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Series:Working Papers  Bank:Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland 

Working Paper
A Theory of Intrinsic Inflation Persistence
We propose a novel theory of intrinsic inflation persistence by introducing trend inflation and variable elasticity of demand in a model with staggered price and wage setting. Under nonzero trend inflation, the variable elasticity generates intrinsic persistence in inflation through a measure of price dispersion stemming from staggered price setting. It also introduces intrinsic persistence in wage inflation under staggered wage setting, which affects price inflation. With the theory we show that inflation exhibits a persistent, hump-shaped response to a monetary policy shock. We also show that a credible disinflation leads to a gradual decline in inflation and a fall in output, and lower trend inflation reduces inflation persistence, as observed around the time of the Volcker disinflation.
AUTHORS: Van Zandweghe, Willem; Kurozumi, Takushi
DATE: 2019-08-29

Working Paper
The Politics of Flat Taxes
We study the political determination of flat tax systems using a workhorse macroeconomic model of inequality. There is significant variation in preferred tax policy across the wealth and income distribution. The majority voting outcome features (i) zero labor income taxation, (ii) simultaneous use of capital income and consumption taxation, and (iii) essentially zero transfers. This policy is supported by a coalition of low- and middle-wealth households. Zero labor income taxation is supported by households with below average wealth, while the middle-wealth households prefer to keep the transfer (and thus other tax rates) low. We also show that the outcome is sensitive to assumptions about the voting power of household groups, the degree of wealth and income mobility, and the forward-looking nature of votes.
AUTHORS: Dolmas, James; Young, Eric R.; Carroll, Daniel R.
DATE: 2019-09-25

Working Paper
Monetary Policy and Macroeconomic Stability Revisited
A large literature has established that the Fed? change from a passive to an active policy response to inflation led to US macroeconomic stability after the Great Inflation of the 1970s. This paper revisits the literature?s view by estimating a generalized New Keynesian model using a full-information Bayesian method that allows for equilibrium indeterminacy and adopts a sequential Monte Carlo algorithm. The model empirically outperforms canonical New Keynesian models that confirm the literature?s view. Our estimated model shows an active policy response to inflation even during the Great Inflation. More importantly, a more active policy response to inflation alone does not suffice for explaining the US macroeconomic stability, unless it is accompanied by a change in either trend inflation or policy responses to the output gap and output growth. This extends the literature by emphasizing the importance of the changes in other aspects of monetary policy in addition to its response to inflation.
AUTHORS: Kurozumi, Takushi; Van Zandweghe, Willem; Hirose, Yasuo
DATE: 2019-06-27

Working Paper
The Politics of Flat Taxes
We study the determination of flat tax systems using a workhorse macroeconomic model of inequality. Our first result is that, despite the multidimensional policy space, equilibrium policies are typically unique (up to a fine grid numerical approximation). The majority voting outcome features (i) zero labor income taxation, (ii) simultaneous use of capital income and consumption taxation, and (iii) generally low transfers. We discuss the role of three factors?the initial heterogeneity in sources of income, the mobility of income and wealth, and the forward-looking aspect of voting?in determining the equilibrium mix of taxes.
AUTHORS: Carroll, Daniel R.; Young, Eric R.; Dolmas, James
DATE: 2017-09-06

Working Paper
Firms, Skills, and Wage Inequality
We present a model with search frictions and heterogeneous agents that allows us to decompose the overall increase in US wage inequality in the last 30 years into its within- and between-firm and skill components. We calibrate the model to evaluate how much of the overall rise in wage inequality and its components is explained by different channels. Output distribution per firm-skill pair more than accounts for the observed increase over this period. Parametric identification implies that the worker-specific component is responsible for 85 percent of this, compared to 15 percent that is attributable to firm-level productivity shifts.
AUTHORS: Tasci, Murat; Pinheiro, Roberto
DATE: 2019-04-19

Working Paper
A New Look at Historical Monetary Policy and the Great Inflation through the Lens of a Persistence-Dependent Policy Rule
The origins of the Great Inflation, a central 20th century U.S. macroeconomic event, remain contested. Prominent explanations are poor forecasts or deficient activity gap estimates. An alternative view: the FOMC was unwilling to fight inflation, perhaps due to political pressures. Our findings, based on a novel approach, support the latter view. New econometric tools allow us to credibly identify the particular activity gap, if any, in use. Persistence-dependent unemployment (gap) responses in the 1970s were essentially the same pre- and post-Volcker. Conversely, FOMC behavior vis--vis inflation?also persistence-dependent?changed markedly starting with Volcker, consistent with (though not proving) the political pressures view.
AUTHORS: Tsang, Kwok Ping; Ashley, Richard; Verbrugge, Randal
DATE: 2019-07-18

Working Paper
Variation in the Phillips Curve Relation across Three Phases of the Business Cycle
We use recently developed econometric tools to demonstrate that the Phillips curve unemployment rate?inflation rate relationship varies in an economically meaningful way across three phases of the business cycle. The first (?bust phase?) relationship is the one highlighted by Stock and Watson (2010): A sharp reduction in inflation occurs as the unemployment rate is rising rapidly. The second (?recovery phase?) relationship occurs as the unemployment rate subsequently begins to fall; during this phase, inflation is unrelated to any conventional unemployment gap. The final (?overheating phase?) relationship begins once the unemployment rate drops below its natural rate. We validate our findings in a forecasting exercise and find statistically significant episodic forecast improvement. Our analysis allows us to provide a unified explanation of many prominent findings in the literature.
AUTHORS: Verbrugge, Randal; Ashley, Richard
DATE: 2019-05-03

Working Paper
The Effect of Possible EU Diversification Requirements on the Risk of Banks’ Sovereign Bond Portfolios
Recent policy discussion includes the introduction of diversification requirements for sovereign bond portfolios of European banks. In this paper, we evaluate the possible effects of these constraints on risk and diversification in the sovereign bond portfolios of the major European banks. First, we capture the dependence structure of European countries? sovereign risks and identify the common factors driving European sovereign CDS spreads by means of an independent component analysis. We then analyze the risk and diversification in the sovereign bond portfolios of the largest European banks and discuss the role of ?home bias,? i.e., the tendency of banks to concentrate their sovereign bond holdings in their domicile country. Finally, we evaluate the effect of diversification requirements on the tail risk of sovereign bond portfolios and quantify the system-wide losses in the presence of fire-sales. Under our assumptions about how banks respond to the new requirements, demanding that banks modify their holdings to increase their portfolio diversification may mitigate fire-sale externalities, but it may be ineffective in reducing portfolio risk, including tail risk.
AUTHORS: Paterlini, Sandra; Craig, Ben R.; Giuzio, Margherita
DATE: 2019-05-28

Working Paper
The Unintended Consequences of Employer Credit Check Bans on Labor and Credit Markets
Since the Great Recession, 11 states have restricted employers' access to the credit reports of job applicants. We document that county-level vacancies decline between 9.5 percent and 12.4 percent after states enact these laws. Vacancies decline significantly in affected occupations but remain constant in those that are exempt, and the decline is larger in counties with many subprime residents. Furthermore, subprime borrowers fall behind on more debt payments and reduce credit inquiries postban. The evidence suggests that, counter to their intent, employer credit check bans disrupt labor and credit markets, especially for subprime workers.
AUTHORS: Glover, Andrew; Cortes, Kristle Romero; Tasci, Murat
DATE: 2016-11-10

Working Paper
What Explains Neighborhood Sorting by Income and Race?
Why do high-income black households live in neighborhoods with characteristics similar to those of low-income white households? We find that neighborhood sorting by income and race cannot be explained by financial constraints: High-income, high-wealth black households live in similar-quality neighborhoods as low-income, low-wealth white households. We provide evidence that black households sort across neighborhoods according to some non-pecuniary factor(s) correlated with the racial composition of neighborhoods. Black households sorting into black neighborhoods can explain the racial gap in neighborhood quality at all income levels. The supply of high-quality black neighborhoods drives the neighborhood quality of black households.
AUTHORS: Aliprantis, Dionissi; Carroll, Daniel R.; Young, Eric R.
DATE: 2019-10-08

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