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Series:Staff Reports  Bank:Federal Reserve Bank of New York 

Regulation, subordinated debt, and incentive features of CEO compensation in the banking industry
We study CEO compensation in the banking industry by considering banks? unique claim structure in the presence of two types of agency problems: the standard managerial agency problem and the risk-shifting problem between shareholders and debtholders. We empirically test two hypotheses derived from this framework: that the pay-for-performance sensitivity of bank CEO compensation (1) decreases with the total leverage ratio and (2) increases with the intensity of monitoring provided by regulators and nondepository (subordinated) debtholders. We construct an index of the intensity of outsider monitoring based on four variables: the subordinated debt ratio, subordinated debt rating, nonperforming loan ratio, and BOPEC rating (regulators? assessment of a bank?s overall health and financial condition). We find supporting evidence for both hypotheses. Our results hold after controlling for the endogeneity among compensation, leverage, and monitoring; they are robust to various regression specifications and sample criteria.
AUTHORS: John, Kose; Mehran, Hamid; Qian, Yiming
DATE: 2007

BASEL III: long-term impact on economic performance and fluctuations
We assess the long-term economic impact of the new regulatory standards (the Basel III reform), answering the following questions: 1) What is the impact of the reform on long-term economic performance? 2) What is the impact of the reform on economic fluctuations? 3) What is the impact of the adoption of countercyclical capital buffers on economic fluctuations? The main results are the following: 1) Each percentage point increase in the capital ratio causes a median 0.09 percent decline in the level of steady-state output, relative to the baseline. The impact of the new liquidity regulation is of a similar order of magnitude, at 0.08 percent. This paper does not estimate the benefits of the new regulation in terms of reduced frequency and severity of financial crisis, analyzed in Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (2010b). 2) The reform should dampen output volatility; the magnitude of the effect is heterogeneous across models; the median effect is modest. 3) The adoption of countercyclical capital buffers could have a more sizable dampening effect on output volatility.
AUTHORS: Heuvel, Skander J. van den; Curdia, Vasco; Motto, Roberto; Gerali, Andrea; Gambacorta, Leonardo; Locarno, Alberto; Roeger, Werner; Angelini, Paolo; Clerc, Laurent; Vlcek, Jan
DATE: 2011

FOMC communication policy and the accuracy of Fed Funds futures
Over the last two decades, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), the rate-setting body of the United States Federal Reserve System, has become increasingly communicative and transparent. According to policymakers, one of the goals of this shift has been to improve monetary policy predictability. Previous academic research has found that the FOMC has indeed become more predictable. Here, I contribute to the literature in two ways. First, instead of simply looking at predictability before and after the Fed?s communication reforms in the 1990s, I identify three distinct periods of reform and measure their separate contributions. Second, I correct the interest rate forecasts embedded in fed funds futures contracts for risk premiums, in order to obtain a less biased measure of predictability. My results suggest that the communication reforms of the early 1990s and the ?guidance? provided from 2003 significantly improved predictability, while the release of the FOMC?s policy bias in 1999 had no measurable impact. Finally, I find that FOMC speeches and testimonies significantly lower short-term forecasting errors.
AUTHORS: Middeldorp, Menno
DATE: 2011

Head and shoulders: not just a flaky pattern
This paper evaluates rigorously the predictive power of the head-and-shoulders pattern as applied to daily exchange rates. Though such visual, nonlinear chart patterns are applied frequently by technical analysts, our paper is one of the first to evaluate the predictive power of such patterns. We apply a trading rule based on the head-and-shoulders pattern to daily exchange rates of major currencies versus the dollar during the floating rate period (from March 1973 to June 1994). We identify head-and-shoulders patterns using an objective, computer-implemented algorithm based on criteria in published technical analysis manuals. The resulting profits, replicable in real-time, are then compared with the distribution of profits for 10,000 simulated series generated with the bootstrap technique under the null hypothesis of a random walk.
AUTHORS: Chang, Chih-Ping; Osler, Carol L.
DATE: 1995

An efficient, three-step algorithm for estimating error-correction models with an application to the U.S. macroeconomy
This paper describes a three-step algorithm for estimating a system of error-correction equations that can be easily programmed using least-squares procedures. Nonetheless, the algorithm is both statistically and computationally efficient and when iterated gives maximum likelihood estimates of cointegration effects. Most important, the algorithm can handle different levels of cointegration, over-identified systems, breaks in trend, and complicated specifications for the short-run dynamics. The procedure is demonstrated with some small macroeconometric models, which suggest that breaks in the long-run trends for output and money are both statistically and economically significant in the 1961-94 period.
AUTHORS: Boldin, Michael D.
DATE: 1995

Central bank transparency and the crowding out of private information in an experimental asset market
Central banks have become increasingly communicative. An important reason is that democratic societies expect more transparency from public institutions. Central bankers, based on empirical research, also believe that sharing information has economic benefits. Communication is seen as a way to improve the predictability of monetary policy, thereby lowering financial market volatility and contributing to a more stable economy. However, a potential side-effect of providing costless public information is that market participants may be less inclined to invest in private information. Theoretical results suggest that this can hamper the ability of markets to predict future monetary policy. We test this in a laboratory asset market. Crowding out of information acquisition does indeed take place, but only where it is most pronounced does the predictive ability of the market deteriorate. Notable features of the experiment include a complex setup based directly on the theoretical model and the calibration of experimental parameters using empirical measurements.
AUTHORS: Middeldorp, Menno; Rosenkranz, Stephanie
DATE: 2011

Regression-based estimation of dynamic asset pricing models
We propose regression-based estimators for beta representations of dynamic asset pricing models with an affine pricing kernel specification. We allow for state variables that are cross-sectional pricing factors, forecasting variables for the price of risk, and factors that are both. The estimators explicitly allow for time-varying prices of risk, time-varying betas, and serially dependent pricing factors. Our approach nests the Fama-MacBeth two-pass estimator as a special case. We provide asymptotic multistage standard errors necessary to conduct inference for asset pricing test. We illustrate our new estimators in an application to the joint pricing of stocks and bonds. The application features strongly time-varying, highly significant prices of risks that are found to be quantitatively more important than time-varying betas in reducing pricing errors.
AUTHORS: Crump, Richard K.; Moench, Emanuel; Adrian, Tobias
DATE: 2011

Double majors: one for me, one for the parents?
At least a quarter of college students in the United States graduate with more than one undergraduate major. This paper investigates how students decide on the composition of their paired majors? In other words, whether the majors chosen are substitutes or complements. Since students use both their preferences and their expectations about major-specific outcomes when choosing their majors, I collect innovative data on subjective expectations, drawn from a sample of Northwestern University sophomores. Despite showing substantial heterogeneity in beliefs, the students seem aware of differences across majors and have sensible beliefs about the outcomes. Students believe that their parents are more likely to approve majors associated with high social status and high returns in the labor market. I incorporate the subjective data in a choice model of double majors that also captures the notion of specialization. I find that enjoying the coursework and gaining approval of parents are the most important determinants in the choice of majors. The model estimates reject the hypothesis that students major in one field to pursue their own interests and in another for parents? approval. Instead, I find that gaining parents? approval and enjoying a field of study both academically and professionally are outcomes that students feel are important for both majors. However, I do find that students act strategically in their choice of majors by choosing ones that differ in their chances of completion and difficulty and in finding a job upon graduation.
AUTHORS: Zafar, Basit
DATE: 2010-11-01

Agency problems and risk taking at banks
The moral hazard problem associated with deposit insurance generates the potential for excessive risk taking on the part of bank owners. The banking literature identifies franchise value -- a firm?s profit-generating potential -- as one force mitigating that risk taking. We argue that in the presence of owner/manager agency problems, managerial risk aversion may also offset the excessive risk taking that stems from moral hazard. Empirical models of bank risk tend to focus either on the disciplinary role of franchise value or on owner/manager agency problems. We estimate a unified model and find that both franchise value and ownership structure affect risk at banks. More important, we identify an interesting interaction effect: The relationship between ownership structure and risk is significant only at low franchise value banks -- those where moral hazard problems are most severe and where conflicts between owner and manager risk preferences are therefore strongest. Risk is lower at banks with no insider holdings, but among other banks, there is no relationship between the level of insider holdings and risk. This suggests that the owner/manager agency problem affects the choice of risk for only a small number of banks -- those with low franchise value and no insider holdings. Most of these banks increase their insider holdings within a year, and these changes in ownership structure are associated with increased risk. This suggests that owner/manager agency problems are quickly addressed.
AUTHORS: Strahan, Philip E.; Saidenberg, Marc R.; Demsetz, Rebecca
DATE: 1997

Investment shocks and business cycles
Shocks to the marginal efficiency of investment are the most important drivers of business cycle fluctuations in U.S. output and hours. Moreover, like a textbook demand shock, these disturbances drive prices higher in expansions. We reach these conclusions by estimating a dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) model with several shocks and frictions. We also find that neutral technology shocks are not negligible, but their share in the variance of output is only around 25 percent and even lower for hours. Labor supply shocks explain a large fraction of the variation of hours at very low frequencies, but not over the business cycle. Finally, we show that imperfect competition and, to a lesser extent, technological frictions are the key to the transmission of investment shocks in the model.
AUTHORS: Justiniano, Alejandro; Primiceri, Giorgio E.; Tambalotti, Andrea
DATE: 2008




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