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Series:Finance and Economics Discussion Series 

Working Paper
Inflation, Volatility, and Growth

This paper re-examines the relationship between inflation, inflation volatility and growth using cross-country panel data for the past 30 years. With regard to the level of inflation, we find that in contrast to current findings which are based on cross-sectional time-average regression comparisons, exploiting the time dimension of the data reveals a strong negative correlation between inflation and income growth for all but very low inflation countries. To examine the role of inflation uncertainty on growth, we use intra-year inflation data to construct an annual measure of inflation ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 1996-19

Working Paper
Household Saving and Portfolio Change: Evidence from the 1983-89 SCF Panel

There are very few sources of high-quality data on the dynamics of wealth accumulation. This paper uses newly-available data from the 1983-89 panel of the Survey of Consumer Finances to examine household saving and portfolio change over the 1980s. The 1983 SCF collected detailed information on households' assets, liabilities, income and other characteristics for a sample of 4,103 families. In 1989, 1,479 of these families were re-interviewed using a similar questionnaire. After describing the sample and methodology of the panel survey, we analyze changes in household wealth over the 1983-89 ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 1996-18

Working Paper
Is "Learning-by-Exporting" Important? Micro-dynamic Evidence from Colombia, Mexico, and Morocco

Is there any empirical evidence that firms become more efficient after becoming exporters? Do firms that become exporters generate positive spillovers for domestically-oriented producers in their industry or region? In this paper we analyze the causal links between exporting and productivity using firm-level panel data from three semi-industrialized economies. Representing export market participation and production costs as jointly dependent autoregressive processes, we look for evidence that firms' stochastic cost process shifts when they break into foreign markets. We find that relatively ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 1996-30

Working Paper
The Opportunistic Approach to Disinflation

This paper explores the theoretical foundations of a new approach to monetary policy. Proponents of this approach hold that when inflation is moderate but still above the long-run objective, the Fed should not take deliberate anti-inflation action, but rather should wait for external circumstances-such as favorable supply shocks and unforeseen recessions-to deliver the desired reduction in inflation. While waiting for such circumstances to arise, the Fed should aggressively resist incipient increases in inflation. This strategy has come to be known as "the opportunistic approach to ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 1996-24

Working Paper
The Subsidy Provided by the Federal Safety Net: Theory, Measurement, and Containment

This paper presents an intuitive and analytical model of how the federal safety net affects banks' cost of funds. Emphasis is placed on distinguishing between fixed and marginal costs in banking and on the implications of the model for measuring the subsidy. Empirical results strongly suggest that the safety net has benefitted banks and that over recent years bank holding companies have tended to move activities into a bank or a bank subsidiary. We conclude that limiting extension of the safety net subsidy should be a serious concern when designing strategies for expanding bank activities.
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 1997-58

Working Paper
The Community Reinvestment Act and the Profitability of Mortgage-Oriented Banks

The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) requires lenders ``to help meet the credit needs of the local communities in which they are chartered, consistent with the safe and sound operation of such institutions.'' For proponents of efficient markets, the CRA is a threat to lender profitability. For others, the CRA has the potential to increase profitability. We examine the relative profitability of commercial banks that specialize in mortgage lending in lower-income neighborhoods or to lower-income borrowers using three different techniques, and find that lenders active in lower-income ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 1997-07

Working Paper
Why Are Estimates of Agricultural Supply Response so Variable?

Estimates of the response of agricultural supply to movements in expected price display curiously large variation across crops, regions, and time periods. We argue that this anomoly may be traced, at least in part, to the statistical properties of the commonly-used econometric estimator, which has infinite moments of all orders and may have a bimodal distribution. We propose an alternative minimum- expected-loss estimator, establish its improved sampling properties, and argue for its usefulness in the empirical analysis of agricultural supply response.
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 1996-08

Working Paper
Treasury Yields and Corporate Bond Yield Spreads: An Empirical Analysis

This paper empirically examines the relation between the Treasury term structure and spreads of investment grade corporate bond yields over Treasuries. I find that noncallable bond yield spreads fall when the level of the Treasury term structure rises. The extent of this decline depends on the initial credit quality of the bond; the decline is small for Aaa-rated bonds and large for Baa-rated bonds. The role of the business cycle in generating this pattern is explored, as is the link between yield spreads and default risk. I also argue that yield spreads based on commonly-used bond yield ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 1996-20

Working Paper
Initial Public Offerings in Hot and Cold Markets

Asymmetric information models characterize hot IPO markets as periods when better quality firms have an incentive to issue equity, and cold markets when the lemons premium associated with equity is too high to draw in many issuers. Recent empirical evidence, however, suggests that firms that issue in hot markets are a major source of stock price underperformance of equity issuers. We investigate these opposing views with data on IPO firms that issued in 1983, a hot market, and 1988, a cold market. We find that the two sets of firms have similar operating performance, but stock returns are ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 1996-34

Working Paper
Vehicle Ownership, Vehicle Acquisitions, and the Growth of Auto Leasing: Evidence from Consumer Surveys

This paper documents the basic features of data on motor vehicles from the Federal Reserve Board's Survey of Consumer Finances and the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Expenditure Survey. Despite some methodological differences between the two surveys, we find that they yield strikingly similar pictures of households' vehicle holdings. The survey data are also quite consistent with population estimates of vehicle stocks obtained from other sources. Finally, we document the growth of auto leasing by consumers, and find little evidence for the commonly-held view that liquidity constraints ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 1996-35

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