Learning, Prices, and Firm Dynamics
We document new facts about the evolution of firm performance and prices in international markets, and propose a theory of firm dynamics emphasizing the interaction between learning about demand and quality choice to explain the observed patterns. Using data from the Portuguese manufacturing sector, we find that: (1) firms with longer spells of activity in export destinations tend to ship larger quantities at lower prices; (2) older exporters tend to use more expensive inputs; (3) revenue growth within destinations (conditional on initial size) tends to decline with market experience; and (4) ...
The Stock of External Sovereign Debt: Can We Take the Data at ‘Face Value’?
The stock of sovereign debt is typically measured at face value. Defined as the undiscounted sum of future principal repayments, face values are misleading when debts are issued with different contractual forms or maturities. In this paper, we construct alternative measures of the stock of external sovereign debt for 100 developing countries from 1979 through 2006 that correct for differences in contractual form and maturity. We show that our alternative measures: (1) paint a very different quantitative, and in some cases also qualitative, picture of the stock of developing country external ...
Every Cloud has a Silver Lining: Cleansing Effects of the Portuguese Financial Crisis
Using firm-level data, this paper shows that the Portuguese financial crisis was a period of intensified productivity-enhancing reallocation. Aggregate productivity gains, both in manufacturing and services, came from relatively higher contributions of entering and exiting firms and from reallocation of resources between surviving firms. At the microlevel, the crisis reduced the probability of survival for high- and low-productivity firms, but it hit low-productivity firms disproportionately harder. We also found important heterogeneous effects across economic sectors regarding input ...
Misallocation and Productivity in the Lead Up to the Eurozone Crisis
We use Portuguese firm-level data to investigate whether changes in resource misallocation may have contributed to the poor economic performance of some southern and peripheral European countries leading up to the Eurozone crisis. We extend Hsieh and Klenow's (2009) methodology to include intermediate inputs and consider all sectors of the economy (agriculture, manufacturing, and services). We find that within-industry misallocation almost doubled between 1996 and 2011. Equalizing total factor revenue productivity across firms within an industry could have boosted valued-added 48 percent and ...
Global Spillovers of a China Hard Landing
China?s economy has become larger and more interconnected with the rest of the world, thus raising the possibility that acute financial stress in China may lead to global financial instability. This paper analyzes the potential spillovers of such an event to the rest of the world with three methodologies: a VAR, an event study, and a DSGE model. We find the sentiment channel to be the primary spillover channel to the United States, affecting global risk aversion and asset prices such as equity prices and the dollar, in addition to modest real effects through the trade channel. In comparison, ...
From Micro to Macro: A Note on the Analysis of Aggregate Productivity Dynamics Using Firm-Level Data
In the empirical literature, the analysis of aggregate productivity dynamics using firm-level productivity has mostly been based on changes in the mean of log-productivity. This paper shows that there can be substantial quantitative and qualitative differences in the results relative to when the analysis is based on changes in the mean of productivity, and discusses the circumstances under which such differences are likely to happen. We use firm-level data for Portugal for the period 2006-2015 to illustrate the point. When the mean of productivity is used, we estimate that TFP and labor ...
Monetary Policy, Housing Rents and Inflation Dynamics
The Effect of Monetary Policy on Housing Tenure Choice as an Explanation for the Price Puzzle
In this paper we provide an alternative explanation for the price puzzle (Sims 1992) based on the effect of monetary policy on housing tenure choice and the weight of the shelter component in overall CPI. In the presence of nominal or financial frictions, when interest rates increase, the real cost of owning a house increases, and this increase may make some people prefer to rent instead of buying. This change in consumption behavior increases the price of rents relative to other goods. Starting in 1983, homeownership costs are based on a measure of implied owner equivalent rent, which is ...
A Tale of Two Sectors : Why is Misallocation Higher in Services than in Manufacturing?
Recent empirical studies document that the level of resource misallocation in the service sector is significantly higher than in the manufacturing sector. We quantify the importance of this difference and study its sources. Conservative estimates for Portugal (2008) show that closing this gap, by reducing misallocation in the service sector to manufacturing levels, would boost aggregate gross output by around 12 percent and aggregate value added by around 31 percent. Differences in the effect and size of productivity shocks explain most of the gap in misallocation between manufacturing and ...
Debt Statistics a La Carte: Alternative Recipes for Measuring Government Indebtedness
According to Eurostat, the Greek government owed ?317 billion in debt at the end of 2014. This is equivalent to more than 177% of gross domestic product (GDP) or 387% of tax revenue, and amounts to almost ?30,000 per person. This seems like a very large sum. For comparison, of the other highly indebted European countries that received financial assistance, Portuguese government debt amounted to 130% of GDP, while Irish government debt amounted to 110% of GDP