the housing market in which an unanticipated increase in the supply of housing triggers default mortgages via its effect on house prices. The decline in house prices creates an incentive to increase the consumption of housing space, but leverage makes it costly for homeowners to sell their homes and buy bigger ones (they must absorb large capital losses). Instead, leveraged households find it advantageous to default and rent housing space. Since renters demand less housing space than homeowners, ...
Aggregate employment growth and the deconcentration of metropolitan employment
In this paper, the authors document that the disparity in employment densities across U.S. metropolitan areas has lessened substantially over the postwar period. To account for this deconcentration of metropolitan employment, the authors develop a system-of-cities model in which an increase in aggregate metropolitan employment causes congestion costs to increase faster for the more dense metro areas. A calibrated version of the model reveals that the (roughly) two-and-a-half-fold increase in postwar aggregate metropolitan employment implies, by itself, more deconcentration than actually ...
Taxes, homeownership, and the allocation of residential real estate risks
Home equity is the predominant form of savings for most Americans because it helps them save on taxes. However, homeownership also determines how the risks of fluctuations in the value of residential real estate are borne. In this article, Satyajit Chatterjee looks at how the tax benefit of homeownership has moved households toward undiversified investments in risky residential real estate by making it costly for them to rent their homes. He also points out the often overlooked risk-allocation consequences of proposed changes in the U.S. tax code.
Chapter 11 for Countries?
Sovereign default risk is rising, yet the system for dealing with it remains flawed. Satyajit Chatterjee explains why it might be time to revive a debt restructuring proposal the international community rejected in 2003.
Spin-offs and the market for ideas
The authors propose a theory of firm dynamics in which workers have ideas for new projects that can be sold in a market to existing firms or implemented in new firms: spin-offs. Workers have private information about the quality of their ideas. Because of an adverse selection problem, workers can sell their ideas to existing firms only at a price that is not contingent on their information. The authors show that the option to spin off in the future is valuable so only workers with very good ideas decide to spin off and set up a new firm. Since entrepreneurs of existing firms pay a price for ...
The Firm Size and Leverage Relationship and Its Implications for Entry and Concentration in a Low Interest Rate World
Larger firms (by sales or employment) have higher leverage. This pattern is explained using a model in which firms produce multiple varieties and borrow with the option to default against their future cash ow. A variety can die with a constant probability, implying that bigger firms (those with more varieties) have lower coefficient of variation of sales and higher leverage. A lower risk-free rate benefits bigger firms more as they are able to lever more and existing firms buy more of the new varieties arriving into the economy. This leads to lower startup rates and greater concentration of ...
On the optimality of eliminating seasonality in nominal interest rates
Optimal monetary policy for an economy with seasonal fluctuations and a cash-in-advance requirement on the purchase of consumption goods is studied. It is shown that the short delay in the availability of newly acquired funds for consumption purchases (the hallmark of cash-in-advance models) typically makes the seasonal steady state inefficient. It is also shown that monetary policy can overcome this inefficiency by keeping the nominal interest rate constant over the seasons. An analytical model is also presented to explore the effects of seasonal smoothing of nominal interest rates on the ...