Who cares about volatility? A tale of two exchange-rate systems.
On an international level, countries often engage in vigorous debate about which type of exchange-rate system to follow ? fixed or flexible? A question central to that debate is: Does one particular exchange-rate system promote a more stable economic environment?
Deficit-financed tax cuts and interest rates
Why do proposals to lower taxes often meet with opposition in Congress. One argument is that lowering taxes without an equivalent fall in government spending may lead to future budget deficits, which will translate into higher long-term interest rates and a lower level of income. Sylvain Leduc discusses the theoretical arguments under which budget deficits lead to higher interest rates. He also surveys empirical studies that used data on expected budget deficits to document the possibility that increases in future budget deficits are associated with higher real long-term interest rates.
International risk-sharing: globalization is weaker than you think
Sylvain Leduc notes that the extent of international risk-sharing remains surprisingly small. This appears to be the case even though the development of international financial markets should better equip households to pool their resources so that their level of consumption varies less from year to year. In ?International Risk-Sharing: Globalization Is Weaker Than You Think,? Leduc digs a little further into the data to uncover why, in spite of recent trends, risk-sharing doesn?t occur more often.
How inflation hawks escape expectations traps
Why did inflation increase so dramatically from the 1960s to the 1970s? One possible theory is that once people started believing inflation would rise, the Fed was forced to validate those expectations by increasing the money supply. In "How Inflation Hawks Escape Expectations Traps," Sylvain Leduc discusses this "expectations trap" hypothesis and uses a direct measure of expectations to see if the theory is consistent with the data.
A quantitative analysis of oil-price shocks, systematic monetary policy, and economic downturns
Are the recessionary consequences of oil-price shocks due to oil-price shocks themselves or to contractionary monetary policies that arise in response to inflation concerns engendered by rising oil prices? Can systematic monetary policy be used to alleviate the consequences of oil shocks on the economy? This paper builds a dynamic general equilibrium model of monopolistic competition in which oil and money matter to study these questions. The economy's response to oil-price shocks is examined under a variety of monetary policy rules in environments with flexible and sticky prices. The authors ...
International risk-sharing and the transmission of productivity shocks
A central puzzle in international finance is that real exchange rates are volatile and, in stark contradiction to efficient risk-sharing, negatively correlated with relative consumptions across countries. This paper shows that a model with incomplete markets and a low price elasticity of imports can account for these properties of real exchange rates. The low price elasticity stems from introducing distribution services, which drive a wedge between producer and consumer prices and lowers the impact of terms-of-trade changes on optimal agents' decisions. In the authors' model, two very ...
Exchange-rate puzzles in a model with arbitrage.
This paper documents the implications of arbitrage costs on the behavior of exchange rates in an open-economy liquidity model. The main motivation behind the paper is the growing evidence that the well-documented departures from purchasing power parity are due to a failure of the law of one price. The paper quantifies the importance of arbitrage costs for the variability, persistence, and autocorrelation of real and nominal exchange rates and compares the results with those of a model with nominal rigidities and firms pricing to market; second, the paper studies the impact of currency risk ...
Incomplete markets, borrowing constraints, and the foreign exchange risk premium
A large body of literature documents that returns from currency speculation are highly volatile and possess a predictable component, which is itself highly volatile and serially correlated. Explaining the returns from currency speculation through the presence of a risk premium has proven difficult, however. In particular, models with complete markets and time-separable preferences generate risk premia that are nearly constant. This paper solves a model consisting of two monetary economies with incomplete markets, in which agents are subject to borrowing constraints. The paper investigates if ...
Why are business cycles alike across exchange-rate regimes?
Since the adoption of flexible exchange rates in the early 1970s, real exchange rates have been much more volatile than they were under Bretton Woods. However, the literature showed that the volatilities of most other macroeconomic variables have not been affected by the change in exchange-rate regime. This poses a puzzle for standard international business cycle models. In this paper, the authors study this puzzle by developing a two-country, two-sector model with nominal rigidities featuring deviations from the law of one price because a fraction of firms set prices in buyers' currencies. ...
Self-fulfilling expectations and the inflation of the 1970s: evidence from the Livingston Survey
Using survey data on expectations, the authors examine whether the post-war data are consistent with theories of a self-fulfilling inflation episode during the 1970s. Among commonly cited factors, oil and fiscal shocks do not appear to have triggered an increase in expected inflation that was subsequently validated by monetary policy. However, the evidence suggests that, prior to 1979, the Fed accommodated temporary shocks to expected inflation, which then led to permanent increases in actual inflation. The authors do not find this behavior in the post-1979 data.