Macroeconomic Implications of Uniform Pricing
We compile a new database of grocery prices in Argentina. We find uniform pricing both within and across regions—i.e., prices almost do not vary within stores of a chain. In line with uniform pricing, prices in stores of chains operating in one region react to changes in regional employment, while prices in multi-region chains do not. Using a quantitative regional model with multi-region firms and uniform pricing, we find a one-half smaller elasticity of prices to a regional than an aggregate shock. This result highlights that some caution may be necessary when using regional shocks to ...
Credit and Liquidity Policies during Large Crises
We study the evolution of firm financials during two large crises: the Great Financial Crisis (GFC) and the COVID-19 pandemic. While the two crises featured similar increases in corporate spreads, corporate debt and liquid asset holdings moved in opposite directions. The micro-data reveal that firm leverage was a more important predictor of firm-level credit spreads and investment during the GFC, but that firm funding liquidity was more important during the pandemic. We augment a dynamic model of firm capital structure with an explicit motive to hold liquid assets, and calibrate it to match ...
Corporate Bond Spreads and the Pandemic III: Variance across Sectors and Firms
Corporate bond spreads widened when COVID-19 initially began spreading, then spreads stabilized. How have spreads fared across individual sectors and issuances from the same firm?
Corporate Bond Spreads and the Pandemic IV: Liquidity Buffers
The cost of borrowing rose for most firms during the pandemic-related disruption of financial markets, but firms with greater liquidity have had smaller increases in credit spreads.
Anatomy of Corporate Credit Spreads: The Great Recession vs. COVID-19
We compare the evolution of corporate credit spreads during the Great Recession and the COVID-19 pandemic. The two crises featured increases of similar magnitudes in the median and cross-sectional dispersion of credit spreads, but the pandemic was short-lived and different sectors were affected. The micro-data reveal larger differences between the two episodes: the Great Recession featured an increase in the across-firm dispersion, and leverage was an important predictor of credit spreads. Differently, the COVID-19 crisis displayed a larger increase in within-firm dispersion, and funding ...
Explaining Intergenerational Mobility: The Role of Fertility and Family Transfers
Poor families have more children and transfer less resources to them. This suggests that family decisions about fertility and transfers dampen intergenerational mobility. To evaluate the quantitative importance of this mechanism, we extend the standard heterogeneous agent life cycle model with earnings risk and credit constraints to allow for endogenous fertility, family transfers, and education. The model, estimated to the US in the 2000s, implies that a counterfactual flat income-fertility profile would-through the equalization of initial conditions-increase intergenerational mobility by ...
Scarring Body and Mind: The Long-Term Belief-Scarring Effects of COVID-19
The largest economic cost of the COVID-19 pandemic could arise if it changed behavior long after the immediate health crisis is resolved. A common explanation for such a long-lived effect is the scarring of beliefs. We show how to quantify the extent of such belief changes and determine their impact on future economic outcomes. We find that the long-run effect of the COVID crisis depends crucially on whether bankruptcies and changes in habit make existing capital obsolete. A policy that avoided most permanent separation of workers from capital could generate a much larger benefit than ...
Macroeconomic Implications of Uniform Pricing
We compile a new database of grocery prices in Argentina, with over 9 million observations per day. We find uniform pricing both within and across regions—i.e., product prices almost do not vary within stores of a chain. Uniform pricing implies that prices would not change with regional conditions or shocks, particularly so if chains operate in several regions. We confirm this hypothesis using employment data. While prices in stores of chains operating almost exclusively in one region do react to changes in regional employment, stores of chains that operate in many regions do not. Finally, ...
Investment and Bilateral Insurance
Private information may limit insurance possibilities when two agents get together to pool idiosyncratic risk. However, if there is capital accumulation, bilateral insurance possibilities may improve because misreporting distorts investment. We show that if one of the Pareto weights is sufficiently large, that agent does not have incentives to misreport. This implies that, under some conditions, the full information allocation is incentive compatible when agents have equal Pareto weights. In the long run, either one of the agents goes to immiseration, or both agents’ lifetime utilities are ...
The Comovement between Credit Spreads, Corporate Debt and Liquid Assets in Recent Crises
Credit spreads rose sharply during the 2008 financial crisis and the COVID-19 crisis. But their movement with corporate debt and liquid assets differed during those two periods.