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Author:Fernald, John G. 

Working Paper
Puzzles in the Chinese stock market

Many companies on China's stock markets have separate, restricted classes of shares for domestic residents and foreigners. Other than who can own them, these shares are identical, but foreigners pay only about one-quarter the price paid by domestic residents. We show that plausible differences--about 4 percentage-points--in expected rates of return by foreign and domestic investors can account for the generally higher level and volatility of prices for domestic shares relative to foreign shares. We attribute low Chinese expected returns to the limited alternative investments available in ...
International Finance Discussion Papers , Paper 619

Working Paper
China and emerging Asia: comrades or competitors?

Do increases in China's exports reduce exports of other emerging Asian economies? We find that correlations between Chinese export growth and that of other emerging Asian economies are actually positive (though usually not significant), even after controlling for trading-partner income growth and real effective exchange rates. We also present results from a VAR estimation of aggregate trade equations on the relative importance of foreign income and exchange rates in determining Asian export growth. Although exchange rates do matter for export performance, the income growth of trading partners ...
International Finance Discussion Papers , Paper 789

Working Paper
The case of the missing productivity growth: or, does information technology explain why productivity accelerated in the United States but not the United Kingdom?

Solow's paradox has disappeared in the United States but remains alive and well in the United Kingdom. In particular, the U.K. experienced an information and communications technology (ICT) investment boom in the 1990s in parallel with the U.S., but measured total factor productivity has decelerated rather than accelerated in recent years. We ask whether ICT can explain the divergent TFP performance in the two countries. Stories of ICT as a 'general purpose technology' suggest that measured TFP should rise in ICT-using sectors (reflecting either unobserved accumulation of intangible ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-03-08

Working Paper
Why has the cyclicality of productivity changed? What does it mean?

U.S. labor and total factor productivity have historically been procyclical?rising in booms and falling in recessions. After the mid-1980s, however, TFP became much less procyclical with respect to hours while labor productivity turned strongly countercyclical. We find that the key empirical ?fact? driving these changes is reduced variation in factor utilization?conceptually, the workweek of capital and labor effort. We discuss a range of theories that seek to explain the changes in productivity?s cyclicality. Increased flexibility, changes in the structure of the economy, and shifts in ...
Working Paper Series , Paper 2016-7

Working Paper
The Future of U.S. Economic Growth

Modern growth theory suggests that more than 3/4 of growth since 1950 reflects rising educational attainment and research intensity. As these transition dynamics fade, U.S. economic growth is likely to slow at some point. However, the rise of China, India, and other emerging economies may allow another few decades of rapid growth in world researchers. Finally, and more speculatively, the shape of the idea production function introduces a fundamental uncertainty into the future of growth. For example, the possibility that artificial intelligence will allow machines to replace workers to some ...
Working Paper Series , Paper 2014-2

Journal Article
What do we know (and not know) about potential output?

Potential output is an important concept in economics. Policymakers often use a one-sector neoclassical model to think about long-run growth, and they often assume that potential output is a smooth series in the short run -- approximated by a medium- or long-run estimate. But in both the short and the long run, the one-sector model falls short empirically, reflecting the importance of rapid technological change in producing investment goods; and few, if any, modern macroeconomic models would imply that, at business cycle frequencies, potential output is a smooth series. Discussing these ...
Review , Volume 91 , Issue Jul , Pages 187-214

Journal Article
Future Output Loss from COVID-Induced School Closures

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused massive disruptions to the U.S. educational system. Research on school closures—particularly combined with parental income loss—implies that children are likely to attain lower levels of lifetime education compared with pre-pandemic trends. Projections show learning disruptions could lower the level of annual economic output ¼ percentage point on average over the next 70 years. The effect is small the first 5–10 years then peaks at a loss of ½ percentage point in about 25 years, when the children reach prime working age.
FRBSF Economic Letter , Volume 2021 , Issue 04 , Pages 01-05

Working Paper
A quarterly, utilization-adjusted series on total factor productivity

This paper describes a real-time, quarterly growth-accounting database for the U.S. business sector. The data on inputs, including capital, are used to produce a quarterly series on total factor productivity (TFP). In addition, the dataset implements an adjustment for variations in factor utilization?labor effort and the workweek of capital. The utilization adjustment follows Basu, Fernald, and Kimball (BFK, 2006). Using relative prices and input/output information, the series are also decomposed into separate TFP and utilization-adjusted TFP series for equipment investment (including ...
Working Paper Series , Paper 2012-19

Journal Article
Shifting data: a challenge for monetary policymakers

A familiar old saw about the conduct of monetary policy is that it's like trying to drive a car while looking only in the rearview mirror. The idea is that policymakers are trying to steer a course that will keep the economy close to full employment with low, stable inflation, while their only knowledge of the road ahead is based on data about the past. ; As if this situation weren't challenging enough, the rearview mirror sometimes gives a distorted reflection, in the sense that the data policymakers see at any one point in time are often later revised. This Economic Letter discusses a ...
FRBSF Economic Letter

Journal Article
Interpreting deviations from Okun’s Law

The traditional relationship between unemployment and output growth known as Okun?s law appeared to break down during the Great Recession. This raised the question of whether this rule of thumb was still meaningful as a forecasting tool. However, recent revisions to GDP data show that its relation with unemployment followed a fairly typical cyclical pattern compared with past deep recessions and slow recoveries. The comparatively common patterns suggest that rumors of the death of Okun?s law during the Great Recession were greatly exaggerated.
FRBSF Economic Letter

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