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.
When can we forecast inflation?
This article reassesses recent work that has challenged the usefulness of inflation forecasts. The authors find that inflation forecasts were informative in 1977-84 and 1993-2000, but less informative in 1985-92. They also find that standard forecasting models, while generally poor at forecasting the magnitude of inflation, are good at forecasting the direction of change of inflation.
(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 ...
Interest-Only Mortgages and Speculation in Hot Housing Markets
Even as housing markets have temporarily shut down across the U.S. during the Covid-19 pandemic, housing remains a key sector that contributes disproportionately to fluctuations in overall economic activity and that will likely play an important role as the economy reopens. Interest in this market among research economists and policymakers intensified after the exceptional boom and bust in housing between 2003 and 2008. In this Chicago Fed Letter, we describe research in Barlevy and Fisher (2020)1 that examined patterns in the kinds of mortgages homebuyers took out in different cities during ...
The limits of forward guidance
The viability of forward guidance as a monetary policy tool depends on the horizon over which it can be communicated and its influence on expectations over that horizon. We develop and estimate a model of imperfect central bank communications and use it to measure how effectively the Fed has managed expectations about future interest rates and the influence of its communications on macroeconomic outcomes. Standard models assume central banks have perfect control over expectations about the policy rate up to an arbitrarily long horizon and this is the source of the so-called ?forward guidance ...
Why has home ownership fallen among the young?
We document that home ownership of households with "heads" aged 25 - 44 years fell substantially between 1980 and 2000 and recovered only partially during the 2001-2005 housing boom. The 1980-2000 decline in young home ownership occurred as improvements in mortgage opportunities made it easier to purchase a home. This paper uses an equilibrium life-cycle model calibrated to micro and macro evidence to understand why young home ownership fell over a period when it became easier to own a home. Our findings indicate that a trend toward marrying later and the increase in household earnings risk ...
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 ...
Credit market imperfections and the heterogeneous response of firms to monetary shocks
This paper assesses the bank-lending channel interpretation of evidence on the heterogeneous response of firms to monetary shocks. To do so I develop a quantitative general equilibrium model of the bank-lending channel with imperfect credit markets. The calibrated model's steady state supports a common identification strategy adopted in the literature: small firms are credit constrained and large firms are not. For some parameter values the model reproduces the cyclical observations viewed as supporting the lending view of the monetary transmission mechanism and for others it does not. The ...
Changes in the Risk-Management Environment for Monetary Policy
In response to the massive challenges presented by the global financial crisis, in late 2007 the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) began a series of large reductions in its traditional policy tool, the overnight interest rate in the federal funds market. By December 2008 the Committee had lowered the target to its effective lower bound (ELB) of 0 to 25 basis points.1 Later, in an attempt to provide additional monetary stimulus, the FOMC implemented nontraditional policy tools, such as large-scale asset purchases and forward guidance about how long the fed funds rate would stay at very low ...
Technology shocks matter
This paper uses the neoclassical growth model to identify the effects of technological change on the US business cycle. In the model there are two sources of technological change: neutral, which effects the production of all goods homogeneously, and investment-specific. Investment-specific shocks are the unique source of the secular trend in the real price of investment goods, while shocks to both kinds of technology are the only factors which affect labor productivity in the long run. Consistent with previous empirical work which considers only neutral shocks, the results suggest these ...