The equilibrium real policy rate through the lens of standard growth models
The long-run equilibrium real policy rate is a key concept in monetary economics and an important input into monetary policy decision-making. It has gained particular prominence lately as the Federal Reserve continues to normalize monetary policy. In this study, we assess the evolution, current level, and prospective values of this equilibrium rate within the framework of standard growth models. Our analysis considers as a baseline the single-sector Solow model, but it places more emphasis on the multi-sector neoclassical growth model, which better fits the data over the past three decades. ...
Real output of bank services: what counts is what banks do, not what they own
The measurement of bank output, a difficult and contentious issue, has become even more important in the aftermath of the devastating financial crisis of recent years. In this paper, we argue that models of banks as processors of information and transactions imply a quantity measure of bank service output based on transaction counts instead of balances of loans and deposits. Compiling new and comparable output measures for the United States and a range of European countries, we show that our counts-based output series exhibit significantly different growth patterns from those of our ...
Merger-related cost savings in the production of bank services
This paper utilizes a new flow measure of the true output of bank services to analyze the impact of mergers on the cost and productivity of Bank Holding Companies (BHCs) over the period 1987-1999. It shows that there are conceptual problems in the output measures used in previous studies, which may be the reason for their paradoxical findings: Bank mergers are estimated to lead to significant increases in profit, without cost savings or increases in market power. This paper also points out the problematic understanding of diversification in previous studies. To remedy these problems, this ...
Service output of bank holding companies in the 1990s and the role of risk
This paper constructs a new measure of output for Bank Holding Companies (BHCs) over the period 1986 to 1999. This flow measure of bank value added follows from a unified model of bank operation that integrates theories of production, financial intermediation, and asset pricing. The primary contribution of the model is to demonstrate how one should account for risk when measuring the value added of bank services. One key implication is that the risk-related return on the funds banks borrow and lend should be excluded from the nominal value of the services banks produce, since the model ...
What is the value of bank output?
Financial institutions often do not charge explicit fees for the services they provide, but are instead compensated by the spread between interest rates on loans and deposits. The lack of explicit fees in lending makes it difficult to measure the output of banks and other financial institutions. Effective measurement should distinguish between income derived from lending services and income derived from portfolio decisions about risk and duration, and should be consistent among bank and nonbank financial institutions.
Student loan debt and economic outcomes
This policy brief examines the impact of student loan debt on individuals' homeownership status and wealth accumulation, employing a rich set of financial and demographic variables that are not available in many of the existing studies that use credit bureau data. It is important to understand whether and, if so, how student loan debt affects households' economic decisions because student loan debt has now surpassed credit card debt to become the second largest amount of household debt outstanding after mortgage debt.
Lease Expirations and CRE Property Performance
This study analyzes how lease expirations affect the performance of commercial real estate (CRE) properties and how these patterns changed during the COVID-19 crisis. Even before the pandemic, lease expirations were associated with a notable increase in the downside risk to a property’s occupancy or income, particularly in weaker property markets. These risks became more pronounced during the pandemic, driven mostly by office properties. During the pandemic, the adverse effect of lease expirations on office occupancy increased more than 50 percent overall, and it doubled for offices in ...
Risk bearing, implicit financial services, and specialization in the financial industry
What is the output of financial institutions? And how can we measure their nominal and, more importantly, real value, especially since many financial services are provided without explicit charges? This paper summarizes the theoretical result that, to correctly impute the nominal value of implicit financial service output, the ?user cost of money? framework needs to be extended to take account of the systematic risk in financial instruments. This extension is easy to implement in principle: One can continue using the current imputation procedure, and the only change needed is to adjust the ...
Did High Leverage Render Small Businesses Vulnerable to the COVID-19 Shock?
Using supervisory data on small and mid-sized nonfinancial enterprises (SMEs), we find that those SMEs with higher leverage faced tighter constraints in accessing bank credit after the COVID-19 outbreak in spring 2020. Specifically, SMEs with higher pre-COVID leverage obtained a smaller volume of new loans and had to pay a higher spread on them during the pandemic period. Consistent with an inward shift in loan supply, these effects were concentrated in loans originated by banks with below-median capital buffers. Highly levered SMEs that relied on low-capital large banks for funding before ...
Runs on Stablecoins
Stablecoins are digital assets whose value is pegged to that of fiat currencies, usually the U.S. dollar, with a typical exchange rate of one dollar per unit. Their market capitalization has grown exponentially over the last couple of years, from $5 billion in 2019 to around $180 billion in 2022. Notwithstanding their name, however, stablecoins can be very unstable: between May 1 and May 16, 2022, there was a run on stablecoins, with their circulation decreasing by 15.58 billion and their market capitalization dropping by $25.63 billion (see charts below.) In this post, we describe the ...