The Effects of the saving and banking glut on the U.S. economy
We use a quantitative equilibrium model with houses, collateralized debt, and foreign borrowing to study the impact of global imbalances on the U.S. economy in the 2000s. Our results suggest that the dynamics of foreign capital flows account for between one-fourth and one-third of the increase in U.S. house prices and household debt that preceded the financial crisis. The key to these findings is that the model generates the sustained low level of interest rates observed over that period.
Measuring the equilibrium real interest rate
The equilibrium real interest rate represents the real rate of return required to keep the economy?s output equal to potential output. This article discusses how to measure the equilibrium real interest rate, using an empirical structural model of the economy.
Investment shocks and the relative price of investment
We estimate a New-Neoclassical Synthesis model of the business cycle with two investment shocks. The first, an investment-specific technology shock, affects the transformation of consumption into investment goods and is identified with the relative price of investment. The second shock affects the production of installed capital from investment goods or, more broadly, the transformation of savings into future capital input. We find that this shock is the most important driver of U.S. business cycle fluctuations in the postwar period and that it is likely to proxy for more fundamental ...
Credit supply and the housing boom
The housing boom that preceded the Great Recession was the result of an increase in credit supply driven by looser lending constraints in the mortgage market. This view on the fundamental drivers of the boom is consistent with four empirical observations: the unprecedented rise in home prices, the surge in household debt, the stability of debt relative to home values, and the fall in mortgage rates. These facts are difficult to reconcile with the popular view that attributes the housing boom to looser borrowing constraints associated with lower collateral requirements. In fact, a slackening ...
Macroeconomic effects of Federal Reserve forward guidance
A large output gap accompanied by stable inflation close to its target calls for further monetary accommodation, but the zero lower bound on interest rates has robbed the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) of the usual tool for its provision. We examine how public statements of FOMC intentions?forward guidance?can substitute for lower rates at the zero bound. We distinguish between Odyssean forward guidance, which publicly commits the FOMC to a future action, and Delphic forward guidance, which merely forecasts macroeconomic performance and likely monetary policy actions. Others have shown ...
Job Switching and Wage Growth
This article shows a remarkably strong relationship between job switching and nominal wage growth. We also find a fairly strong relationship between job switching and the cyclical component of inflation. Furthermore, job switching seems to be predictive of both wage growth and inflation.
The Mortgage Rate Conundrum
We document the emergence of a disconnect between mortgage and Treasury interest rates in the summer of 2003. Following the end of the Federal Reserve expansionary cycle in June 2003, mortgage rates failed to rise according to their historical relationship with Treasury yields, leading to significantly and persistently easier mortgage credit conditions. We uncover this phenomenon by analyzing a large dataset with millions of loan-level observations, which allows us to control for the impact of varying loan, borrower and geographic characteristics. These detailed data also reveal that ...
Household leveraging and deleveraging
U.S. households' debt skyrocketed between 2000 and 2007, but has since been falling. This leveraging and deleveraging cycle cannot be accounted for by the liberalization and subsequent tightening of mortgage credit standards that occurred during the period. We base this conclusion on a quantitative dynamic general equilibrium model calibrated using macroeconomic aggregates and microeconomic data from the Survey of Consumer Finances. From the perspective of the model, the credit cycle is more likely due to factors that impacted house prices more directly, thus affecting the availability of ...
The Chicago Fed DSGE model
The Chicago Fed dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) model is used for policy analysis and forecasting at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. This article describes its specification and estimation, its dynamic characteristics and how it is used to forecast the US economy. In many respects the model resembles other medium scale New Keynesian frameworks, but there are several features which distinguish it: the monetary policy rule includes forward guidance, productivity is driven by neutral and investment specific technical change, multiple price indices identify inflation and there ...
A simple model of subprime borrowers and credit growth
The surge in credit and house prices that preceded the Great Recession was particularly pronounced in ZIP codes with a higher fraction of subprime borrowers (Mian and Sufi 2009). We present a simple model of prime and subprime borrowers distributed across geographic locations, which can reproduce this stylized fact as a result of an expansion in the supply of credit. Owing to their low incomes, subprime households are constrained in their ability to meet interest payments and hence sustain debt. As a result, when the supply of credit increases and interest rates fall, they take on ...