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Author:Martin, Robert F. 

Working Paper
A trend and variance decomposition of the rent-price ratio in housing markets

We use the dynamic Gordon-growth model to decompose the rent-price ratio for owner-occupied housing in the U.S., four Census regions, and twenty-three metropolitan areas into three components: The expected present value of real rental growth, real interest rates, and future housing premia. We use these components to decompose the trend and variance in rent-price ratios for 1975-2005, for an early sub-sample (1975-1996), and for the recent housing boom (1997-2005). We have three main findings. First, variation in expected future real rents accounts for a small share of variation in our sample ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2006-29

Working Paper
The Liquidity Effects of Official Bond Market Intervention

To "ensure depth and liquidity," the European Central Bank in 2010 and 2011 repeatedly intervened in sovereign debt markets through its Securities Markets Programme. These purchases provide a unique natural experiment for testing the effects of large-scale asset purchases on risk premia arising from liquidity concerns. To explore how official intervention influences liquidity premia, we develop a search-based asset-pricing model. Consistent with our model's predictions, we find statistically and economically significant stock and flow effects on sovereign bonds' liquidity premia in response ...
International Finance Discussion Papers , Paper 1138

Working Paper
Consumption, durable goods, and transaction costs

We study consumption of durable and nondurable goods when the durable good is subject to transaction costs. In the model, agents derive utility from a service flow of a durable good and a consumption flow of a nondurable good. The key feature of the model is the existence of a fixed transaction cost in the durable good market. The fixed cost induces an inaction region in the purchase of the durable good. More importantly, the inability to adjust the durable stock induces variation in consumption of the nondurable good over the inaction region. The variation is a function of the degree of ...
International Finance Discussion Papers , Paper 756

Working Paper
Housing market risks in the United Kingdom

House prices in the United Kingdom rose rapidly in recent years. The run-up, larger than any other in U.K. history, leveled off early last year. House prices are currently declining at rates faster than those seen in the early 1990's downturn. The housing downturn, however, is far from complete. Using the price-rent ratio as a guide, house prices are likely to fall at least a further 30 percent before leveling off. Given the historic links between housing and real activity, the downturn is likely to be associated with very slow growth. Going forward, we recommend the price-rent ratio as the ...
International Finance Discussion Papers , Paper 954

Working Paper
Precautionary savings and the wealth distribution with illiquid durables

We study the role an illiquid durable consumption good plays in determining the level of precautionary savings and the distribution of wealth in a standard Aiyagari model (i.e. a model with heterogeneous agents, idiosyncratic uncertainty, and borrowing constraints). Transactions costs induce an inaction region over which the durable stock and the associated user cost are not adjusted in response to changes in income, increasing, on average, the volatility of non-durable consumption. The volatility of total consumption is then a function of the share of the durable good in the utility function ...
International Finance Discussion Papers , Paper 773

Working Paper
Housing, home production, and the equity and value premium puzzles

We test if a standard representative agent model with a home-production sector can resolve the equity premium or value premium puzzles. In this model, agents value market consumption and a home consumption good that is produced as an aggregate of the stock of housing, home labor, and a labor-augmenting technology shock. We construct the unobserved quantity of the home consumption good by combining observed data with restrictions of the model. We test the first-order conditions of the model using GMM. The model is rejected by the data; it cannot explain either the historical equity premium or ...
International Finance Discussion Papers , Paper 931

Working Paper
Potential Output and Recessions: Are We Fooling Ourselves?

This paper studies the impact of recessions on the longer-run level of output using data on 23 advanced economies over the past 40 years. We find that severe recessions have a sustained and sizable negative impact on the level of output. This sustained decline in output raises questions about the underlying properties of output and how we model trend output or potential around recessions. We find little support for the view that output rises faster than trend immediately following recessions to close the output gap. Indeed, we find little evidence that growth is faster following recessions ...
International Finance Discussion Papers , Paper 1145

Working Paper
Exchange rate pass-through to U.S. import prices: some new evidence

This paper documents a sustained decline in exchange rate pass-through to U.S. import prices, from above 0.5 during the 1980s to somewhere in the neighborhood of 0.2 during the last decade. This decline in the pass-through coefficient is robust to the measure of foreign prices that is included in the regression (i.e., CPI versus PPI), whether the estimation is done in levels or differences, and whether U.S. prices are included as an explanatory variable. Notably, the largest estimates of pass-through are obtained when commodity prices are excluded from the regression. In this case, the ...
International Finance Discussion Papers , Paper 833

Conference Paper
The subprime mortgage crisis: irrational exuberance or rational error?

We present a model of the subprime market in which credit quality and loan performance are driven by a statistical process with idiosyncratic and aggregate shocks. Investors use portfolio performance to infer the weight of each shock. We show that low and stable default rates from 2002-2005 convinced investors that the aggregate shock weight was small. In late 2006, when default rates surged, the market collapsed abruptly as investors abandoned their low-weight beliefs. We examine various proposals to fix the mortgage market and find that policy intervention has limited effectiveness in our ...
Proceedings , Issue Jan

Working Paper
Housing, house prices, and the equity premium puzzle

Many recent papers have claimed that when housing services are treated separately from other forms of consumption in utility, a wide range of economic puzzles such as the equity premium puzzle can be explained. Our paper challenges these claims. The key assumption embedded in this literature is that households are not very willing to substitute housing services for consumption. We show that housing services and consumption must be much more substitutable than has been assumed for a neoclassical consumption model to be consistent with U.S. house price data. Further, when forced to match both ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2005-13

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