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Working Paper
Household inflation experiences in the U.S.: a comprehensive approach

We present new measures of household-specific inflation experiences based on comprehensive information from the Consumer Expenditure Survey (CEX). We match households in the Interview and the Diary Surveys from the CEX to produce both complete and detailed pictures of household expenditures. The resulting household inflation measures are based on a more accurate and detailed description of household expenditures than those previously available. We find that our household-based inflation measures track aggregate measures such as the CPI-U quite well and that the addition of Diary Survey data ...
Working Paper Series , Paper 2009-19

Working Paper
Rational and near-rational bubbles without drift

This paper derives a general class of intrinsic rational bubble solutions in a standard Lucas-type asset pricing model. I show that the rational bubble component of the price-dividend ratio can evolve as a geometric random walk without drift. The volatility of bubble innovations depends exclusively on fundamentals. Starting from an arbitrarily small positive value, the rational bubble expands and contracts over time in an irregular, wholly endogenous fashion, always returning to the vicinity of the fundamental solution. I also examine a near-rational solution in which the representative agent ...
Working Paper Series , Paper 2007-10

Working Paper
The effect of sales tax holidays on household consumption patterns

Sales tax holidays (STHs) are the temporary suspension of state (and some local) sales taxes on selected retail items for a brief period of time. The policy has gained popularity in recent years, beginning in one state in 1997 and growing to twenty by 2008. Despite the increased frequency with which states use STHs, little research has been conducted to study how households respond to this temporary tax manipulation. Our paper offers the first household-level, microeconometric evaluation on the effect of STHs on household consumption patterns. We find that on STHs, households increase the ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2010-06

Working Paper
Who's minding the store? motivating and monitoring hired managers at small, closely held firms: the case of commercial banks

We test whether the gains from hiring an outside manager exceed the principal-agent costs of owner-manager separation at 266 small, closely held U.S. commercial banks. Our results suggest that hiring an outside manager can improve a bank's profit efficiency, but that these gains depend on aligning the hired managers with owners via managerial shareholdings. We find that over-utilizing this control mechanism results in entrenchment, while under-utilization is costly in terms of foregone profits. This study provides a relatively unfettered test of mitigating principal-agent costs, because these ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-99-17

Working Paper
Properties of the vacancy statistic in the discrete circle covering problem

Holst (1985) introduced a discrete spacings model that is related to the Bose-Einstein distribution and obtained the distribution of the number of vacant slots in an associated circle covering problem. We correct his expression for its probability mass function, obtain the first two moments, and describe their limiting properties. We also discuss an application of our results to a study of contagion in banking networks.
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2013-05

Working Paper
On the Importance of the Participation Margin for Market Fluctuations

Conventional analyses of cyclical fluctuations in the labor market ascribe a minor role to the labor force participation margin. In contrast, a flows-based decomposition of the variation in labor market stocks reveals that transitions at the participation margin account for around one-third of the cyclical variation in the unemployment rate. This result is robust to adjustments of data for spurious transitions, and for time aggregation. Inferences from conventional, stocks-based analyses of labor force participation are shown to be subject to a stock-flow fallacy, neglecting the offsetting ...
Working Paper Series , Paper 2013-05

Working Paper
Asymmetric expectation effects of regime shifts in monetary policy

This paper addresses two substantive issues: (1) Does the magnitude of the expectation effect of regime switching in monetary policy depend on a particular policy regime? (2) Under which regime is the expectation effect quantitatively important? Using two canonical DSGE models, we show that there exists asymmetry in the expectation effect across regimes. The expectation effect under the dovish policy regime is quantitatively more important than that under the hawkish regime. These results suggest that the possibility of regime shifts in monetary policy can have important effects on rational ...
Working Paper Series , Paper 2008-22

Working Paper
Why do foreigners invest in the United States?

Why are foreigners willing to invest almost $2 trillion per year in the United States? The answer affects if the existing pattern of global imbalances can persist and if the United States can continue to finance its current account deficit without a major change in asset prices and returns. This paper tests various hypotheses and finds that standard portfolio allocation models and diversification motives are poor predictors of foreign holdings of U.S. liabilities. Instead, foreigners hold greater shares of their investment portfolios in the United States if they have less-developed financial ...
Working Paper Series , Paper 2008-27

Working Paper
Why do borrowers make mortgage refinancing mistakes?

Refinancing a mortgage is often one of the biggest and most important financial decisions that people make. Borrowers need to choose the interest rate differential at which to refinance and, when that differential is reached, they need to take the steps to refinance before rates change again. The optimal differential is where the interest saved by refinancing equals the sum of refinancing costs and the option value of refinancing. Using a unique panel data set, we find that approximately 59% of borrowers refinance sub-optimally ? with 52% of the sample making errors of commission (choosing ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2013-02

Working Paper
The optimal mix of taxes on money, consumption and income

We determine the optimal combination of taxes on money, consumption and income in transactions technology models where exogenous government expenditures must be financed with distortionary taxes. We show that the optimal policy does not tax money, regardless of whether the government can use as alternative fiscal instruments an income tax, a consumption tax, or the two taxes jointly. These results are at odds with recent literature. We argue that the reason for this divergence is an inappropriate specification of the transactions technology adopted in the literature.
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-02-03

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