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Author:Zhang, Yuzhe 

Journal Article
Optimal Institutions in Economies with Private Information: Exclusive Contracts, Taxes, and Bankruptcy Law

In economies with private information, it is typically optimal to prohibit or otherwise discourage a subset of trades that individual agents want to enter. Economists often refer to such optimal distortions as wedges. In this article, we use a simple private-information Mirrleesian economy to, first, show examples of these wedges and, second, discuss institutions that may be used to implement them in practice. We discuss and compare three such institutions: exclusive contracts, taxes, and bankruptcy law. Our analysis underscores the multiplicity of possible implementations and, therefore, the ...
Economic Quarterly , Issue 4Q , Pages 353-385

Journal Article
Saving for Retirement with Job Loss Risk

This article studies a tractable theoretical model of optimal consumption and saving decisions with endogenous retirement. Particular attention is paid to the impact of an increase in the risk of losing one?s job on the optimal path of consumption and wealth accumulation. Even if one does not actually lose their job, an increase in the risk of a job loss is by itself sufficient to cause lower consumption, higher saving, and, through faster retirement, lower labor supply.
Economic Quarterly , Issue 1Q , Pages 45-81

Working Paper
Optimal auditing and insurance in a dynamic model of tax compliance

We study the optimal auditing of a taxpayer?s income in a dynamic principal- agent model of hidden income. Taxpayers in our model initially have low income and stochastically transit to high income that is an absorbing state. A low-income taxpayer who transits to high income can underreport his true income and evade his taxes. With a constant absolute risk-aversion utility function and a costly and imperfect auditing technology, we show that the optimal auditing mechanism in our model consists of cycles. Within each cycle, a low-income taxpayer is initially unaudited, but if the duration of ...
Working Papers , Paper 2011-020

Working Paper
Optimal Contracts with Reflection

In this paper, we show that whenever the agent's outside option is nonzero, the optimal contract in the continuous-time principal-agent model of Sannikov (2008) is reflective at the lower bound. This means the agent is never terminated or retired after poor performance. Instead, the agent is asked to put zero effort temporarily, which brings his continuation value up. The agent is then asked to resume effort, and the contract continues. We show that a nonzero agent's outside option arises endogenously if the agent is allowed to quit and find a new firm (after a random search time of finite ...
Working Paper , Paper 16-14

Journal Article
Unemployment benefits: how much money goes unclaimed?

Not all who are eligible to receive unemployment benefits actually collect them.
Economic Synopses

Journal Article
Unemployment insurance: payments, overpayments and unclaimed benefits

In the U.S. unemployment insurance program, most of the overpayments due to fraud arise from individuals collecting benefits while they are gainfully employed. In addition, the overpayments are dwarfed by payments unclaimed by some who are eligible for unemployment benefits.
The Regional Economist , Issue Oct , Pages 12-13

Journal Article
Cyclical Properties of Bank Margins: Small versus Large Banks

We study cyclical properties of the net interest margin (NIM) in the US banking sector in the aggregate as well as separately for small and large banks. In the aggregate and among large banks, NIM is countercyclical. Among small banks, however, NIM is procyclical. Further, we find that this result is driven by differences in the cyclical dynamics of small and large banks' funding costs rather than asset yields.
Economic Quarterly , Issue 1Q , Pages 1-33

Journal Article
Unemployment insurance fraud

Concealed Earnings fraud accounts for almost two-thirds of the total overpayments due to all fraud.
Economic Synopses

Working Paper
Optimal Liquidity Regulation With Shadow Banking

We study the impact of shadow banking on optimal liquidity regulations in a Diamond-Dybvig maturity mismatch environment. A pecuniary externality arising out of the banks' access to private retrade renders competitive equilibrium inefficient. Shadow banking provides an outside option for banks, which adds a new constraint in the mechanism design problem that determines the optimal allocation. A tax on illiquid assets and a subsidy to the liquid asset similar to the payment of interest on reserves (IOR) constitute an optimal liquidity regulation policy in this economy. During expansions, i.e., ...
Working Paper , Paper 15-12

Briefing
The Differing Effects of the Business Cycle on Small and Large Banks

Small banks and large banks respond differently to business cycle fluctuations. The average net interest margin (NIM) at large banks is negatively correlated with the business cycle, while the average NIM at small banks is positively correlated with the business cycle. In a popular view, small banks are different from large banks because of their close relationships with their borrowers. But a decomposition of the cyclical properties of NIM into the asset and liability sides of the balance sheet suggests that small banks' procyclical NIM is due to their ability to keep funding costs less ...
Richmond Fed Economic Brief , Issue November

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