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Working Paper
Pricing-to-market, trade costs, and international relative prices
Data on international relative prices from industrialized countries show large and systematic deviations from relative purchasing power parity. We embed a model of imperfect competition and variable markups in some of the recently developed quantitative models of international trade to examine whether such models can reproduce the main features of the fluctuations in international relative prices. We find that when our model is parameterized to match salient features of the data on international trade and market structure in the U.S., it reproduces deviations from relative purchasing power parity similar to those observed in the data because firms choose to price-to-market. We then examine how pricing-to-market depends on the presence of international trade costs and various features of market structure.
AUTHORS: Burstein, Ariel; Atkeson, Andrew
DATE: 2007

Working Paper
Capital account liberalization: theory, evidence, and speculation
Writings on the macroeconomic impact of capital account liberalization find few, if any, robust effects of liberalization on real variables. In contrast to the prevailing wisdom, I argue that the textbook theory of liberalization holds up quite well to a critical reading of this literature. The lion's share of papers that find no effect of liberalization on real variables tell us nothing about the empirical validity of the theory, because they do not really test it. This paper explains why it is that most studies do not really address the theory they set out to test. It also discusses what is necessary to test the theory and examines papers that have done so. Studies that actually test the theory show that liberalization has significant effects on the cost of capital, investment, and economic growth.
AUTHORS: Henry, Peter Blair
DATE: 2006

Working Paper
Steps toward identifying central bank policy preferences
This paper takes the parameters in central bank loss functions as fundamental preferences to be estimated from the data. It is these preferences (along with target values) that define the policy regime in operation and that potentially change with senior central bank appointments. Optimizing central banks apply policy rules whose feedback coefficients are functions of its preferences. Consequently, under some conditions, it is possible to back out estimates of the preference parameters from estimated policy reaction functions. This paper establishes conditions under which a policy regime can be identified and illustrates these conditions using a number of popular models.
AUTHORS: Dennis, Richard
DATE: 2000

Working Paper
Black-white wage inequality in the 1990s: a decade of progress
Using Current Population Survey data, we find that the gap between wages by black and white males declined during the 1990s at a rate of 0.59 percentage point per year. The reduction in occupational crowding appears to be most important in explaining this trend. Recent wage convergence was most rapid among younger workers with less than 10 years experience; for this group the black-white wage gap declined by 1.40 percentage points per year. Among younger workers greater occupational diversity and a reduction in unexplained or residual differences are important in explaining this trend. For both younger and older workers, general wage inequality tempered the rate of wage convergence between blacks and whites during the 1990s.
AUTHORS: Couch, Kenneth A.; Daly, Mary C.
DATE: 2000

Working Paper
Heeding Daedalus: Optimal inflation and the zero lower bound
This paper reexamines the implications of the zero lower bound on interest rates for monetary policy and the optimal choice of steady-state inflation in light of the experience of the recent global recession. There are two main findings. First, the zero lower bound did not materially contribute to the sharp declines in output in the United States and many other economies through the end of 2008, but it is a significant factor slowing recovery. Model simulations imply that an additional 4 percentage points of rate cuts would have kept the unemployment rate from rising as much as it has and would bring the unemployment and inflation rates more quickly to steady-state values, but the zero bound precludes these actions. This inability to lower interest rates comes at the cost of $1.7 trillion of foregone output over four years. Second, if recent events are a harbinger of a significantly more adverse macroeconomic climate than experienced over the preceding two decades, then a 2 percent steady-state inflation rate may provide an inadequate buffer to keep the zero bound from having noticeable deleterious effects on the macroeconomy assuming the central bank follows the standard Taylor Rule. In such an adverse environment, stronger systematic countercyclical fiscal policy and/or alternative monetary policy strategies can mitigate the harmful effects of the zero bound with a 2 percent inflation target. However, even with such policies, an inflation target of 1 percent or lower could entail significant costs in terms of macroeconomic volatility.
AUTHORS: Williams, John C.
DATE: 2009

Working Paper
Historical Patterns of Inequality and Productivity around Financial Crises
To understand the determinants of financial crises, previous research focused on developments closely related to financial markets. In contrast, this paper considers changes originating in the real economy as drivers of financial instability. Based on long-run historical data for advanced economies, I find that rising top income inequality and low productivity growth are robust predictors of crises ? even outperforming well known early-warning indicators such as credit growth. Moreover, if crises are preceded by such developments, output declines more during the subsequent recession. In addition, I show that asset booms explain the relation between income inequality and financial crises in the data.
AUTHORS: Paul, Pascal
DATE: 2017-09-25

Working Paper
Expectations traps and coordination failures: selecting among multiple discretionary equilibria
Discretionary policymakers cannot manage private-sector expectations and cannot co- ordinate the actions of future policymakers. As a consequence, expectations traps and coordination failures can occur and multiple equilibria can arise. To utilize the explanatory power of models with multiple equilibria it is first necessary to understand how an economy arrives to a particular equilibrium. In this paper, we employ notions of robustness, learnability, and the potential for coalitions to motivate and develop a suite of equilibrium selection criteria. Central among these criteria are whether the equilibrium is learnable by private agents and jointly learnable by private agents and the policymaker. We use two New Keynesian policy models to identify the strategic interactions that give rise to multiple equilibria and to illustrate our equilibrium selection methods. Importantly, although the Pareto-preferred equilibrium is invariably an equilibrium identified by standard numerical iterative solution methods, unless it is learnable by private agents, we find little reason to expect coordination on that equilibrium.
AUTHORS: Dennis, Richard; Kirsanova, Tatiana
DATE: 2010

Working Paper
Precautionary Pricing: The Disinflationary Effects of ELB Risk
We construct a model to evaluate the role that the risk of future effective lower bound (ELB) episodes plays as a factor behind the persistently weak inflation witnessed in many advanced economies since the Great Recession. In our model, a range of precautionary channels cause ELB risk to affect inflation and other macroeconomic outcomes even during ?normal times? when nominal rates are far away from the ELB. This behavior is enhanced through a growth channel that captures possible long-lasting output declines at the ELB. We show that ELB risk substantially weighs on inflation even when the policy rate is above the ELB. Our model also predicts substantially below-target inflation expectations and negative inflation risk premia.
AUTHORS: Amano, Robert; Carter, Thomas; Leduc, Sylvain
DATE: 2019-10-15

Working Paper
Technology diffusion and postwar growth
In the aftermath of WorldWar II, the world's economies exhibited very different rates of economic recovery. We provide evidence that those countries that caught up the most with the U.S. in the postwar period are those that also saw an acceleration in the speed of adoption of new technologies. This acceleration is correlated with the incidence of U.S. economic aid and technical assistance in the same period. We interpret this as supportive of the interpretation that technology transfers from the U.S. to Western European countries and Japan were an important factor in driving growth in these recipient countries during the postwar decades.
AUTHORS: Comin, Diego; Hobijn, Bart
DATE: 2010

Working Paper
Pricing deflation risk with U.S. Treasury yields
We use an arbitrage-free term structure model with spanned stochastic volatility to determine the value of the deflation protection option embedded in Treasury inflation-protected securities (TIPS). The model accurately prices the deflation protection option prior to the financial crisis when its value was near zero; at the peak of the crisis in late 2008 when deflationary concerns spiked sharply; and in the post-crisis period. During 2009, the average value of this option at the five-year maturity was 41 basis points on a par-yield basis.
AUTHORS: Christensen, Jens H. E.; Lopez, Jose A.; Rudebusch, Glenn D.
DATE: 2012

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