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Series:Working Paper  Bank:Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond 

Working Paper
Debt Limits and Credit Bubbles in General Equilibrium
We provide a novel characterization of self-enforcing debt limits in a general equilibrium framework of risk sharing with limited commitment, where defaulters are subject to recourse (a fractional loss of current and future endowments) and exclusion from future credit. We show that debt limits are exactly equal to the present value of recourse plus a credit bubble component. We provide applications to models of sovereign debt, private collateralized debt, and domestic public debt. Implications include an original equivalence mapping among distinct institutional arrangements, thereby clarifying the relationship between different enforcement mechanisms and the connection between asset and credit bubbles.
AUTHORS: Martins-da-Rocha, V. Filipe; Phan, Toan; Vailakis, Yiannis
DATE: 2019-10-11

Working Paper
The political economy of labor subsidies
We explore a political economy model of labor subsidies, extending Meltzer and Richard's median voter model to a dynamic setting. We explore only one source of heterogeneity: initial wealth. As a consequence, given an operative wealth effect, poorer agents work harder, and if the agent with median wealth is poorer than average, a politico-economic equilibrium will feature a subsidy to labor. The dynamic model does not have capital, but it has perfect markets for borrowing and lending. Because tax rates influence interest rates, another channel for redistribution appears, since a decrease in current interest rates favors agents with a negative (below-average) asset position. ; By the same token?and as is typically the case in dynamic politico-economic models with rational agents?the setting features time-inconsistency: the median voter would like to commit to not manipulating interest rates in the future. Under commitment, and under the assumption that preferences admit aggregation, we show that labor subsidies subsist only for one period; after that, subsidies are zero. That is, under commitment, the median voter takes advantage of the voting power once and for all. His wealth moves closer to that of the mean (which is zero), but afterwards he refrains voluntarily from further subsidization. Under lack of commitment, which we analyze formally by looking at the Markov-perfect (time-consistent) equilibrium in a game between successive median voters in the same environment. Instead, subsidies persist?they are constant over time?and are more distortionary than under commitment. Moreover, in the situation without commitment, the median voter does not manage to reduce asset inequality, unlike in the commitment case.
AUTHORS: Azzimonti-Renzo, Marina; Eva de Francisco; Krusell, Per
DATE: 2006

Working Paper
Residential mortgage default: the roles of house price volatility, euphoria and the borrower's put option
House price volatility; lender and borrow perception of price trends, loan and property features; and the borrower?s put option are integrated in a model of residential mortgage default. These dimensions of the default problem have, to our knowledge, not previously been considered altogether within the same investigation framework. We rely on a sample of individual mortgage loans for twenty counties in Florida, over the period 2001 through 2008, third quarter, with housing price performance obtained from repeat sales analysis of individual transactions. The results from the analysis strongly confirm the significance of the borrower?s put as an operative factor in default. At the same time, the results provide convincing evidence that the experience in Florida is in part driven by lenders and purchasers exhibiting euphoric behavior such that in markets with higher price appreciation there is a willingness to accept recent prior performance as an indicator of future risk. This connection illustrates a familiar moral hazard in the housing market due to the limited information about future prices.
AUTHORS: Smith, Brent C.; Archer, Wayne R.
DATE: 2010

Working Paper
Optimal bonuses and deferred pay for bank employees : implications of hidden actions with persistent effects in time
We present a sequence of two-period models of incentive-based compensation in order to understand how the properties of optimal compensation structures vary with changes in the model environment. Each model corresponds to a different occupation within a bank, such as credit line managers, loan originators, or traders. All models share a common trait: the effects of hidden actions are persistent, and hence are revealed over time. We characterize the corresponding optimal contracts that are consistent with prudent risk taking. We compare the contracts by ranking them according to the average wage, the proportion of deferred compensation, and the structure and importance of variable pay (bonuses). We also compare these characteristics of the models with persistence with those of a standard repeated moral hazard. We find that small changes in the structure of asymmetric information have important implications for the characteristics of optimal pay, and that persistence does not necessarily imply a higher proportion of deferred pay.
AUTHORS: Jarque, Arantxa; Prescott, Edward Simpson
DATE: 2010

Working Paper
Monetary policy frameworks and indicators for the Federal Reserve in the 1920s
The 1920s and 1930s saw the Fed reject a state-of-the-art empirical policy framework for a logically defective one. Consisting of a quantity theoretic analysis of the business cycle, the former framework featured the money stock, price level, and real interest rates as policy indicators. By contrast, the Fed?s procyclical needs-of-trade, or real bills, framework stressed such policy guides as market nominal interest rates, volume of member bank borrowing, and type and amount of commercial paper eligible for rediscount at the central bank. The start of the Great Depression put these rival sets of indicators to the test. The quantity theoretic set correctly signaled that money and credit were on sharply contractionary paths that would worsen the slump. By contrast, the real bills indicators incorrectly signaled that money and credit conditions were sufficiently easy and needed no correction. This experience shows that policy measures and measurement, no matter how accurate and precise, can lead policymakers astray when embodied in a theoretically flawed framework.
AUTHORS: Humphrey, Thomas M.
DATE: 2000

Working Paper
Monetary policy, bank credit, and total credit : a preliminary analysis
For the last three years, the Federal Open Market Committee has focused greater attention on certain monetary and credit aggregates in specifying its longer-run targets.
AUTHORS: Broaddus, Alfred
DATE: 1973

Working Paper
Evolution in banking competition
The Supreme Court view of commercial banking as a "distinct line of commerce" no longer reflects realities in many sections of the United States.
AUTHORS: Varvel, Walter A.; Wallich, Henry C.
DATE: 1980

Working Paper
Vintage capital as an origin of inequalities
AUTHORS: Krusell, Per; Hornstein, Andreas; Violante, Giovanni L.
DATE: 2002

Working Paper
Analyzing firm location decisions : is public intervention justified?
This paper develops a two-region model of firm migration where moving is costly and firms have market power. In this setting, the decentralized equilibrium generates excessive inertia in firm movement relative to the 'first best' solution. Because the decentralized solution is inefficient, the widespread notion that inducing firm movement between regions yield no net social gain does not necessarily hold. That is, firm migration does not amount to a 'zero sum.' Moreover, given the presence of inertia, and contrary to the prevalent view, we show that targeted subsidies that alleviate moving costs can lead to a 'second best' outcome. We also show that once a dynamic dimension is considered, moving cost subsidies, while potentially welfare improving in a present value sense, may nevertheless generate transitional welfare costs in the short run. Consequently, it may be especially misleading to mainly consider contemporaneous conditions in evaluating regional incentive programs.
AUTHORS: Sarte, Pierre-Daniel G.; Owens, Raymond E.
DATE: 1999

Working Paper
Accounting for unemployment: the long and short of it
Shimer (2012) accounts for the volatility of unemployment based on a model of homogeneous unemployment. Using data on short-term unemployment he finds that most of unemployment volatility is accounted for by variations in the exit rate from unemployment. The assumption of homogeneous exit rates is inconsistent with the observed negative duration dependence of unemployment exit rates for the U.S. labor market. We construct a simple model of heterogeneous unemployment with short-term and long-term unemployed, and use data on the duration distribution of unemployment to account for entry to and exit from the unemployment pool. This alternative account continues to attribute most of unemployment volatility to variations in exit rates from unemployment, but it also suggests that most of unemployment volatility is due to the volatility of long-term unemployment rather than short-term unemployment. We also show that once one allows for heterogeneous unemployment, the expected value of income losses from unemployment increases substantially, and unemployment volatility implied by a simple matching model increases.
AUTHORS: Hornstein, Andreas
DATE: 2012

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