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Author:Zhou, Xiaoqing 

Working Paper
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 regional level, we find that unexpected increases in the real price of oil raise housing demand and real house prices not only in oil-producing regions, but also in other regions. We develop a theoretical model of the propagation of real oil price shocks across regions that helps understand this finding. The model differentiates between oil-producing and non-oil-producing regions and incorporates multiple sectors, trade between provinces, government redistribution, and consumer spending on fuel. We empirically confirm the model prediction that oil price shocks are propagated to housing markets in non-oil-producing regions by the government redistribution of oil revenue and by increased interprovincial trade.
AUTHORS: Kilian, Lutz; Zhou, Xiaoqing
DATE: 2019-09-04

Working Paper
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 Kilian and Murphy (2014) are largely unaffected by these changes.
AUTHORS: Zhou, Xiaoqing
DATE: 2019-09-06

Working Paper
Oil Prices, Exchange Rates and Interest Rates
There has been much interest in the relationship between the price of crude oil, the value of the U.S. dollar, and the U.S. interest rate since the 1980s. For example, the sustained surge in the real price of oil in the 2000s is often attributed to the declining real value of the U.S. dollar as well as low U.S. real interest rates, along with a surge in global real economic activity. Quantifying these effects one at a time is difficult not only because of the close relationship between the interest rate and the exchange rate, but also because demand and supply shocks in the oil market in turn may affect the real value of the dollar and real interest rates. We propose a novel identification strategy for disentangling the causal effects of traditional oil demand and oil supply shocks from the effects of exogenous variation in the U.S. real interest rate and in the real value of the U.S. dollar. We empirically evaluate popular views about the role of exogenous real exchange rate shocks in driving the real price of oil, and we examine the extent to which shocks in the global oil market drive the U.S. real exchange rate and U.S. real interest rates. Our evidence for the first time provides direct empirical support for theoretical models of the link between these variables.
AUTHORS: Kilian, Lutz; Zhou, Xiaoqing
DATE: 2019-11-27

Working Paper
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 in private sector oil inventories and how does this response affect the transmission of SPR policy shocks? Fourth, how effective were actual SPR policy interventions, consisting of sequences of exogenous changes in the SPR, at lowering the real price of oil? Fifth, are there differences in the effectiveness of SPR emergency drawdowns and SPR exchanges? Sixth, how much did the creation and expansion of the SPR contribute to higher real oil prices? Finally, how much would selling half of the oil in the SPR, as recently proposed by the White House, lower the global price of oil (and hence the U.S. price of motor gasoline) and how much fiscal revenue would it generate?
AUTHORS: Zhou, Xiaoqing; Kilian, Lutz
DATE: 2019-12-20

Working Paper
The Econometrics of Oil Market VAR Models
Oil market VAR models have become the standard tool for understanding the evolution of the real price of oil and its impact in the macro economy. As this literature has expanded at a rapid pace, it has become increasingly difficult for mainstream economists to understand the differences between alternative oil market models, let alone the basis for the sometimes divergent conclusions reached in the literature. The purpose of this survey is to provide a guide to this literature. Our focus is on the econometric foundations of the analysis of oil market models with special attention to the identifying assumptions and methods of inference. We not only explain how the workhorse models in this literature have evolved, but also examine alternative oil market VAR models. We help the reader understand why the latter models sometimes generated unconventional, puzzling or erroneous conclusions. Finally, we discuss the construction of extraneous measures of oil demand and oil supply shocks that have been used as external or internal instruments for VAR models.
AUTHORS: Kilian, Lutz; Zhou, Xiaoqing
DATE: 2020-03-06

Working Paper
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 and to increase the average home size by 20%. I discuss the economic mechanisms by which these outcomes are achieved and which features of the HPF program are most effective. I also consider several extensions of the model such as requiring employers to contribute to the program and allowing renters to withdraw funds from the HPF.
AUTHORS: Zhou, Xiaoqing
DATE: 2020-03-19

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