Is tighter fiscal policy expansionary under fiscal dominance? Hypercrowding out in Latin America
We test for hypercrowding out as a signal of market concerns over fiscal dominance in five Latin American countries. Hypercrowding out occurs when fiscally dominated governments domestic credit demands are perceived as so intrusive to a nations financial system that a move towards fiscal surplus lowers interest rates and increases growth. We sample five Latin American countries to test for these relationships. Judged by the results of vector error correction models, three nations test clearly positive, suggesting market concern despite their recent efforts towards fiscal balance.
Financial crises and total factor productivity
Total factor productivity (TFP) falls markedly during financial crises, as we document with recent evidence from Mexico and Asia. These falls are unusual in magnitude and present a difficult challenge for the standard small open economy neoclassical model. We show in the case of Mexicos 1994-95 crisis that the model predicts that inputs and output should have fallen much more than they did. Using models with endogenous factor utilization, we find that capital utilization and labor hoarding can account for a large fraction of the TFP fall during the crisis. However, these models also predict ...
We present a model in which the importance of financial intermediation for development can be measured. We generate financial differences by varying the degree to which contracts can be enforced. Economies where enforcement is poor employ less capital and less efficient technologies. Yet, accounting for all the observed dispersion output requires a higher capital share or a lower elasticity of substitution between capital and labor than usually assumed. We find that the effects of changes in those technological parameters on output are markedly larger when financial frictions are present. ...
Argentina's capital gap puzzle
Argentinas GDP per working age person in 2003 was about the same as it was twenty years earlier and around fifteen percent below trend. By international standards that has been a dismal performance whose ultimate sources are important to uncover to eventually reverse that countrys seemingly secular decline. The purpose of this paper is precisely to take a first step towards that understanding. To that effect, we examine Argentinas recent growth experience, which includes two deep recessions and a recovery, with the lens of a neoclassical growth model that takes total factor productivity as ...
Currency competition and inflation convergence
All agree partial dollarization or currency substitution is a legacy of past inflation and exchange rate instability. Some argue partial dollarization contributes to exchange rate instability. However, if Central Banks respond to dollarization by lowering money growth and maximizing seigniorage revenue, inflation falls and converges on dollar inflation rates. We present a simple model of currency competition with open capital markets to illustrate these points. Empirical tests for Latin America and about twenty other countries suggest that dollarization is both a legacy of past inflation and ...
Why do financial systems differ? History matters
We describe a dynamic model of financial intermediation in which fundamental characteristics of the economy imply a unique equilibrium path of bank and financial market lending. Yet we also show that economies whose fundamental characteristics have converged may continue to have very different financial structures. Because setting up financial markets is costly in our model, economies that emphasize financial market lending are more likely to continue doing so in the future, all else equal.
The implications of capital-skill complementarity in economies with large informal sectors
In most developing nations, formal workers tend to be more experienced, more educated, and earn more than informal workers. These facts are often interpreted as evidence that low-skill workers face barriers to entry into the formal sector. Yet, there exists little direct evidence that such barriers are important. This paper describes a model where significant differences arise between formal and informal workers even though labor markets are perfectly competitive. In equilibrium, the informal sector emphasizes low-skill work because informal managers have access to less outside financing, and ...
Capital account liberalization and disinflation in the 1990s
As a way of addressing arguments in the literature (Rodrik, 1998) that the act of capital account liberalization leads to inflation, we present a simple theoretical model in which capital account liberalization raises the absolute value of the elasticity of money demand because agents have broader money holding options than under a closed capital account. The central bank maximizes seigniorage, balancing the benefits of higher inflation against potential losses of foreign currency reserves. The optimum seigniorage-maximizing rate of inflation falls when capital controls are loosened, as a ...
Did NAFTA really cause Mexico's high maquiladora growth?
Although Mexico's maquiladora or in-bond plant system is an important and well-recognized component of Mexico-U.S. trade, the connection between the acceleration in maquiladora growth and NAFTA is less clearly understood. A broad cross-section of maquiladora observers - including journalists, political activists, industry analysts, and professors -- argue that Mexico's maquiladoras have been strongly influenced by NAFTA and have grown rapidly as a result. There are reasons to wonder if these conjectures are correct. I test for the contribution of NAFTA to fluctuations in maquiladora ...
Limited enforcement and the organization of production
This paper describes a dynamic, general equilibrium model designed to assess whether contractual imperfections in the form of limited enforcement can account for international differences in the organization of production. In the model, limited enforcement constrains some agents to operate establishments below their optimal scale. As a result, economies where contracts are enforced more efficiently tend to be richer and emphasize large scale production. Calibrated simulations of the model reveal that these effects can be large and account for a sizeable part of the observed differences in ...