Refining the Workhorse Oil Market Model
The Kilian and Murphy (2014) structural vector autoregressive model has become the workhorse model for the analysis of oil markets. I explore various refinements and extensions of this model, including the effects of (1) correcting an error in the measure of global real economic activity, (2) explicitly incorporating narrative sign restrictions into the estimation, (3) relaxing the upper bound on the impact price elasticity of oil supply, (4) evaluating the implied posterior distribution of the structural models, and (5) extending the sample. I demonstrate that the substantive conclusions of ...
Surging House Prices Expected to Propel Rent Increases, Push Up Inflation
The inflation rates of rent and owners’ equivalent rent (OER)—the amount of rent equivalent to the cost of ownership—have declined sharply since the COVID-19 pandemic began in February 2020. However, we expect rent inflation and OER inflation to accelerate in the years to come.
The Propagation of Regional Shocks in Housing Markets: Evidence from Oil Price Shocks in Canada
Shocks to the demand for housing that originate in one region may seem important only for that regional housing market. We provide evidence that such shocks can also affect housing markets in other regions. Our analysis focuses on the response of Canadian housing markets to oil price shocks. Oil price shocks constitute an important source of exogenous regional variation in income in Canada because oil production is highly geographically concentrated. We document that, at the national level, real oil price shocks account for 11% of the variability in real house price growth over time. At the ...
CARES Act Likely to Blunt Mortgage Delinquency Rate Increase
Household survey data and recent unemployment forecasts provide a basis for estimating the share of mortgage borrowers that—absent the CARES Act—would have missed a mortgage payment due to the economic shutdown.
The Impact of Rising Oil Prices on U.S. Inflation and Inflation Expectations in 2020-23
Predictions of oil prices reaching $100 per barrel during the winter of 2021/22 have raised fears of persistently high inflation and rising inflation expectations for years to come. We show that these concerns have been overstated. A $100 oil scenario of the type discussed by many observers, would only briefly raise monthly headline inflation, before fading rather quickly. However, the short-run effects on headline inflation would be sizable. For example, on a year-over-year basis, headline PCE inflation would increase by 1.8 percentage points at the end of 2021 under this scenario, but only ...
Container Trade and the U.S. Recovery
Since the 1970s, exports and imports of manufactured goods have been the engine of international trade and much of that trade relies on container shipping. This paper introduces a new monthly index of the volume of container trade to and from North America. Incorporating this index into a structural macroeconomic VAR model facilitates the identification of shocks to domestic U.S. demand as well as foreign demand for U.S. manufactured goods. We show that, unlike in the Great Recession, the primary determinant of the U.S. economic contraction in early 2020 was a sharp drop in domestic demand. ...
A Quantitative Evaluation of the Housing Provident Fund Program in China
The Housing Provident Fund (HPF) is the largest public housing program in China. It was created in 1999 to enhance homeownership. This program involves a mandatory saving scheme based on labor income. Past deposits are refunded when the worker purchases a house or retires. Moreover, the program provides mortgages at subsidized rates to facilitate these home purchases. I calibrate a heterogeneous-agent life-cycle model to quantify the effects of these policies. My analysis shows that a housing program with these features is expected to raise the rate of homeownership by 8.7 percentage points ...
Does Drawing Down the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve Help Stabilize Oil Prices?
We study the efficacy of releases from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) within the context of fully specified models of the global oil market that explicitly allow for storage demand as well as unanticipated changes in the SPR. Using novel identifying strategies and evaluation methods, we examine seven questions. First, how much have exogenous shocks to the SPR contributed to the variability in the real price of oil? Second, how much would a one-time exogenous reduction in the SPR lower the real price of oil? Third, are exogenous SPR releases partially or fully offset by increases ...
Mortgage Borrowing and the Boom-Bust Cycle in Consumption and Residential Investment
This paper studies the transmission of the major shocks in the U.S. housing market in the 2000s to consumption and residential investment. Using geographically disaggregated data, I show that residential investment is more responsive to these shocks than consumption, as measured by elasticities and the implied contributions to GDP growth. I develop a structural life-cycle model featuring multiple types of housing investment to understand the large responses of residential investment. Consistent with the microdata, the model generates lumpy debt accumulation, lumpy housing investment and a ...
How Falling Oil Prices in Early 2020 Weakened the U.S. Economy
The benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) price of oil dropped by more than half from Jan. 21 to April 3. This oil price decline has weakened rather than strengthened the U.S. economy, making this event different from past episodes of falling oil prices.