Should the central bank be concerned about housing prices?
Housing is an important component of the consumption basket. Since both rental prices and goods prices are sticky, the literature suggests that optimal monetary policy should stabilize both types of prices, with the optimal weight on rental inflation proportional to the housing expenditure share. In a two-sector DSGE model with sticky rental prices and goods prices, however, we find that the optimal weight on rental inflation in the Taylor rule is small?much smaller than that implied by the housing expenditure share. Since production of housing services uses the stocks of housing intensively, ...
U.S. tax policy and health insurance demand: can a regressive policy improve welfare?
The U.S. tax policy on health insurance is regressive because it favors only those offered group insurance through their employers, who tend to have a relatively high income. Moreover, the subsidy takes the form of deductions from the progressive income tax system, giving high-income earners a larger subsidy. To understand the effects of the policy, we construct a dynamic general equilibrium model with heterogenous agents and an endogenous demand for health insurance. We use the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey to calibrate the process for income, health expenditures, and health insurance ...
Housing and the macroeconomy: the role of implicit guarantees for government-sponsored enterprises
This paper studies the macroeconomic effects of implicit government guarantees of the obligations of government-sponsored enterprises. We construct a model with competitive housing and mortgage markets in which the government provides banks with insurance against aggregate shocks to mortgage default risk. We use this model to evaluate aggregate and distributional impacts of this government subsidy of owner-occupied housing. Preliminary findings indicate that the subsidy leads to higher equilibrium housing investment, higher mortgage default rates, and lower welfare. The welfare effects of ...
A dynamic model with vertical specialization, credit chains, and incomplete enforcement
This paper sets up a model to account for differences in total factor productivity due to differences in enforcement of contracts. Vertical specialization generates the need for intra-period credit, because final goods producers cannot pay their intermediate goods suppliers before they produce their final good. The paper shows that if there are enforcement problems, the capital distribution is skewed in the sense that intermediate goods producers operate at lower capital levels and higher marginal products of capital than final goods producers. This wedge is created by the price for ...
Health insurance and tax policy
The U.S. tax policy on health insurance favors only those offered a group insurance through their employers. This policy is highly regressive since the subsidy takes the form of deductions from the progressive tax system. The paper investigates alternatives to the current policy. We find that the complete removal of the subsidy results in a significant reduction in the insurance coverage and serious welfare deterioration. However, eliminating regressiveness in the group insurance subsidy and extending benefits to the private insurance market improve welfare and raise the coverage. Our work is ...
Taylor rules with headline inflation: a bad idea
Should a central bank accommodate energy price shocks? Should the central bank use core inflation or headline inflation with the volatile energy component in its Taylor rule? To answer these questions, we build a dynamic stochastic general equilibrium model with energy use, durable goods, and nominal rigidities to study the effects of an energy price shock and its impact on the macroeconomy when the central bank follows a Taylor rule. We then study how the economy performs under alternative parameterizations of the rule with different weights on headline and core inflation after an increase ...
What determines the output drop after an energy price increase: household or firm energy share?
During the past thirty-five years, energy use as a fraction of output has dropped significantly at both the household and the firm levels. Therefore, we investigate a dynamic stochastic generalized equilibrium model economy's response to an energy price hike for different firm and household energy shares. Simulation results indicate that the economy's output response is mainly determined by the firm energy share. Increasing the household energy share while keeping firm energy share constant actually decreases the output response.
Home bias in financial markets: robust satisficing with info gaps
The observed patterns of equity portfolio allocation around the world are at odds with predictions from a capital asset pricing model (CAPM). What has come to be called the ?home-bias? phenomenon is that investors tend to hold a disproportionately large share of their equity portfolio in home country stocks as compared with predictions of the CAPM. This paper provides an explanation of the home-bias phenomenon based on information-gap decision theory. The decision concept that is used here is that profit is satisficed and robustness to uncertainty is maximized rather than expected profit ...
Productivity, energy prices, and the Great Moderation: a new link
We study how total factor productivity (TFP), energy prices, and the Great Moderation are linked. First we estimate a joint stochastic process for the energy price and TFP and establish that until the second quarter of 1982, energy prices negatively affected productivity. This spillover has since disappeared. Second, we show that within the framework of a dynamic stochastic general equilibrium model, the disappearance of this energy-productivity spillover generates the significantly lower volatility of output and its components. Specifically, the change in the joint stochastic process ...
Private international debt with risk of repudiation
The risk of repudiation plays a central role in the size and nature of international capital flows. In this paper the author addresses the question of whether, in a world of international capital flows with risk of default, strategic externalities provide a rationale for regulation of international borrowing. The author models centralized arrangements of international debt in which only governments borrow and lend internationally and decentralized arrangements in which individuals have access to international markets. The author shows that a centralized setup allows more international risk ...