Does Redistribution Increase Output?
According to conventional wisdom, wealth redistribution boosts output by increasing aggregate consumption. However, while redistributive policies can have a short-run stimulative effect on consumption, their effect on output depends, potentially quite importantly, on the nature of household labor supply.
Using Inventories to Help Explain Post-1984 Business Cycles
Real business cycle (RBC) models have been highly successful at explaining business cycles that occurred before 1984. But since then, shifts in comovements and relative volatilities of key economic aggregates have challenged their preeminence. One possible refinement of the standard RBC model is to include multiple stages of production. This extension allows researchers to use inventory data to estimate the discount rate that firms use to assess future income streams. The results indicate that variations in the discount rate reflect financial frictions that have become significant drivers of ...
Inequality in and across Cities
Inequality in the United States has an important spatial component. More-skilled workers tend to live in larger cities where they earn higher wages. Less-skilled workers make lower wages and do not experience similar gains even when they live in those cities. This dynamic implies that larger cities are also more unequal. These relationships appear to have become more pronounced as inequality has increased. The evidence points to externalities among high-skilled workers as a significant contributor to those patterns.
The Heterogeneous Business-Cycle Behavior of Industrial Production
This paper collects stylized facts about the cyclical properties of industry-level data. Those can provide a window into the sources of business cycles as well as propagation mechanisms. We find (i) goods that are more durable or that have higher wealth elasticity are more cyclical, (ii) sectors tied to the government tend to lag business cycles, (iii) sectors with nominal frictions tend to lag business cycles, (iv) sectors in which financial frictions are likely to be important tend to lag business cycles, and (v) industries that are highly integrated tend to lead business cycles.
The Business Cycle Behavior of Working Capital
This article investigates the cyclical properties of different components of working capital, with special attention to the correlations across time with output and cash flow to firms. The findings are as follows: First, inventories lag business cycles before 1984 by about three quarters. However, the lead-lag relationship becomes shorter in the more recent period. Second, cash holdings broadly defined to include short-term investments commonly lead the business cycle, consistent with the cash-in-advance model for short-term production decisions. Finally, trade credit lags the business cycle ...
When do credit frictions matter for business cycles?
Since the Great Recession there has been renewed interest in introducing credit frictions in business cycle models. However, in order for credit frictions to be quantitatively meaningful and qualitatively realistic in business cycles, it is necessary to depart from conventional assumptions about production technology or preferences and/or add additional frictions. This article reviews some of those departures and additions.
How Can Consumption-Based Asset-Pricing Models Explain Low Interest Rates?
The real interest rate is at historically low levels following the Great Recession. This article examines under which conditions the leading consumption-based asset-pricing models can give rise to such a reduction. In particular, we examine implications of standard constant relative risk aversion preference models with Gaussian shocks, models with consumption disaster, models with long-run risk, and models with habit formation. Given the models reviewed, the high-risk premium suggests that low interest rates in the recent period are likely to be either a consequence of a perception that ...
Inequality Across and Within US Cities around the Turn of the Twenty-First Century
We review key facts about inequality across and within US cities around the turn of the twenty-first century and discuss theoretical interpretations. Large cities are cities with a greater proportion of skilled workers. In those large and skill-intensive cities, wages are overall higher but are offset by higher rents. Those higher wages are particularly prevalent among high-skilled workers, so that the skill premium increases with city size and skill mix. Over the last few decades, these facts have become increasingly salient. We discuss possible explanations for these facts with the help of ...
Time to produce and emerging market crises
The opportunity cost of waiting for goods to be produced and sold increases with the cost of financing. This channel is evident in emerging market crises, when industries that use more inventories lose more of their output and lag behind in the recovery. An open economy model with lags in the production process ("time to produce") generates comparable cross-sectoral differences in response to a shock to the foreign interest rate and, in the year of the crisis, accounts for up to 25% of the deviation of output from its previous trend. In contrast, an equivalent model without time to ...
Accounting for unemployment in the Great Recession : nonparticipation matters
We conduct an accounting exercise of the role of worker flows between unemployment, employment, and labor force nonparticipation in the dynamics of the aggregate unemployment rate across four recent recessions: 1982-1983, 1990-1991, 2001, and 2007-2009 (the "Great Recession"). We show that, whereas during earlier recessions it was sufficient to examine the flows between employment and unemployment to account for the dynamics of the unemployment rate, this was not true in the Great Recession. The increased importance of the flows between nonparticipation and unemployment is documented ...