Coordination and Crisis in Monetary Unions
We study fiscal and monetary policy in a monetary union with the potential for rollover crises in sovereign debt markets. Member-country fiscal authorities lack commitment to repay their debt and choose fiscal policy independently. A common monetary authority chooses inflation for the union, also without commitment. We first describe the existence of a fiscal externality that arises in the presence of limited commitment and leads countries to over-borrow; this externality rationalizes the imposition of debt ceilings in a monetary union. We then investigate the impact of the composition of ...
The competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing
We study the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing. For the period 1999?2012 we find little support for a significant offshoring reversal. We show that the share of domestic demand that is met by imports and the terms of trade show no signs of reversal, even in sectors dominated by imports from China. We do, however, find some evidence consistent with the U.S. shale-gas energy revolution raising the competiveness of U.S. energy-intensive sectors.
The effects of a stronger dollar on U.S. prices
Since 2014:Q3, the U.S. dollar has experienced the third-fastest appreciation in over 30 years, with its nominal exchange and real exchange rate rising 15 percent against almost all foreign currencies (as measured by the Major Currencies Dollar Index). This sudden and rapid gain has engendered concerns about how a stronger dollar will affect U.S. export and import prices and ultimately, consumer prices and inflation in the United States. This paper assembles a rich database, spanning the period from 1985:Q1 through 2014:Q4, that combines several measures of prices and exchange rates in order ...
Defaultable debt, interest rates and the current account
World capital markets have experienced large scale sovereign defaults on a number of occasions, the most recent being Argentina?s default in 2002. In this paper we develop a quantitative model of debt and default in a small open economy. We use this model to match four empirical regularities regarding emerging markets: defaults occur in equilibrium, interest rates are countercyclical, net exports are countercyclical, and interest rates and the current account are positively correlated. That is, emerging markets on average borrow more in good times and at lower interest rates as compared to ...
Capital Allocation and Productivity in South Europe
Following the introduction of the euro in 1999, countries in the South experienced large capital inflows and low productivity. We use data for manufacturing firms in Spain to document a significant increase in the dispersion of the return to capital across firms, a stable dispersion of the return to labor across firms, and a significant increase in productivity losses from misallocation over time. We develop a model of heterogeneous firms facing financial frictions and investment adjustment costs. The model generates cross-sectional and time-series patterns in size, productivity, capital ...
Tariff passthrough at the border and at the store: evidence from US trade policy
We use micro data collected at the border and at retailers to characterize the effects brought by recent changes in US trade policy ? particularly the tariffs placed on imports from China ? on importers, consumers, and exporters. We start by documenting that the tariffs were almost fully passed through to the total prices paid by importers, suggesting that the tariffs? incidence has fallen largely on the United States. Since we estimate the response of prices to exchange rates to be far more muted, the recent depreciation of the Chinese renminbi is unlikely to alter this conclusion. Next, ...
Emerging market business cycles: the cycle is the trend
Business cycles in emerging markets are characterized by strongly counter-cyclical current accounts, consumption volatility that exceeds income volatility, and dramatic ?sudden stops? in capital inflows. These features contrast with those of developed, small open economies and highlight the uniqueness of emerging markets. Nevertheless, we show that both qualitatively and quantitatively a standard dynamic stochastic, small open economy model can account for the behavior of both types of markets. Motivated by the observed frequent policy-regime switches in emerging markets, our underlying ...
Estimating the border effect: some new evidence
To what extent do national borders and national currencies impose costs that segment markets across countries? To answer this question the authors use a dataset with product-level retail prices and wholesale costs for a large grocery chain with stores in the United States and Canada. They develop a model of pricing by location and employ a regression discontinuity approach to estimate and interpret the border effect. They report three main facts: One, the median absolute retail price and wholesale cost discontinuities between adjacent stores on either side of the U.S.-Canadian border are as ...
Trade adjustment and productivity in large crises
The authors empirically characterize the mechanics of trade adjustment during the Argentine crisis using detailed firm-level customs data covering the universe of import transactions made during 1996-2008. Their main findings are as follows: First, the extensive margin defined as the entry and exit of firms or of products (at the country level) plays a small role during the crisis. Second, the sub-extensive margin defined as the churning of inputs within firms plays a sizeable role in aggregate adjustment. This implies that the true increase in input costs exceeds that imputed from ...
Defaultable debt, interest rates, and the current account
World capital markets have experienced large-scale sovereign defaults on a number of occasions, the most recent being Argentina?s default in 2002. In this paper, we develop a quantitative model of debt and default in a small open economy. We use this model to match four empirical regularities regarding emerging markets: defaults occur in equilibrium, interest rates are countercyclical, net exports are countercyclical, and interest rates and the current account are positively correlated. That is, emerging markets on average borrow more in good times and at lower interest rates than in slumps. ...