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Author:Owyang, Michael T. 

Journal Article
Okun’s law over the business cycle: was the great recession all that different?

In 1962, Arthur Okun posited an empirical relationship between the change in the unemployment rate and real output growth. Since then, the media, policymakers, pundits, and intermediate macro students have used the so-called Okun?s law as a rule of thumb to relate changes in unemployment to changes in output growth. However, some studies have suggested that the relationship has not been stable over time. Furthermore, the slow recovery of U.S. unemployment relative to output after the Great Recession has led some to question whether Okun?s law has changed permanently. In this light, the ...
Review , Issue Sep , Pages 399-418

Journal Article
Unconventional oil production: stuck in a rock and a hard place

Oil can be derived from oil sands and oil shale, but the job is both economically and environmentally costly. How high must the price of oil be in order to make these alternatives cost-effective?
The Regional Economist , Issue Jul , Pages 14-15

Working Paper
Binary Conditional Forecasts

While conditional forecasting has become prevalent both in the academic literature and in practice (e.g., bank stress testing, scenario forecasting), its applications typically focus on continuous variables. In this paper, we merge elements from the literature on the construction and implementation of conditional forecasts with the literature on forecasting binary variables. We use the Qual-VAR [Dueker (2005)], whose joint VAR-probit structure allows us to form conditional forecasts of the latent variable which can then be used to form probabilistic forecasts of the binary variable. We apply ...
Working Papers , Paper 2019-29

Working Paper
FRED-SD: A Real-Time Database for State-Level Data with Forecasting Applications

We construct a real-time dataset (FRED-SD) with vintage data for the U.S. states that can be used to forecast both state-level and national-level variables. Our dataset includes approximately 28 variables per state, including labor market, production, and housing variables. We conduct two sets of real-time forecasting exercises. The first forecasts state-level labor-market variables using five different models and different levels of industrially-disaggregated data. The second forecasts a national-level variable exploiting the cross-section of state data. The state-forecasting experiments ...
Working Papers , Paper 2020-031

Working Paper
Who benefits from increased government spending? a state-level analysis

We simultaneously identify two government spending shocks: military spending shocks as defined by Ramey (2008) and federal spending shocks as defined by Perotti (2008). We analyze the effect of these shocks on state-level personal income and employment. We find regional patterns in the manner in which both shocks affect state-level variables. Moreover, we find differences in the propagation mechanisms for military versus nonmilitary spending shocks. The former benefits economies with larger manufacturing and retail sectors and states that receive military contracts. While nonmilitary shocks ...
Working Papers , Paper 2009-006

Working Paper
Discordant city employment cycles

The national economy is often described as having a business cycle over which aggregate output enters and exits distinct expansion and recession phases. Analogously, national employment cycles in and out of its own expansion and contraction phases, which are closely related to the business cycle. This paper estimates city-level employment cycles for 58 large U.S. cities and documents the substantial cross-city variation in the timing, lengths, and frequencies of their employment contractions. It also shows how the spread of city-level contractions associated with U.S. recessions has tended to ...
Working Papers , Paper 2010-019

Working Paper
Did affordable housing legislation contribute to the subprime securities boom?

No. In this paper we use a regression discontinuity approach to investigate whether affordable housing policies influenced origination or affected prices of subprime mortgages. We use merged loan-level data on non-prime securitized mortgages with individual- and neighborhood-level data for California and Florida. We find no evidence that lenders increased subprime originations or altered pricing around the discrete eligibility cutoffs for the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) affordable housing goals or the Community Reinvestment Act. Our results indicate that the extensive purchases of ...
Working Papers , Paper 2012-005

Working Paper
Binary Conditional Forecasts

While conditional forecasting has become prevalent both in the academic literature and in practice (e.g., bank stress testing, scenario forecasting), its applications typically focus on continuous variables. In this paper, we merge elements from the literature on the construction and implementation of conditional forecasts with the literature on forecasting binary variables. We use the Qual-VAR [Dueker (2005)], whose joint VAR-probit structure allows us to form conditional forecasts of the latent variable which can then be used to form probabilistic forecasts of the binary variable. We apply ...
Working Papers , Paper 2019-029

Journal Article
How Do Local Labor Markets Affect Retirement?

Compared with prime-age workers, older workers face an easier path out of the labor force if they lose their jobs during a recession. However, premature job exits or earnings losses in the years leading up to retirement may be particularly devastating to retirement savings. The authors analyze the impact of recent business cycles on retirement using multifaceted job transitions of older workers. They focus on local labor markets because older workers are particularly unlikely to move for work. Surprisingly, the biggest effect of a higher local unemployment rate on older workers is to raise ...
Review , Volume 99 , Issue 3 , Pages 259-78

Working Paper
Asymmetry, Complementarities, and State Dependence in Federal Reserve Forecasts

Forecasts are a central component of policy making; the Federal Reserve''s forecasts are published in a document called the Greenbook. Previous studies of the Greenbook''s inflation forecasts have found them to be rationalizable but asymmetric if considering particular sub-periods, e.g., before and after the Volcker appointment. In these papers, forecasts are analyzed in isolation, assuming policymakers value them independently. We analyze the Greenbook fore- casts in a framework in which the forecast errors are allowed to interact. We find that allowing the losses to interact makes the ...
Working Papers , Paper 2013-012

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