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Author:Mertens, Karel 

Working Paper
The Near Term Growth Impact of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

This note uses existing empirical estimates of the macroeconomic effects of tax changes to project the near term impact of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on US GDP growth. Applying recent reduced form estimates of tax multipliers with the projected revenue impact of the Act yields a level of GDP that is predicted to be 1.3% higher by 2020, with most of the growth front-loaded in 2018. Accounting for the composition of the Act in terms of its individual and corporate provisions leads to a similar GDP increase by 2020, but with stronger growth in 2018 and a partial reversal in the following years. ...
Working Papers , Paper 1803

Real-Time Population Survey Suggests U.S. Job Losses Slowed in Early May

Survey results for the week of May 10 suggest further declines in employment and an increase in unemployment relative to the week of April 26 – May 2, though both changes are within the survey’s margin of error.
Dallas Fed Economics

Working Paper
A Robust Test for Weak Instruments with Multiple Endogenous Regressors

We extend the popular bias-based test of Stock and Yogo (2005) for instrument strength in linear instrumental variables regressions with multiple endogenous regressors to be robust to heteroskedasticity and autocorrelation. Equivalently, we extend the robust test of Montiel Olea and Pflueger (2013) for one endogenous regressor to the general case with multiple endogenous regressors. We describe a simple procedure for applied researchers to conduct our generalized first-stage test of instrument strength and provide efficient and easy-to-use Matlab code for its implementation. We demonstrate ...
Working Papers , Paper 2208

The Labor Market May Be Tighter than the Level of Employment Suggests

Nonfarm payroll employment disappointed in April, increasing just 266,000, well below consensus expectations of nearly 1 million new jobs. With payroll employment remaining well below its prior peak, slow job growth would typically suggest weak demand for labor from firms and limited employment opportunities for job seekers. Current conditions in the labor market, however, may be far from typical.
Dallas Fed Economics

Working Paper
Work from Home Before and After the COVID-19 Outbreak

Based on novel survey data, we document a persistent rise in work from home (WFH) over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. Using theory and direct survey evidence,we argue that three quarters of this increase reflects adoption of new work arrangements that will likely be permanent for many workers. A quantitative model matched to surveydata predicts that twice as many workers will WFH full-time post-pandemic compared to pre-pandemic, and that one in every five instead of seven workdays will be WFH. These model predictions are consistent with survey evidence on workers' own expectations about ...
Working Papers , Paper 2022-008

Working Paper
The Dynamic Effects of Personal and Corporate Income Tax Changes in the United States: Reply to Jentsch and Lunsford

In this reply to a comment by Jentsch and Lunsford, we show that, when focusing on the relevant impulse responses, the evidence for economic and statistically significant macroeconomic effects of tax changes in Mertens and Ravn (2013) remains present for a range of asymptotically valid inference methods.
Working Papers , Paper 1805

Working Paper
Dynamic Identification Using System Projections and Instrumental Variables

We propose System Projections with Instrumental Variables (SP-IV) to estimate dynamic structural relationships. SP-IV replaces lag sequences of instruments in traditional IV with lead sequences of endogenous variables. SP-IV allows the inclusion of controls to weaken exogeneity requirements, can be more efficient than IV with lags, and allows identification over many time horizons without creating many-weak-instruments problems. SP-IV also enables the estimation of structural relationships across impulse responses obtained from local projections or vector autoregressions. We provide a ...
Working Papers , Paper 2204

Working Paper
Do Monetary Policy Announcements Shift Household Expectations?

We use a decade of daily survey data from Gallup to study how monetary policy influences households' beliefs about economic conditions. We first document that public confidence in the state of the economy reacts instantaneously to certain types of macroeconomic news. Next, we show that surprises to the Federal Funds target rate are among the news that have statistically significant and instantaneous effects on economic confidence. Specifically, we find that a surprise increase in the target rate robustly leads to an immediate decline in household confidence, at odds with previous findings ...
Working Papers , Paper 1906

Real-Time Survey to Provide Timelier Labor Market Data in Era of COVID-19

An effective economic policy response to the rapidly evolving coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis requires timely and accurate information on its impact. To help reduce the information gap, we introduce the Real-Time Population Survey.
Dallas Fed Economics

Discussion Paper
Monitoring Real Activity in Real Time: The Weekly Economic Index

Economists are well-practiced at assessing real activity based on familiar aggregate time series, like the unemployment rate, industrial production, or GDP growth. However, these series represent monthly or quarterly averages of economic conditions, and are only available at a considerable lag, after the month or quarter ends. When the economy hits sudden headwinds, like the COVID-19 pandemic, conditions can evolve rapidly. How can we monitor the high-frequency evolution of the economy in “real time”?
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20200330b

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