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Content Type:Working Paper 

Working Paper
The Life Insurance Industry and Systemic Risk: A Bond Market Perspective
The 2008 financial crisis brought a focus on the potential for a large insurance firm to contribute to systemic risk. Among the concerns raised was that a negative shock to insurers could lead to a ?fire sale? of corporate bonds, a market where insurers are among the largest participants. This paper discusses the existing evidence on life insurance firms and systemic risk, with a focus on the investment grade corporate bond market. We provide some tentative evidence that life insurers tend to absorb liquidity risk by purchasing bonds when the bonds are less liquid than average. However, we do not find evidence that insurers increased bond purchases specifically during the financial crisis leaving open the question of whether insurers would play a stabilizing role in a future crisis.
AUTHORS: Paulson, Anna L.; Rosen, Richard J.
DATE: 2016-03-04

Working Paper
Why Have Interest Rates Fallen Far Below the Return on Capital
Risk-free rates have been falling since the 1980s while the return on capital has not. We analyze these trends in a calibrated OLG model with recursive preferences, designed to encompass many of the "usual suspects'' cited in the debate on secular stagnation. Declining labor force and productivity growth imply a limited decline in real interest rates and deleveraging cannot account for the joint decline in the risk free rate and increase in the risk premium. If we allow for a change in the (perceived) risk to productivity growth to fit the data, we find that the decline in the risk-free rate requires an increase in the borrowing capacity of the indebted agents in the model, consistent with the increase in the sum of public and private debt since the crisis, but at odds with a deleveraging-based explanation put forth in Eggertsson and Krugman (2012).
AUTHORS: Mojon, Benoit; Velde, Francois R.; Marx, Magali
DATE: 2018-01-25

Working Paper
Why Does the Yield-Curve Slope Predict Recessions?
Why is an inverted yield-curve slope such a powerful predictor of future recessions? We show that a decomposition of the yield curve slope into its expectations and risk premia components helps disentangle the channels that connect fluctuations in Treasury rates and the future state of the economy. In particular, a change in the yield curve slope due to a monetary policy easing, measured by the current real-interest rate level and its expected path, is associated with an increase in the probability of a future recession within the next year. In contrast, a decrease in risk premia is associated with either a higher or lower recession probability, depending on the source of the decline. In recent years, a decrease in the inflation risk premium slope has been accompanied by a heightened risk of recession, while a lower real-rate risk premium slope is a signal of diminished recession probabilities. This means that not all declines in the yield curve slope are bad news for the economy, and not all instances of steepening are good news either.
AUTHORS: Kelley, David; Chyruk, Olena; Benzoni, Luca
DATE: 2018-09-28

Working Paper
Lending to troubled thrifts: the case of FHLBanks
AUTHORS: Brewer, Elijah; Ashley, Lisa K.
DATE: 1998

Working Paper
Quantitative Easing in Joseph's Egypt with Keynesian Producers
This paper considers monetary and fiscal policy when tangible assets can be accumulated after shocks that increase desired savings, like Joseph's biblical prophecy of seven fat years followed by seven lean years. The model?s flexible-price allocation mimics Joseph?s saving to smooth consumption. With nominal rigidities, monetary policy that eliminates liquidity traps leaves the economy vulnerable to confidence recessions with low consumption and investment. Josephean Quantitative Easing, a fiscal policy that purchases either obligations collateralized by tangible assets or the assets themselves, eliminates both liquidity traps and confidence recessions by putting a floor under future consumption. This requires no commitment to a time-inconsistent plan.
AUTHORS: Campbell, Jeffrey R.
DATE: 2014-11-05

Working Paper
The global welfare impact of China: trade integration and technological change
This paper evaluates the global welfare impact of China's trade integration and technological change in a quantitative Ric a rdian-Heckscher-Ohlin model implemented on 75 countries. We simulate two alternative productivity growth scenarios: a balanced one in which China's productivity grows at the sam e rate in each sector, and an unbalanced one in which China's comparative disadvantage sectors catch up disproportionately faster to the world productivity frontier. Contrary to a well-known conjecture (Samuelson 2004), the large majority of countries in the sample, including the developed ones, experience an order of magnitude larger welfare gains when China's productivity growth is biased towards its comparative disadvantage sectors. We demonstrate both analytically and quantitatively that this fnding is driven by the inherently mult ilateral nature of world trade. As a separate but related exercise we quantify the worldwide welfare gains from China's trade integration.
AUTHORS: Levchenko, Andrei A.; Zhang, Jing; Julian di Giovanni
DATE: 2013

Working Paper
The Effects of the Massachusetts Health Reform on Financial Distress
A major benefit of health insurance coverage is that it protects the insured from unexpected medical costs that may devastate their personal finances. In this paper, we use detailed credit report information on a large panel of individuals to examine the effect of a major health care reform in Massachusetts in 2006 on a broad set of financial outcomes. The Massachusetts model served as the basis for the Affordable Care Act and allows us to examine the effect of coverage on financial outcomes for the entire population of the uninsured, not just those with very low incomes. We exploit plausibly exogenous variation in the impact of the reform across counties and age groups using levels of pre-reform insurance coverage as a measure of the potential effect of the reform. We find that the reform reduced the total amount of debt that was past due, the fraction of all debt that was past due, improved credit scores and reduced personal bankruptcies. We also find suggestive evidence that the reform lowered the total amount of debt and decreased third party collections. The effects are most pronounced for individuals who had limited access to credit markets before the reform. These results show that health care reform has implications that extend well beyond the health and health care utilization of those who gain insurance coverage.
AUTHORS: Mazumder, Bhashkar; Miller, Sarah
DATE: 2014-01-23

Working Paper
Very Simple Markov-Perfect Industry Dynamics
This paper develops an econometric model of industry dynamics for concentrated markets that can be estimated very quickly from market-level panel data on the number of producers and consumers using a nested fixed-point algorithm. We show that the model has an essentially unique symmetric Markov-perfect equilibrium that can be calculated from the fixed points of a finite sequence of low-dimensional contraction mappings. Our nested fixed point procedure extends Rust's (1987) to account for the observable implications of mixed strategies on survival. We illustrate the model's empirical application with ten years of County Business Patterns data from the Motion Picture Theaters industry in 573 Micropolitan Statistical Areas. The results are suggestive of fierce competition between theaters in the market for film exhibition rights.
AUTHORS: Tilly, Jan; Yang, Nan; Abbring, Jaap H.; Campbell, Jeffrey R.
DATE: 2013-11-30

Working Paper
Platform competition in two-sided markets: the case of payment networks
In this article, we construct a model to study competing payment networks, where networks offer differentiated products in terms of benefits to consumers and merchants. We study market equilibria for a variety of market structures: duopolistic competition and cartel, symmetric and asymmetric networks, and alternative assumptions about multihoming and consumer preferences. We find that competition unambiguously increases consumer and merchant welfare. We extend this analysis to competition among payment networks providing different payment instruments and find similar results.
AUTHORS: Chakravorti, Sujit; Roson, Roberto
DATE: 2004

Working Paper
The past, present, and probable future for community banks
We review how deregulation, technological advance, and increased competitive rivalry have affected the size and health of the U.S. community banking sector and the quality and availability of banking products and services. We then develop a simple theoretical framework for analyzing how these changes have affected the competitive viability of community banks. Empirical evidence presented in this paper is consistent with the model's prediction that regulatory and technological change has exposed community banks to intensified competition on the one hand, but on the other hand has left well-managed community banks with a potentially exploitable strategic position in the industry. We also offer an analysis of how the number and distribution of community banks may change in the future.
AUTHORS: DeYoung, Robert; Hunter, William C.; Gregory F. Udell
DATE: 2003

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