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Report
An Approach to Predicting Regional Labor Market Effects of Economic Shocks: The COVID-19 Pandemic in New England

The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic led state and local governments throughout New England and much of the nation to issue ordinances restricting activity that might otherwise contribute to the spread of the disease. Individuals also freely adjusted their behavior, hoping to reduce the chances of infecting themselves or others. As a result, many employers have experienced substantial reductions in sales revenue, which were expected to generate harmful effects on the labor market. Even though the reversal of mandated policies and voluntary behavior changes are well under way, the initial ...
Current Policy Perspectives

Report
Are exchange rates excessively volatile? And what does \\"excessively volatile\\" mean, anyway?

Using data for the major currencies from 1973 to 1994, we apply recent tests of asset price volatility to reexamine whether exchange rates have been "excessively" volatile with respect to the predictions of the monetary model of the exchange rate and of standard extensions that allow for sticky prices, sluggish money adjustment, and time-varying risk premia. Consistent with previous evidence from regression-based tests, most of the models that we examine are rejected by our volatility-based tests. In general, however, we find that exchange rates have not been excessively volatile relative ...
Research Paper , Paper 9601

Report
Exchange rate cointegration across central bank regime shifts

Foreign exchange rates are examined using cointegration tests over various time periods linked to regime shifts in central bank behavior. The number of cointegrating vectors seems to vary across these regime changes within the foreign exchange market. For example, cointegration is not generally found prior to the Plaza Agreement of September 22, 1985, but it is present after that date. The significance of these changes is evaluated using a likelihood ratio procedure proposed by Quintos (1993). The changing nature of the cointegrating relationships indicate that certain aspects of central bank ...
Research Paper , Paper 9602

Report
Consumer payments over open computer networks

The increasing prospects for large volumes of commerce taking place over open computer networks has created considerable interest in the security and technology of open computer network commerce. In this paper, we explain how the basic encryption technology for sending secure messages works, and how this technology can be used to create electronic payment instruments, including cash, credit card, and check payments. We also review briefly the necessary elements required to support encryption technology: (1) a certification authority, (2) mathematical complexity of the encryption formulas, (3) ...
Research Paper , Paper 9603

Report
American employer salary surveys and labor economics research: issues and contributions

This paper reviews the uses of U.S. employer salary surveys for labor market research. Recent computational, theoretical, and econometric advances render these surveys ripe for exploitation. It summarize theories of employer wage effects and then describe salary surveys and their preparation for analysis. Then, the surveys and the methodological issues they raise are contrasted with household data. Finally, the paper summarizes the techniques used and contributions made in some salary survey-based studies.
Research Paper , Paper 9604

Report
European integration and asymmetry in the EMS

The empirical literature offers conflicting views of German dominance in the European Monetary System. We examine the validity of the German dominance hypothesis (GDH) by analyzing the responses of the European central banks and the money markets to monetary innovations originating both in Europe (European asymmetry) and abroad (international asymmetry). Our results reconcile the conflicting views in the literature. The GDH is confirmed when the analysis is conducted with intervention rates before the German unification. Results support European asymmetry with short rates before 1990 but not ...
Research Paper , Paper 9605

Report
Has the cost of fighting inflation fallen?

During the 1980s, many OECD countries adopted labor-market policies designed to enhance wage flexibility and reduce unemployment. They also attempted to bolster the credibility of their anti-inflation measures through exchange rate and fiscal policies. These measures should have lowered the costs associated with fighting inflation. In this paper, we compare sacrifice ratio measures of the cost of disinflation in the most recent OECD recession with measures for the mid-seventies and early-eighties recessions. Surprisingly, in the overwhelming majority of OECD countries, the cost of reducing ...
Research Paper , Paper 9606

Report
Capacity utilization-inflation linkages: a cross-country analysis

This paper analyzes whether capacity utilization in manufacturing is a reliable inflation indicator over and above economy-wide indicators of inflationary pressure and examines different theories on the propagation of inflation by testing their implications for the relationship between capacity utilization and inflation. Three mechanisms whereby shocks to manufacturing can impact on inflation are explored: First, direct pressure on producer prices in manufacturing arising from bottlenecks and a slowdown in productivity growth at high operating rates, second, spill-overs of ...
Research Paper , Paper 9607

Report
Determinants and impacts of sovereign credit ratings

In this article, we present the first systematic analysis of the sovereign credit ratings of the two leading agencies, Moody's and Standard & Poor's (S&P). We find that the ordering of risks they imply is broadly consistent with macroeconomic fundamentals. While the agencies cite a large number of criteria in their assignment of sovereign ratings, a regression using only eight factors explains more than 90 percent of the cross-sectional variation in the ratings. In particular, a country's rating appears largely determined by its per capita income, external debt burden, inflation experience, ...
Research Paper , Paper 9608

Report
Predicting U.S. recessions: financial variables as leading indicators

This article examines the performance of various financial variables as predictors of U.S. recessions. Series such as interest rates and spreads, stock prices, currencies, and monetary aggregates are evaluated individually and in comparison with other financial and non-financial indicators. The analysis focuses on out-of-sample performance from 1 to 8 quarters ahead. Results show that stock prices are useful with 1-3 quarter horizons, as are some well-known macroeconomic indicators. Beyond 1 quarter, however, the slope of the yield curve emerges as the clear individual choice and typically ...
Research Paper , Paper 9609

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