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Author:Wen, Yi 

Early U.S. Trade Deficits and Industrialization

Trade deficits during the country’s first phase of industrialization did not inhibit U.S. development and may have facilitated industrialization.
On the Economy

Working Paper
Dissecting Taylor rules in a structural VAR

This paper uncovers Taylor rules from estimated monetary policy reactions using a structural VAR on U.S. data from 1959 to 2009. These Taylor rules reveal the dynamic nature of policy responses to different structural shocks. We find that U.S. monetary policy has been far more responsive over time to demand shocks than to supply shocks, and more aggressive toward inflation than output growth. Our estimated dynamic policy coefficients characterize the style of policy as a "bang-bang" control for the pre-1979 period and as a gradual control for the post 1979 period.
Working Papers , Paper 2010-005

Working Paper
Incomplete information and self-fulfilling prophecies

This paper shows that incomplete information can be a rich source of sunspots equilibria. This is demonstrated in a standard dynamic general equilibrium model of monopolistic competition ? la Dixit-Stiglitz. In the absence of fundamental shocks, the model has a unique certainty (fundamental) equilibrium, but there are also multiple stochastic (sunspots) equilibria that are not mere randomizations over fundamental equilibria. In other words, sunspots can exist in infinite-horizon dynamic models with a unique saddle path steady state. In contrast to the recent sunspots literature (e.g., ...
Working Papers , Paper 2007-033

Working Paper
Macroeconomic Effects of Government Spending in China

Government spending plays an important role in determining economic performances in China. Its macroeconomic effects are analyzed in this paper. We show that government spending in China (i) Granger-causes output, consumption and investment booms as well as inflation and (ii) has a multiplier larger than 1. The large multiplier effects are found not only in aggregate time-series data but also in panel data at the provincial level. We also provide a theoretical model and Monte Carlo analysis to rationalize our empirical findings. Our theoretical and Monte Carlo analyses support the large ...
Working Papers , Paper 2013-013

Working Paper
Optimal Fiscal Policies under Market Failures

The aggregate capital stock in a nation can be overaccumulated for many different reasons. This paper studies which policy or policy mix is more effective in achieving the socially optimal (modified golden rule) level of aggregate capital stock in an infinite-horizon heterogeneous-agents incomplete-markets economy where capital may be over-accumulated for two distinct reasons: (i) precautionary savings and (ii) production externalities. By solving the Ramsey problem analytically along the entire transitional path, we show that public debt and capital taxation play very distinct roles in ...
Working Papers , Paper 2020-002

Working Paper
Don’t Tax Capital — Optimal Ramsey Taxation in Heterogeneous Agent Economies with Quasi-Linear Preferences

We build a tractable heterogeneous-agent incomplete-markets model with quasi-linear preferences to address a set of long-standing issues in the optimal Ramsey taxation literature. The tractability of our model enables us to analytically prove the existence of a Ramsey steady state and establish several novel results: (i) In the absence of any redistributional effects of capital taxation or lump-sum transfers, the optimal capital tax is exclusively zero in a Ramsey steady state regardless of the modified golden rule (MGR) and government debt limits. (ii) Whether the MGR holds or not depends ...
Working Papers , Paper 2019-007

Working Paper
Self-Fulfilling Credit Cycles

In U.S. data 1981?2012, unsecured firm credit moves procyclically and tends to lead GDP, while secured firm credit is acyclical; similarly, shocks to unsecured firm credit explain a far larger fraction of output fluctuations than shocks to secured credit. In this paper we develop a tractable dynamic general equilibrium model in which unsecured firm credit arises from self-enforcing borrowing constraints, preventing an efficient capital allocation among heterogeneous firms. Unsecured credit rests on the value that borrowers attach to a good credit reputation which is a forward-looking ...
Working Papers , Paper 2015-5

Working Paper
The Determination of Public Debt under both Aggregate and Idiosyncratic Uncertainty

We use an analytically tractable model to show that the Ramsey planner's decisions to finance stochastic public expenditures under uninsurable idiosyncratic risk implies a departure from tax smoothing. In the absence of state-contingent bonds the government's attempt to balance the competing incentives between tax smoothing and individual consumption smoothing---even at the cost of extra tax distortion---implies a bounded stochastic unit root component in optimal taxes. Nonetheless, a sufficiently high average level of public debt to support individuals’ self-insurance position is welfare ...
Working Papers , Paper 2019-038

Working Paper
The great housing boom of China

China's housing prices have been growing nearly twice as fast as national income in the past decade despite (1) a phenomenal rate of return to capital and (2) an alarmingly high vacancy rate. This paper interprets such a prolonged paradoxical housing boom as a rational bubble that emerges naturally from China's large-scale economic transition, featuring an exceptionally high rate of return to capital driven by massive resource reallocation. Because such primarily resource-reallocation-driven high capital returns are not sustainable in the long run, expectations of high future demand for ...
FRB Atlanta CQER Working Paper , Paper 2015-3

Working Paper
Are Government Bonds Net Wealth or a Liability? ---Optimal Debt and Taxes in an OLG Model with Uninsurable Income Risk

A positive national debt is often rationalized either by the assumption of dynamic inefficiency in an overlapping-generations (OLG) model, or by the hypothesis of heterogeneous-agents and incomplete-markets (HAIM) in an infinite horizon model. Both assumptions imply insufficient private liquidity to support private saving and investment, thus calling for a positive level of public debt to improve social welfare. However, since public debt is financed often by distortionary future taxes, optimal debt and tax policies ought to be studied jointly in a single framework. In this paper we use a ...
Working Papers , Paper 2020-007


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