Does headline inflation converge to core?
Recent surges in food and energy prices have pushed up headline inflation to levels well above its underlying trend. In contrast, core inflation, which excludes food and energy prices, has remained low and stable. Historical data suggest that, since the early 1990s, headline inflation has tended to converge toward core inflation. Thus, high inflation is unlikely to persist as long as inflation expectations remain anchored.
Asymmetric expectation effects of regime shifts and the Great Moderation
The possibility of regime shifts in monetary policy can have important effects on rational agents' expectation formation and equilibrium dynamics. In a dynamic stochastic general equilibrium model where the monetary policy rule switches between a dovish regime that accommodates inflation and a hawkish regime that stabilizes inflation, the expectation effect is asymmetric across regimes. Such an asymmetric effect makes it difficult but still possible to generate substantial reductions in the volatilities of inflation and output as the monetary policy switches from the dovish regime to the ...
Are Workers Losing to Robots?
The portion of national income that goes to workers, known as the labor share, has fallen substantially over the past 20 years. Even with strong employment growth in recent years, the labor share has remained at historically low levels. Automation has been an important driving factor. While it has increased labor productivity, the threat of automation has also weakened workers? bargaining power in wage negotiations and led to stagnant wage growth. Analysis suggests that automation contributed substantially to the decline in the labor share.
Sources of the Great Moderation: shocks, frictions, or monetary policy?
We study the sources of the Great Moderation by estimating a variety of medium-scale dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) models that incorporate regime switches in shock variances and the inflation target. The best-fit model?the one with two regimes in shock variances?gives quantitatively different dynamics compared with the benchmark constant-parameter model. Our estimates show that three kinds of shocks accounted for most of the Great Moderation and business-cycle fluctuations: capital depreciation shocks, neutral technology shocks, and wage markup shocks. In contrast to the ...
Optimal Capital Account Liberalization in China
China maintains tight controls over its capital account. Its prevailing regime also features financial repression, under which banks are often required to extend a fraction of funds to state-owned enterprises (SOEs) at below-market interest rates. We incorporate these features into a general equilibrium model. We find that capital account liberalization under financial repression incurs a tradeoff between aggregate productivity and intertemporal allocative efficiency. Along a transition path with a declining SOE share, the second-best policy calls for a rapid removal of financial repression, ...
Is GDP Overstating Economic Activity?
Since late 2015, growth in real GDP has consistently exceeded that in real GDI, a prominent alternative measure of aggregate output, with an average difference of about 0.65 percentage point. Is real GDP overstating the expansion? One way to address this question is by comparing the accuracy of these measures in forecasting a benchmark measure of economic activity, the Chicago Fed National Activity Index. The comparison suggests that GDP consistently outperforms GDI in predicting recent real economic activity. Therefore, the weaker GDI growth does not necessarily indicate slower economic ...
Learning, adaptive expectations, and technology shocks
This study explores the macroeconomic implications of adaptive expectations in a standard real business cycle model. When rational expectations are replaced by adaptive expectations, we show that the self-confirming equilibrium is the same as the steady-state rational expectations equilibrium for all admissible parameters but that dynamics around the steady state are substantially different between the two equilibria. The differences are driven mainly by the dampened wealth effect and the strengthened intertemporal substitution effect, not by the escapes emphasized by Williams (2003). As a ...
Chain of production as a monetary propagation mechanism
This paper studies a general equilibrium model with multiple stages of production and asynchronized price setting that provides a new explanation for the observed persistent real effects of monetary shocks. The key feature of the model is a vertical chain-of-production structure. In this model, the effects of monetary shocks on price adjustment are gradually dampened via the interactions of firms through their input-output relations and the timing of their price decisions. The model predicts that prices adjust by a smaller amount and less rapidly at later stages than at earlier stages, which ...
Reserve Requirements and Optimal Chinese Stabilization Policy
We build a two-sector DSGE model of the Chinese economy to study the role of reserve requirement policy for capital reallocation and business cycle stabilization. In the model, state-owned enterprises (SOEs) have lower average productivity than private firms, but they have superior access to bank loans because of government guarantees. Private firms rely on ?shadow? bank financing. Commercial banks are subject to reserve requirement regulations but shadow banks are not. Our framework implies a tradeoff for reserve requirement policy: Increasing the required reserve ratio acts as a tax on SOE ...
Inflation: mind the gap
This Economic Letter examines recent evidence concerning the connection between unemployment and inflation. We argue that, in a deep economic downturn such as the current one, inflation and unemployment do tend to move together in a manner consistent with the Phillips curve. But, outside of such severe recessions, fluctuations in the inflation and unemployment rates do not line up particularly well. Inflation appears to be buffeted by many other factors. This explains why some studies find only a "loose empirical relationship" between economic slack and inflation. Thus, compared with the ...