When should labor contracts be nominal?
We propose a theory to explain the choice between nominal and indexed labor contracts. We find that contracts should be indexed if prices are difficult to forecast and nominal otherwise. Our analysis is based on a principal-agent model developed by Jovanovic and Ueda (1997) in which renegotiation can take place once the nominal value of the agent's output is observed. Their model assumes that agents use pure strategy, with the strong result that only nominal contracts can be written without being renegotiated. But, in reality, we do observe indexed contracts. We resolve this weakness of their model by allowing agents to choose mixed strategies, and find that the optimal contract is indeed nominal for certain parameters. For other parameters, however, we show that the optimal contract is indexed. Our findings are consistent with two empirical regularities: that prices are more volatile with higher inflation, and that countries with high inflation tend to have indexed contracts.
AUTHORS: Monnet, Cyril; Martin, Antoine
Credit and the no-surcharge rule
A controversial aspect of payment cards has been the ?no-surcharge rule.? This rule, which is part of the contract between the card provider and a merchant, states that the merchant cannot charge a customer who pays by card more than a customer who pays by cash. In this paper we consider the design of an optimal card-based payment system when cash is available as an alternative means of payment. We find that a version of the no-surcharge rule emerges as a natural and advantageous feature of such a system.
AUTHORS: Monnet, Cyril; Roberds, William
The poor, the rich and the enforcer: institutional choice and growth
We study economies where improving the quality of institutions ? modeled as improving contract enforcement ? requires resources, but enables trade that raises output by reducing the dispersion of marginal products of capital. We find that in this type of environment it is optimal to combine institutional building with endowment redistribution, and that more ex-ante dispersion in marginal products increases the incentives to invest in enforcement. In addition, we show that institutional investments lead over time to a progressive reduction in inequality. Finally, the framework we describe enables us to formalize the hypothesis formulated by Engerman and Sokoloff (2002) that the initial concentration of human and physical capital can explain the divergence of different countries? institutional history.
AUTHORS: Quintin, Erwan; Koeppl, Thorsten; Monnet, Cyril
Money and interest rates
This study describes and reconciles two common, seemingly contradictory views about a key monetary policy relationship: that between money and interest rates. Data since 1960 for about 40 countries support the Fisher equation view, that these variables are positively related. But studies taking expectations into account support the liquidity effect view, that they are negatively related. A simple model incorporates both views and demonstrates that which view applies at any time depends on when the change in money occurs and how long the public expects it to last. A surprise money change that is not expected to change future money growth moves interest rates in the opposite direction; one that is expected to change future money growth moves interest rates in the same direction. The study also demonstrates that stating monetary policy as a rule for interest rates rather than money does not change the relationship between these variables.
AUTHORS: Weber, Warren E.; Monnet, Cyril
Why do financial systems differ? History matters
We describe a dynamic model of financial intermediation in which fundamental characteristics of the economy imply a unique equilibrium path of bank and financial market lending. Yet we also show that economies whose fundamental characteristics have converged may continue to have very different financial structures. Because setting up financial markets is costly in our model, economies that emphasize financial market lending are more likely to continue doing so in the future, all else equal.
AUTHORS: Monnet, Cyril; Quintin, Erwan
Dealers' Insurance, Market Structure, And Liquidity
We develop a parsimonious model to study the equilibrium structure of financial markets and its efficiency properties. We find that regulations aimed at improving market outcomes can cause inefficiencies. The welfare benefit of such regulation stems from endogenously improving market access for some participants, thus boosting competition and lowering prices to the ultimate consumers. Higher competition, however, erodes profits from market activities. This has two effects: it disproportionately hurts more efficient market participants, who earn larger profits, and it reduces the incentives of all market participants to invest ex-ante in efficient technologies. The general equilibrium effect can therefore result in a welfare cost to society. Additionally, this economic mechanism can explain the resistance by some market participants to the introduction of specific regulation which could appear to be unambiguously beneficial.
AUTHORS: Carapella, Francesca; Monnet, Cyril
The welfare effects of incentive schemes
This paper computes the change in welfare associated with the introduction of incentives. Specifically, we calculate by how much the welfare gains of increased output due to incentives outweigh workers' disutility from increased effort. We accomplish this by studying the use of incentives by a firm in the check-clearing industry. Using this firm's production records, we model and estimate the worker's dynamic effort decision problem. We find that the firm's incentive scheme has a large effect on productivity, raising it by 14% over the sample period. Using our parameter estimates, we show that the cost of increased effort due to incentives is equal to the dollar value of a 9% rise in productivity. Welfare is measured as the output produced minus the cost of effort, hence the net increase in welfare due to the introduction of the firm's bonus plan is 5%. Under a first-best scheme, we find that the net increase in welfare is 6%.
AUTHORS: Copeland, Adam; Monnet, Cyril
Why Rent When You Can Buy?
Using a model with bilateral trades, we explain why agents prefer to rent the goods they can afford to buy. Absent bilateral trading frictions, renting has no role even with uncertainty about future valuations. With pairwise meetings, agents prefer to sell (or buy) durable goods whenever they have little doubt on the future value of the good. As uncertainty grows, renting becomes more prevalent. Pairwise matching alone is sufficient to explain why agents prefer to rent, and there is no need to introduce random matching, information asymmetries, or other market frictions.
AUTHORS: Monnet, Cyril; Narajabad, Borghan N.
Costly banknote issuance and interest rates under the national banking system
The behavior of interest rates under the U.S. National Banking System is puzzling because of the apparent presence of persistent and large unexploited arbitrage opportunities for note issuing banks. Previous attempts to explain interest rate behavior have relied on the cost or the inelasticity of note issue. These attempts are not entirely satisfactory. Here we propose a new rationale to solve the puzzle. Inelastic note issuance arises endogenously because the marginal cost of issuing notes is an increasing function of circulation. We build a spatial separation model where some fraction of agents must move each period. Banknotes can be carried between locations; deposits cannot. Taking the model to the data on national banks, we find it matches the movements in long-term interest rates well. It also predicts movements in deposit rates during panics. However, the model displays more inelasticity of notes issuance than is in the data.
AUTHORS: Monnet, Cyril; Weber, Warren E.; Martin, Antoine
When should labor contracts be nominal?
This paper proposes a theory of when labor contract should be nominal or, instead, indexed. We find that, contracts should be indexed if prices are difficult to forecast and nominal otherwise. We use a principal-agent model developed by Jovanovic and Ueda (1997), with moral hazard, renegotiation, and where a signal (the nominal value of the sales of the agent) is observed before renegotiation takes place. We show that their result, that the optimal contract is nominal when agents must choose pure strategies, is robust to the case where agents can choose mixed strategies in the sense that, for certain parameters, the optimal contract is still nominal. For other parameters, however, we show that the optimal contract is indexed. Our findings are consistent with two empirical regularities. First prices are more volatile with higher inflation and, second, countries with high inflation tend to have indexed contracts. Our theory suggests that it is because prices are difficult to forecast in high inflation countries that contracts are indexed.
AUTHORS: Monnet, Cyril; Martin, Antoine