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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
Uniform Pricing Within and Across Regions: New Evidence from Argentina
We compile a new database of grocery prices in Argentina, with over 9 million observations per day. Our main novel inding is that product prices almost do not vary within stores of a chain (i.e., uniform pricing). We also find that prices do not change significantly with regional conditions or shocks, particularly so for chains that operate in many regions. To study the impact of uniform pricing on both consumers and firms, this paper uses a tractable model based on the trade literature. Motivated by our empirical findings, each firm has to set the same price in both regions. Relative to a ...
Long-Term Finance and Investment with Frictional Asset Markets
Trading frictions in financial markets affect more long- than short-term bonds generating an upward sloping yield curve. Long-term financing is more expensive in economies with higher trading frictions so firms choose to borrow and invest in shorter horizons and lower productivity projects. The theory guides a new identification of the slope of liquidity spread in the data. We measure and calibrate the model for the US, and counterfactual exercises suggest that variations in trading frictions can have significant effects on maturity choices and investment. A policy intervention improves ...
The Tail that Wags the Economy: Beliefs and Persistent Stagnation
The Great Recession was a deep downturn with long-lasting effects on credit, employment and output. While narratives about its causes abound, the persistence of GDP below pre-crisis trends remains puzzling. We propose a simple persistence mechanism that can be quantified and combined with existing models. Our key premise is that agents don't know the true distribution of shocks, but use data to estimate it non-parametrically. Then, transitory events, especially extreme ones, generate persistent changes in beliefs and macro outcomes. Embedding this mechanism in a neoclassical model, we find ...
Too big to cheat: Efficiency and Investment in Partnerships
Private information may limit insurance possibilities when a few agents form a partnership to pool idiosyncratic risk. We show that these insurance possibilities can improve if the partnership's income depends on capital accumulation and production, because cheating distorts investment. As agents' weights in the partnership increase, they are more affected by the investment distortion, and their incentives to misreport under the full information allocation are reduced. In the long run, either one of the partners is driven to immiseration, or both partners' lifetime utilities are approximately ...
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 seem to ...
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 seem to ...
Corporate Bond Spreads and the Pandemic
How have the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent monetary policy response affected the corporate bond market?