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Working Paper
Five open questions about prediction markets

Interest in prediction markets has increased in the last decade, driven in part by the hope that these markets will prove to be valuable tools in forecasting, decisionmaking and risk management--in both the public and private sectors. This paper outlines five open questions in the literature, and we argue that resolving these questions is crucial to determining whether current optimism about prediction markets will be realized.
Working Paper Series , Paper 2006-06

Working Paper
External and Public Debt Crises

The recent debt crises in Europe and the U.S. states feature similar sharp increases in spreads on government debt but also show important differences. In Europe, the crisis occurred at high government indebtedness levels and had spillovers to the private sector. In the United States, state government indebtedness was low, and the crisis had no spillovers to the private sector. We show theoretically and empirically that these different debt experiences result from the interplay between differences in the ability of governments to interfere in private external debt contracts and differences in ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2015-5

Working Paper
Heterogeneity in the Marginal Propensity to Consume: Evidence from Covid-19 Stimulus Payments

We identify 22,340 recipients of Covid-19 Economic Impact Payments in anonymized transaction-level debit card data from Facteus. We use an event study framework to show that in the two weeks following a sudden $1,200 payment from the IRS, consumers immediately increased spending by an average of $604, implying a marginal propensity to consume (MPC) of 50%. Consumer spending fell back to normal levels after two weeks. Stimulus recipients who live paycheck-to-paycheck spend 62% of the stimulus payment within two weeks, while recipients who save much of their monthly income spend only 35% of the ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2020-15

Working Paper
Evaluating interest rate covariance models within a value-at-risk framework

We find that covariance matrix forecasts for an international interest rate portfolio generated by a model that incorporates interest-rate level volatility effects perform best with respect to statistical loss functions. However, within a value-at-risk (VaR) framework, the relative performance of the covariance matrix forecasts depends greatly on the VaR distributional assumption. Simple forecasts based just on weighted averages of past observations perform best using a VaR framework. In fact, we find that portfolio variance forecasts that ignore the individual assets in the portfolio ...
Working Paper Series , Paper 2004-03

Working Paper
Asymmetric Information, Dynamic Debt Issuance, and the Term Structure of Credit Spreads

We propose a tractable model of a firm?s dynamic debt and equity issuance policies in the presence of asymmetric information. Because ?investment-grade? firms can access debt markets, managers who observe a bad private signal can both conceal this information and shield shareholders from infusing capital into the firm by issuing new debt to service existing debt, thus avoiding default. The implication is that the ?asymmetric information channel? can generate jumps to default (from the creditors? perspective) only for those "high-yield" firms that have exhausted their ability to borrow. ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2019-8

Working Paper
Nominal debt as a burden on monetary policy

We study the effects of nominal debt on the optimal sequential choice of monetary and debt policy. When the stock of debt is nominal, the incentive to generate unanticipated inflation increases the cost of the outstanding debt even if no unanticipated inflation episodes occur in equilibrium. Without full commitment, the optimal sequential policy is to deplete the outstanding stock of debt progressively until these extra costs disappear. Nominal debt is therefore a burden on monetary policy, not only because it must be serviced, but also because it creates a time inconsistency problem that ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-04-10

Working Paper
The Impact of Chicago's Small High School Initiative

This project examines the effects of the introduction of new small high schools on student performance in the Chicago Public School (CPS) district. Specifically, we investigate whether students attending small high schools have better graduation/enrollment rates and achievement than similar students who attend regular CPS high schools. We show that students who choose to attend a small school are more disadvantaged on average, including having prior test scores that are about 0.2 standard deviations lower than their elementary school classmates. To address the selection problem, we use an ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2014-20

Working Paper
Estimating the Euler equation for output

New Keynesian macroeconomic models have generally emphasized that expectations of future output are a key factor in determining current output. The theoretical motivation for such forward-looking behavior relies on a straightforward generalization of the well-known Euler equation for consumption. In this paper, we use maximum likelihood and generalized method of moments (GMM) methods to explore the empirical importance of output expectations. We find little evidence that rational expectations of future output help determine current output, especially after taking into account the small-sample ...
Working Paper Series , Paper 2002-12

Working Paper
Taylor Rule Estimation by OLS

Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) estimation of monetary policy rules produces potentially inconsistent estimates of policy parameters. The reason is that central banks react to variables, such as inflation and the output gap, which are endogenous to monetary policy shocks. Endogeneity implies a correlation between regressors and the error term, and hence, an asymptotic bias. In principle, Instrumental Variables (IV) estimation can solve this endogeneity problem. In practice, IV estimation poses challenges as the validity of potential instruments also depends on other economic relationships. We ...
Working Paper Series , Paper 2018-11

Working Paper
Search, self-insurance and job-security provisions

We construct a general equilibrium model to evaluate the quantitative effects of severance payments in the presence of contracting and reallocational frictions. Key elements of the model are: 1) establishment level dynamics, 2) imperfect insurance markets, and 3) variable search decisions. Contrary to previous studies that analyzed severance payments in frictionless environments, we find that severance payments reduce unemployment, produce negative insurance effects and improve levels.
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-98-2

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