Monetary strategy with an elastic price standard
Trading Off Consumption and COVID-19 Deaths
This note develops a framework for thinking about the following question: What is the maximum amount of consumption that a utilitarian welfare function would be willing to trade off to avoid the deaths associated with COVID-19? The answer depends crucially on the mortality rate associated with the coronavirus. If the mortality rate averages 0.81%, as projected in one prominent study, our answer is 41% of one year's consumption. If the mortality rate instead averages 0.44% across age groups, as suggested by a recent seroprevalence study, our answer is 28%.
The stock market and capital accumulation
The value of a firm's securities measures the value of the firm's productive assets. If the assets include only capital goods and not a permanent monopoly franchise, the value of the securities measures the value of the capital. Finally, if the price of the capital can be measured or inferred, the quantity of the firm's capital is the value divided by the price. A standard model of adjustment costs enables the inference of the price of installed capital. I explore the implications of the proposition using data from U.S. non-farm, non-financial corporations over the past 50 years. The data ...
Monetary policy in the information economy : commentary
The Disappointing Recovery in U.S. Output after 2009
U.S. output has expanded only slowly since the recession trough in 2009, counter to normal expectations of a rapid cyclical recovery. Removing cyclical effects reveals that the deep recession was superimposed on a sharply slowing trend in underlying growth. The slowing trend reflects two factors: slow growth of innovation and declining labor force participation. Both of these powerful adverse forces were in place before the recession and, thus, were not the result of the financial crisis or policy changes since 2009.
Macroeconomic policy under structural change
Dynamics of corporate earnings
Earnings are the flow of value created by corporations. I concentrate on the concept called EBITDA-earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization. This measure captures the results of the substantive non-financial activities of corporations and corresponds to the rental price of capital multiplied by the quantity of capital. I measure earnings per dollar of capital for all U.S. corporations and at the level of 35 U.S. industries. I develop a competitive benchmark for the level of earnings, which takes account of adjustment costs, taxes, depreciation, and the financial ...
The Unemployed with Jobs and without Jobs
Potential workers are classified as unemployed if they seek work but are not working. The unemployed population contains two groups---those with jobs and those without jobs. Those with jobs are on furlough or temporary layoff. This group expanded tremendously in April 2020. They wait out periods of non-work with the understanding that their jobs still exist and that they will be recalled. We show that the resulting temporary-layoff unemployment dissipates quickly following a spike. Potential workers without jobs constitute what we call jobless unemployment. Shocks that elevate jobless ...
The routes into and out of the zero lower bound
Why Has the US Economy Recovered So Consistently from Every Recession in the Past 70 Years?
It is a remarkable fact about the historical US business cycle that, after unemployment reached its peak in a recession, and a recovery began, the annual reduction in the unemployment rate was stable at around 0.55 percentage points per year. The economy seems to have had an irresistible force toward restoring full employment. There was high variation in monetary and fiscal policy, and in productivity and labor-force growth, but little variation in the rate of decline of unemployment. We explore models of the labor market's self-recovery that imply gradual working off of unemployment ...