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Series:Working Papers  Bank:Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia 

Working Paper
On the use of market-based probabilities for policy decisions
This paper seeks to delimit conditions so that market-based probabilities provide all the information the policymaker needs to arrive at the best possible decision. Although there are practical considerations regarding how to derive market-based probabilities from financial prices, the author confines the discussion to a theoretical analysis that assumes no impediment to obtaining the market-based probabilities.
AUTHORS: Armenter, Roc
DATE: 2015-12-14

Working Paper
The elasticity of the unemployment rate with respect to benefits
If the Mortensen and Pissarides model with efficient bargaining is calibrated to replicate the fluctuations of unemployment over the business cycle, it implies a far too strong rise of the unemployment rate when unemployment benefits rise. This paper explores an alternative, right-to-manage bargaining scheme. This also generates the right degree of fluctuations of unemployment but at the same time implies a reasonable elasticity of unemployment with respect to benefits.
AUTHORS: Kuester, Keith; Christoffel, Kai
DATE: 2008

Working Paper
Labor supply and personal computer adoption.
The positive correlations found between computer use and human capital are often interpreted as evidence that the adoption of computers have raised the relative demand for skilled labor, the widely touted skill-biased technological change hypothesis. However, several models argue the skill- intensity of technology is endogenously determined by the relative supply of skilled labor. The authors use instruments for the supply of human capital coupled with a rich dataset on computer usage by businesses to show that the supply of human capital is an important determinant of the adoption of personal computers. Their results suggest that great caution must be exercised in placing economic interpretations on the correlations often found between technology and human capital.
AUTHORS: Doms, Mark; Lewis, Ethan
DATE: 2006

Working Paper
Nonobviousness and the incentive to innovate: an economic analysis of intellectual property reform
U.S. patent law protects only inventions that are nontrivial advances of the prior art. The legal requirement is called nonobviousness. During the 1980s, the courts relaxed the nonobviousness requirement for all inventions, and a new form of intellectual property, with a weaker nonobviousness requirement, was created for semiconductor designs. Supporters of these changes argue that a less stringent nonobviousness requirement encourages private research and development (R&D) by increasing the probability that the resulting discoveries will be protected from imitation. This paper demonstrates that relaxing the standard of nonobviousness creates a tradeoff--raising the probability of obtaining a patent, but decreasing its value. The author shows that weaker nonobviousness requirements can lead to less R&D activity, and this is more likely to occur in industries that rapidly innovate.
AUTHORS: Hunt, Robert M.
DATE: 1999

Working Paper
Insurance policies for monetary policy in the euro area
In this paper, the authors aim to design a monetary policy for the euro area that is robust to the high degree of model uncertainty at the start of monetary union and allows for learning about model probabilities. To this end, they compare and ultimately combine Bayesian and worst-case analysis using four reference models estimated with pre-EMU synthetic data. The authors start by computing the cost of insurance against model uncertainty, that is, the relative performance of worst-case or minimax policy versus Bayesian policy. While maximum insurance comes at moderate costs, they highlight three shortcomings of this worst-case insurance policy: (i) prior beliefs that would rationalize it from a Bayesian perspective indicate that such insurance is strongly oriented toward the model with highest baseline losses; (ii) the minimax policy is not as tolerant of small perturbations of policy parameters as the Bayesian policy; and (iii) the minimax policy offers no avenue for incorporating posterior model probabilities derived from data available since monetary union. Thus, the authors propose preferences for robust policy design that reflect a mixture of the Bayesian and minimax approaches. They show how the incoming EMU data may then be used to update model probabilities, and investigate the implications for policy. ; Forthcoming in the Journal of the European Economic Association.
AUTHORS: Kuester, Keith; Wieland, Volker W.
DATE: 2008

Working Paper
Small business lending: challenges and opportunities for community banks
The recent decline in small business lending (SBL) among U.S. community banks has spurred a growing debate about the future role of small banks in providing credit to U.S. small businesses. This paper adds to that discussion in three key ways. First, this research builds on existing evidence, suggesting that the decline in SBL by community banks is a trend that began at least a decade before the financial crisis. Second, the authors show that in the years preceding the crisis, small businesses increasingly turned to mortgage credit to fund their operations. Finally, this paper illustrates how community banks face an increasingly dynamic competitive landscape, including the entry of deep-pocketed alternative nonbank lenders using technology to find borrowers and to underwrite loans, often using unconventional lending practices. Although these lenders may pose a competitive threat to community banks, the authors explore emerging examples of partnerships and alliances among community banks and nonbank lenders.
AUTHORS: Lemieux, Catharine; Jagtiani, Julapa
DATE: 2016-03-21

Working Paper
Implications of state-dependent pricing for dynamic macroeconomic models.
State-dependent pricing (SDP) models treat the timing of price changes as a profit-maximizing choice, symmetrically with other decisions of firms. Using quantitative general equilibrium models that incorporate a ?generalized (S,s) approach,? we investigate the implications of SDP for topics in two major areas of macroeconomic research: the early 1990s SDP literature and more recent work on persistence mechanisms. First, we show that state-dependent pricing leads to unusual macroeconomic dynamics, which occur because of the timing of price adjustments chosen by firms as in the earlier literature. In particular, we display an example in which output responses peak at about a year, while inflation responses peak at about two years after the shock. Second, we examine whether the persistence-enhancing effects of two New Keynesian model features, namely, specific factor markets and variable elasticity demand curves, depend importantly on whether pricing is state dependent. In an SDP setting, we provide examples in which specific factor markets perversely work to lower persistence, while variable elasticity demand raises it.
AUTHORS: Dotsey, Michael; King, Robert G.
DATE: 2005

Working Paper
The age of capital, the age of utilized capital, and tests of the embodiment hypothesis
AUTHORS: Lane, Julia; McHugh, Richard
DATE: 1986

Working Paper
Can oil prices forecast exchange rates?
This paper investigates whether oil prices have a reliable and stable out-of-sample relationship with the Canadian/U.S. dollar nominal exchange rate. Despite state-of-the-art methodologies, the authors find little systematic relation between oil prices and the exchange rate at the monthly and quarterly frequencies. In contrast, the main contribution is to show the existence of a very short-term relationship at the daily frequency, which is rather robust and holds no matter whether the authors use contemporaneous (realized) or lagged oil prices in their regression. However, in the latter case the predictive ability is ephemeral, mostly appearing after instabilities have been appropriately taken into account.
AUTHORS: Rossi, Barbara; Ferraro, Domenico; Rogoff, Kenneth S.
DATE: 2011

Working Paper
The impact of branch banking on pricing and service availability: theory and evidence
AUTHORS: Nakamura, Leonard I.; Calem, Paul S.
DATE: 1993




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