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Author:Vigfusson, Robert J. 

Journal Article
The Evolving Link between Oil Prices and U.S. Consumer Spending

Oil prices have fluctuated widely since the 1970s. Historically, consumers have tended to increase spending on non-oil goods and services when oil prices decline and cut back on such spending when oil prices rise. However, this relationship may have changed more recently. The U.S. oil sector has increased in importance in the last decade, and consequently the United States has become less reliant on oil imports. Moreover, gasoline expenditures have fallen as a share of households’ budgets. As a result, price swings may no longer have the same effect on U.S. consumption.Nida Çakır Melek ...
Economic Review , Volume v.106 , Issue no.1 , Pages 41-55

Working Paper
Trade integration, competition, and the decline in exchange-rate pass-through

Over the past twenty years, U.S. import prices have become less responsive to the exchange rate. We propose that a significant portion of this decline is a result of increased trade integration. To illustrate this effect, we develop an open economy DGE model in which trade occurs along both the intensive and extensive margins. The key element we introduce into this environment is strategic complementarity in price setting. As a result, a firm's pricing decision depends on the prices set by its competitors. This feature implies that a foreign exporter finds it optimal to vary its markup in ...
International Finance Discussion Papers , Paper 864

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
The Role of Oil Price Shocks in Causing U.S. Recessions

Although oil price shocks have long been viewed as one of the leading candidates for explaining U.S. recessions, surprisingly little is known about the extent to which oil price shocks explain recessions. We provide a formal analysis of this question with special attention to the possible role of net oil price increases in amplifying the transmission of oil price shocks. We quantify the conditional recessionary effect of oil price shocks in the net oil price increase model for all episodes of net oil price increases since the mid-1970s. Compared to the linear model, the cumulative effect of ...
International Finance Discussion Papers , Paper 1114

Working Paper
Interest rates and the volatility and correlation of commodity prices

We purpose a novel explanation for the observed increase in the correlation of commodity prices over the past decade. In contrast to theories that rely on the increased influence of financial speculators, we show that price correlation can increase as a result of a decline in the interest rate. More generally, we examine the effect of interest rates on the volatility and correlation of commodity prices, theoretically through the framework of Deaton and Laroque (1992) and empirically via a panel GARCH model. In theory, we show that lower interest rates decrease the volatility of prices, as ...
International Finance Discussion Papers , Paper 1065

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

Working Paper
Learning in the Oil Futures Markets: Evidence and Macroeconomic Implications

We show that a model where investors learn about the persistence of oil-price movements accounts well for the fluctuations in oil-price futures since the late 1990s. Using a DSGE model, we then show that this learning process alters the impact of oil shocks, making it time-dependent and consistent with the muted impact oil-price changes had on macroeconomic outcomes during the early 2000s and again over the past two years. The Spring 2008 increase in oil prices had a larger impact because market participants considered that it was likely driven by permanent shocks.
International Finance Discussion Papers , Paper 1179

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

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

Journal Article
Forecasting China's Role in World Oil Demand

Although China?s growth has slowed recently, the country?s demand for oil could be entering a period of faster growth that could result in substantially higher oil prices. Because Americans buy and sell oil and petroleum products in the global market, global demand prospects influence the profitability of U.S. oil producers and the costs paid by U.S. consumers. Analysis based on the global relationship between economic development and oil demand illustrates the prospects for Chinese oil demand growth and the resulting opportunities and challenges for U.S. producers and consumers.
FRBSF Economic Letter


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