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Author:Lester, Benjamin 

Working Paper
Excess Reserves and Monetary Policy Implementation

In response to the Great Recession, the Federal Reserve resorted to several unconventional policies that drastically altered the landscape of the federal funds market. The current environment, in which depository institutions are flush with excess reserves, has forced policymakers to design a new operational framework for monetary policy implementation. We provide a parsimonious model that captures the key features of the current federal funds market along with the instruments introduced by the Federal Reserve to implement its target for the federal funds rate. We use this model to analyze ...
Working Papers , Paper 16-33

Working Paper
Frictional Intermediation in Over-the-Counter Markets

We extend Duffie, G?arleanu, and Pedersen?s (2005) search theoretic model of over-the-counter (OTC) asset markets, allowing for a decentralized inter-dealer market with arbitrary heterogeneity in dealers? valuations or inventory costs. We develop a solution technique that makes the model fully tractable and allows us to derive, in closed form, theoretical formulas for key statistics analyzed in empirical studies of the intermediation process in OTC markets. A calibration to the market for municipal securities reveals that the model can generate trading patterns and prices that are ...
Working Papers , Paper 19-10

Working Paper
INFORMATION SPILLOVERS, GAINS FROM TRADE, AND INTERVENTIONS IN FROZEN MARKETS

We study government interventions in markets suffering from adverse selection. Importantly, asymmetric information prevents both the realization of gains from trade and the production of information that is valuable to other market participants. We find a fundamental tension in maximizing welfare: While some intervention is required to restore trading, too much intervention depletes trade of its informational content. We characterize the optimal policy that balances these two considerations and explore how it depends on features of the environment. Our model can be used to study a program ...
Working Papers , Paper 16-28

Working Paper
The Heterogeneous Impact of Referrals on Labor Market Outcomes

We document a new set of facts regarding the impact of referrals on labor market outcomes. Our results highlight the importance of distinguishing between different types of referrals—those from family and friends and those from business contacts—and different occupations. Then we develop an on-the-job search model that incorporates referrals and calibrate the model to key moments in the data. The calibrated model yields new insights into the roles played by different types of referrals in the match formation process and provides quantitative estimates of the effects of referrals on ...
Working Papers , Paper 21-34

Journal Article
Why ask? the role of asking prices in transactions

Benjamin Lester explores why sellers sometimes use negotiable asking prices and why this method can lead to more efficient outcomes.
Business Review , Issue Q4 , Pages 1-4

Working Paper
A Model of the Federal Funds Market: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

The landscape of the federal funds market changed drastically in the wake of the Great Recession as large-scale asset purchase programs left depository institutions awash with reserves, and new regulations made it more costly for these institutions to lend. As traditional levers for implementing monetary policy became less effective, the Federal Reserve introduced new tools to implement the target range for the federal funds rate, changing this landscape even more. In this paper, we develop a model that is capable of reproducing the main features of the federal funds market, as observed ...
Working Papers , Paper 18-10

Working Paper
Screening and adverse selection in frictional markets

We incorporate a search-theoretic model of imperfect competition into an otherwise standard model of asymmetric information with unrestricted contracts. We develop a methodology that allows for a sharp analytical characterization of the unique equilibrium and then use this characterization to explore the interaction between adverse selection, screening, and imperfect competition. On the positive side, we show how the structure of equilibrium contracts?and, hence, the relationship between an agent?s type, the quantity he trades, and the corresponding price?is jointly determined by the severity ...
Working Papers , Paper 16-10

Working Paper
Heterogeneity in decentralized asset markets

We study a search and bargaining model of an asset market, where investors? heterogeneous valuations for the asset are drawn from an arbitrary distribution. Our solution technique renders the analysis fully tractable and allows us to provide a full characterization of the equilibrium, in closed-form, both in and out of steady-state. We use this characterization for two purposes. First, we establish that the model can naturally account for a number of stylized facts that have been documented in empirical studies of over-the-counter asset markets. In particular, we show that heterogeneity among ...
Working Papers , Paper 15-22

Working Paper
Meeting technologies and optimal trading mechanisms in competitive search markets

In a market in which sellers compete by posting mechanisms, we allow for a general meeting technology and show that its properties crucially affect the mechanism that sellers select in equilibrium. In general, it is optimal for sellers to post an auction without a reserve price but with a fee, paid by all buyers who meet with the seller. However, we define a novel condition on meeting technologies, which we call invariance, and show that meeting fees are equal to zero if and only if this condition is satisfied. Finally, we discuss how invariance is related to other properties of meeting ...
Working Papers , Paper 14-15

Report
The Heterogeneous Impact of Referrals on Labor Market Outcomes

We document a new set of facts regarding the impact of referrals on labor market outcomes. Our results highlight the importance of distinguishing between different types of referrals—those from family and friends and those from business contacts—and different occupations. Then we develop an on-the-job search model that incorporates referrals and calibrate the model to key moments in the data. The calibrated model yields new insights into the roles played by different types of referrals in the match formation process, and provides quantitative estimates of the effects of referrals on ...
Staff Reports , Paper 987

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