Optimal Management of an Epidemic: Lockdown, Vaccine and Value of Life
This paper analyzes the optimal management of a pandemic (stay-at-home and vaccination policies) in a dynamic model. The optimal lockdown policies respond to the spread of the virus with significant restrictions to employment, followed by partial loosening before the peak of the epidemic. Upon the availability of a vaccine, the optimal vaccination policy has an almost bang-bang property, despite the loss of immunity of the vaccinated: vaccinate at the highest possible rate, and then rapidly converge to the steady state. The model illustrates interesting trade-offs as it implies that lower ...
Equilibrium mortgage choice and housing tenure decisions with refinancing
The last decade has brought about substantial mortgage innovation and increased refinancing. The objective of the paper is to understand the determinants and implications of mortgage choice in the context of general equilibrium model with incomplete markets. The equilibrium characterization allows us to study the impact of mortgage financing = decisions in the productive economy. We show the influence of different contract characteristics such as the downpayment requirement, repayment structure, and the amortization schedule for mortgage choice. We find that loan products that allow for low ...
Household Debt and the Great Recession
In the mid-2000s, household private debt reached a new level 1.2 times larger than personal income? before collapsing during the Great Recession. This paper uses microeconomic data to document the main changes in personal debt and explore the behavior of debt across generations over two periods: before and after the Great Recession. Special emphasis is placed on participation rates by category of debt (the extensive margin), volume borrowed (the intensive margin), and default behavior. Key findings include that between 1999 and 2013 the fraction of individuals with only unsecured (e.g., ...
Intergenerational policy and the measurement of tax incidence
We evaluate the ability of generational accounting to assess the potential welfare implications of policy reforms. In an intergenerational context policy reforms usually have redistributive, efficiency, and general equilibrium implications. Our analysis shows that when the policy reform implies changes in economic efficiency, generational accounts can be misleading not only about the magnitude of welfare changes, but also about the identity of who wins and who losses. In contrast the generational accounts correctly identify welfare changes when the policy reform has only a pure ...
Estate taxation with warm-glow altruism
This article examines the properties of the optimal fiscal policy in an economy with warm-glow altruism (utility interdependence) and heterogeneous individuals. We propose a new efficiency concept, D-efficiency, that considers an implicit constraint in the act of giving: donors cannot bequeath to donees more than their existing resources. Considering this constraint, we show that the market equilibrium is not socially efficient. The efficient level of bequest transfers can be implemented by the market with estate and labor-income subsidies and a capital-income tax. In the absence of lump-sum ...
Intertemporal discounting and policy selection
The choice of the intertemporal discount rate affects the measurement of the tax burden of different age cohorts. Small changes in the discount rate affect not only the magnitude of the measured changes, but also the ranking of policies using that metric. The authors illustrate this problem in the context of neutral Social Security reforms. By construction, these policies do not change allocations; hence, they also do not change welfare. However, depending on the choice of the discount rate, one could reach different (and possibly opposite) conclusions regarding the desirability of such ...
The Yield Curve as a Predictor of Future Growth
The yield curve has tended to be a reliable and consistent indicator of future U.S. economic growth trends.
Did housing policies cause the postwar boom in homeownership?
After the collapse of housing markets during the Great Depression, the U.S. government played a large role in shaping the future of housing finance and policy. Soon thereafter, housing markets witnessed the largest boom in recent history. The objective in this paper is to quantify the contribution of government interventions in housing markets in the expansion of U.S. homeownership using an equilibrium model of tenure choice. In the model, home buyers have access to a menu of mort- gage choices to finance the acquisition of a house. The government also provides special programs through ...
Boom & gloom in housing markets: the sequel
How Closing Restaurants and Hotels Spills Over to Total Employment
Due to the increasingly interconnected nature of our economy, losses in one sector could quickly spread to other sectors.