Using stock returns to identify government spending shocks
This paper explores a new approach to identifying government spending shocks which avoids many of the shortcomings of existing approaches. The new approach is to identify government spending shocks with statistical innovations to the accumulated excess returns of large US military contractors. This strategy is used to estimate the dynamic responses of output, hours, consumption and real wages to a government spending shock. We find that positive government spending shocks are associated with increases in output, hours, and consumption. Real wages initially decline after a government spending ...
Gross Migration, Housing and Urban Population Dynamics
Cities experience significant, near random walk productivity shocks, yet population is slow to adjust. In practise local population changes are dominated by variation in net migration, and we argue that understanding gross migration is essential to quantify how net migration may slow population adjustments. Housing is also a natural candidate for slowing population adjustments because it is difficult to move, costly to build quickly, and a large durable stock makes a city attractive to potential migrants. We quantify the influence of migration and housing on urban population dynamics using a ...
The role of real wages, productivity and fiscal policy in Germany's Great Depression 1928-1937
We study the behavior of output, employment, consumption, and investment in Germany during the Great Depression of 1928-37. In this time period, real wages were countercyclical, and productivity and fiscal policy were procyclical. We use the neoclassical growth model to investigate how much these factors contribute to the Depression. We find that real wages, which were significantly above their market clearing levels, were the most important factor for the economic decline in the Depression. Changes in productivity and fiscal policy were also important for the decline and recovery. Even ...
Understanding aggregate job flows
The authors describe how evidence on aggregate job flows challenges standard business cycle theory and discuss recent developments in business cycle theory aimed at accounting for the evidence.
Aggregate employment fluctuations with microeconomic asymmetries
We provide a simple explanation for the observation that the variance of job destruction is greater than the variance of job creation. In our model profit maximization in the presence of proportional plant-level costs of job creation and destruction implies that shrinking plants are more sensitive than growing plants to aggregate shocks. We describe circumstances in which this microeconomic asymmetry is preserved in the aggregate and show that it can account for asymmetries in the variability of job creation and destruction of the kind observed in the U.S. manufacturing sector. This is so ...
Macroeconomic implications of agglomeration
The authors construct a dynamic general equilibrium model of cities and use it to estimate the effect of local agglomeration on per capita consumption growth. Agglomeration affects growth through the density of economic activity: higher production per unit of land raises local productivity. Firms take productivity as given; produce using a technology that has constant returns in developed land, capital, and labor; and accumulate land and capital. If land prices are rising, as they are empirically, firms economize on land. This behavior increases density and contributes to growth. They use a ...
(S,s) Inventory policies in general equilibrium
We study the aggregate implications of (S,s) inventory policies in a dynamic general equilibrium model with aggregate uncertainty. Firms in the model's retail sector face idiosyncratic demand risk, and (S,s) inventory policies are optimal because of fixed order costs. The distribution of inventory holdings affects the aggregate outcome in two ways: variation in the decision to order and variation in the rate of sale through the pricing decisions of retailers. We find that both mechanisms must operate to reconcile observations that orders are more volatile than, and inventory investment is ...
Risk Management for Monetary Policy Near the Zero Lower Bound
As projections have inflation heading back toward target and the labor market continuing to improve, the Federal Reserve has begun to contemplate an increase in the federal funds rate. There is however substantial uncertainty around these projections. How should this uncertainty affect monetary policy? In many standard models uncertainty has no effect. In this paper, we demonstrate that the zero lower bound on nominal interest rates implies that the central bank should adopt a looser policy when there is uncertainty. In the current context this result implies that a delayed liftoff is ...
How does an increase in government purchases affect economy?
This article studies the impact on aggregate economic activity of increases in defense purchases which are unrelated to other developments in the economy. The authors use empirical evidence to evaluate the predictions of several prominent models.
Asset pricing lessons for modeling business cycles