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Author:Vigfusson, Robert J. 

Working Paper
Missing Import Price Changes and Low Exchange Rate Pass-Through

A large body of empirical work has found that exchange rate movements have only modest effects on inflation. However, the response of an import price index to exchange rate movements may be underestimated because some import price changes are missed when constructing the index. We investigate downward biases that arise when items experiencing a price change are especially likely to exit or to enter the index. We show that, in theoretical pricing models, entry and exit have different implications for the timing and size of these biases. Using Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) microdata, we ...
International Finance Discussion Papers , Paper 1040

Journal Article
The elusive boost from cheap oil

The plunge in oil prices since the middle of 2014 has not translated into a dramatic boost for consumer spending, which has continued to grow moderately. This has been particularly surprising since the sharp drop should free up income for households to use toward other purchases. Lessons from an empirical model of learning suggest that the weak response may reflect that consumers initially viewed cheaper oil as a temporary condition. If oil prices remain low, consumer perceptions could change, which would boost spending.
FRBSF Economic Letter

Working Paper
What happens after a technology shock?

We provide empirical evidence that a positive shock to technology drives up per capita hours worked, consumption, investment, average productivity and output . This evidence contrasts sharply with the results reported in a large and growing literature that argues, on the basis of aggregate data, that per capita hours worked fall after a positive technology shock. We argue that the difference in results primarily reflects specification error in the way that the literature models the low-frequency component of hours worked.
International Finance Discussion Papers , Paper 768

Working Paper
Assessing structural VARs

This paper analyzes the quality of VAR-based procedures for estimating the response of the economy to a shock. We focus on two key issues. First, do VAR-based confidence intervals accurately reflect the actual degree of sampling uncertainty associated with impulse response functions? Second, what is the size of bias relative to confidence intervals, and how do coverage rates of confidence intervals compare with their nominal size? We address these questions using data generated from a series of estimated dynamic, stochastic general equilibrium models. We organize most of our analysis around a ...
International Finance Discussion Papers , Paper 866

Working Paper
The power of long-run structural VARs

Are structural vector autoregressions (VARs) useful for discriminating between macro models? Recent assessments of VARs have shown that these statistical methods have adequate size properties. In other words, in simulation exercises, VARs will only infrequently reject the true data generating process. However, in assessing a statistical test, we often also care about power: the ability of the test to reject a false hypothesis. Much less is known about the power of structural VARs. ; This paper attempts to fill in this gap by exploring the power of long-run structural VARs against a set of ...
International Finance Discussion Papers , Paper 978

Working Paper
Alternative procedures for estimating vector autoregressions identified with long-run restrictions

We show that the standard procedure for estimating long-run identified vector autoregressions uses a particular estimator of the zero-frequency spectral density matrix of the data. We develop alternatives to the standard procedure and evaluate the properties of these alternative procedures using Monte Carlo experiments in which data are generated from estimated real business cycle models. We focus on the properties of estimated impulse response functions. In our examples, the alternative procedures have better small sample properties than the standard procedure, with smaller bias, smaller ...
International Finance Discussion Papers , Paper 842

Working Paper
Evaluating the forecasting performance of commodity futures prices

Commodity futures prices are frequently criticized as being uninformative for forecasting purposes because (1) they seem to do no better than a random walk or an extrapolation of recent trends and (2) futures prices for commodities often trace out a relatively flat trajectory even though global demand is steadily increasing. In this paper, we attempt to shed light on these concerns by discussing the theoretical relationship between spot and futures prices for commodities and by evaluating the empirical forecasting performance of futures prices relative to some alternative benchmarks. The key ...
International Finance Discussion Papers , Paper 1025

Report
The hitchhiker’s guide to missing import price changes and pass-through

A large body of empirical work has found that exchange rate movements have only modest effects on inflation. However, the response of an import price index to exchange rate movements may be underestimated because some import price changes are missed when constructing the index. We investigate downward biases that arise when items experiencing a price change are especially likely to exit or to enter the index. We show that, in theoretical pricing models, entry and exit have different implications for the timing and size of these biases. Using Bureau of Labor Statistics microdata, we derive ...
Staff Reports , Paper 537

Discussion Paper
BAT Signals from Asset Markets : Estimating the U.S. Dollar Response to a Destination-Based Cash-Flow Tax

In early 2017, there was substantial discussion about changing the U.S. corporate tax system to a destination-based cash-flow tax (DBCFT). The DBCFT proposal, also often referred to as a border-adjusted tax (BAT), would exclude exports from taxable revenues and exclude imports from allowable deductions.
IFDP Notes , Paper 2018-10-23

Discussion Paper
Oil, Equities, and a "Nonbinding" Zero Lower Bound: The Monetary Policy Response to COVID-19

We analyze the recent behavior of oil and equity prices in the context of our earlier work, Datta, et al. (2021), which focuses on the previous zero lower bound (ZLB) episode, in the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis. We find that the correlation between oil and equity returns and the responsiveness of these returns to macroeconomic surprises are perhaps elevated relative to normal times but somewhat moderated relative to the previous ZLB episode.
FEDS Notes , Paper 2021-04-14

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