Disasters Everywhere: The Costs of Business Cycles Reconsidered
Business cycles are costlier and stabilization policies more beneficial than widely thought. This paper shows that all business cycles are asymmetric and resemble mini “disasters.” By this we mean that growth is pervasively fat-tailed and non-Gaussian. Using long-run historical data, we show empirically that this is true for all advanced economies since 1870. Focusing on the peacetime sample, we develop a tractable local projection framework to estimate consumption growth paths for normal and financial-crisis recessions. Using random coefficient local projections we get an easy and ...
Empirical simultaneous prediction regions for path-forecasts
This paper investigates the problem of constructing prediction regions for forecast trajectories 1 to H periods into the future - a path forecast. We take the more general view that the null model is only approximative and in some cases it may be altogether unavailable. As a consequence, one cannot derive the usual analytic expressions nor resample from the null model as is usually done when bootstrap methods are used. The paper derives methods to construct approximate rectangular regions for simultaneous probability coverage which correct for serial correlation. The techniques appear to work ...
Riders on the Storm
Interest rates in major advanced economies have drifted down and in greater unison over the past few decades. A country?s rate of interest can be thought of as reflecting movements in the global neutral rate of interest, the domestic neutral rate, and the stance of monetary policy. Only the latter is controlled by the central bank. Estimates from a state space New Keynesian model show that central bank policy explains less than half of the variation in interest rates. The rest of the time, the central bank is catching up to trends dictated by productivity growth, demography, and other factors ...
The Rate of Return on Everything, 1870–2015
This paper answers fundamental questions that have preoccupied modern economic thought since the 18th century. What is the aggregate real rate of return in the economy? Is it higher than the growth rate of the economy and, if so, by how much? Is there a tendency for returns to fall in the long-run? Which particular assets have the highest long-run returns? We answer these questions on the basis of a new and comprehensive dataset for all major asset classes, including?for the first time?total returns to the largest, but oft ignored, component of household wealth, housing. The annual data on ...
Semiparametric Estimates of Monetary Policy Effects: String Theory Revisited
We develop flexible semiparametric time series methods that are then used to assess the causal effect of monetary policy interventions on macroeconomic aggregates. Our estimator captures the average causal response to discrete policy interventions in a macro-dynamic setting, without the need for assumptions about the process generating macroeconomic outcomes. The proposed procedure, based on propensity score weighting, easily accommodates asymmetric and nonlinear responses. Application of this estimator to the effects of monetary restraint shows the Fed to be an effective inflation fighter. ...
Labor Markets in the Global Financial Crisis: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
This note examines labor market performance across countries through the lens of Okun?s Law. We find that after the 1970s but prior to the global financial crisis of the 2000s, the Okun?s Law relationship between output and unemployment became more homogenous across countries. These changes presumably reflected institutional and technological changes. But, at least in the short term, the global financial crisis undid much of this convergence, in part because the affected countries adopted different labor market policies in response to the global demand shock.
Global Financial Cycles and Risk Premiums
This paper studies the synchronization of financial cycles across 17 advanced economies over the past 150 years. The comovement in credit, house prices, and equity prices has reached historical highs in the past three decades. The sharp increase in the comovement of global equity markets is particularly notable. We demonstrate that fluctuations in risk premiums, and not risk-free rates and dividends, account for a large part of the observed equity price synchronization after 1990. We also show that U.S. monetary policy has come to play an important role as a source of fluctuations in risk ...
Assessing the Historical Role of Credit: Business Cycles, Financial Crises, and the Legacy of Charles S. Peirce
This paper provides a historical overview on financial crises and their origins. The objective is to discuss a few of the modern statistical methods that can be used to evaluate predictors of these rare events. The problem involves prediction of binary events and therefore fits modern statistical learning, signal processing theory, and classification methods. The discussion also emphasizes the need to supplement statistics and computational techniques with economics. A forecast?s success in this environment hinges on the economic consequences of the actions taken as a result of the forecast, ...
The Time for Austerity: Estimating the Average Treatment Effect of Fiscal Policy
Elevated government debt levels in advanced economies have risen rapidly as sovereigns absorbed private sector losses and cyclical deficits blew up in the Global Financial Crisis and subsequent slump. A rush to fiscal austerity followed but its justifications and impacts have been heavily debated. Research on the effects of austerity on macroeconomic aggregates remains unsettled, mired by the difficulty of identifying multipliers from observational data. This paper reconciles seemingly disparate estimates of multipliers within a unified framework. We do this by first evaluating the validity ...
Shocks and Adjustments
We develop a multisector model in which capital and labor are free to move across firms within each sector, but cannot move across sectors. To isolate the role of sectoral specificity, we compare our model with otherwise identical multisector economies with either economy-wide factor markets (as in Chari et al. 2000) or firm-specific factor markets (as in Woodford 2005). Sectoral specificity induces within-sector strategic substitutability and across-sector strategic complementarity in price setting. Our model can produce either more or less monetary non-neutrality than those other two ...