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Jel Classification:D22 

Working Paper
Committing to Grow: Privatizations and Firm Dynamics in East Germany

This paper investigates a unique policy designed to maintain employment during the privatization of East German firms after the fall of the Iron Curtain. The policy required new owners of the firms to commit to employment targets, with penalties for non-compliance. Using a dynamic model, we highlight three channels through which employment targets impact firms: distorted employment decisions, increased productivity, and higher exit rates. Our empirical analysis, using a novel dataset and instrumental variable approach, confirms these findings. We estimate a 22% points higher annual employment ...
International Finance Discussion Papers , Paper 1382

Report
Income Inequality and Job Creation

We propose a novel channel through which rising income inequality affects job creation and macroeconomic outcomes. High-income households save relatively more in stocks and bonds but less in bank deposits. A rising top income share thereby increases the relative financing costs for bank-dependent firms, which in turn create fewer jobs. Exploiting variation across U.S. states and an IV strategy, we provide evidence for the channel. Calibrating a general equilibrium model to our cross-regional estimates, we show that rising inequality increases the employment share of large firms, reduces the ...
Staff Reports , Paper 1021

Working Paper
Learning and the Value of Trade Relationships

This paper quantifies the value of importer-exporter relationships. We show that almost 80 percent of U.S. imports take place in pre-existing relationships, with sizable heterogeneity across countries, and show that traded quantities and survival increase as relationships age. We develop a two-country general equilibrium trade model with learning that is consistent with these facts. A model-based measure of relationship value explains survival during the 2008-09 crisis. Knowledge accumulated within long-term relationships is quantitatively important: wiping out all memory from previous ...
International Finance Discussion Papers , Paper 1218

Working Paper
Market exposure and endogenous firm volatility over the business cycle

First Draft: November 1, 2011 We propose a theory of endogenous firm-level volatility over the business cycle based on endogenous market exposure. Firms that reach a larger number of markets diversify market-specific demand risk at a cost. The model is driven only by total factor productivity shocks and captures the business cycle properties of firm-level volatility. Using a panel of U.S. firms (Compustat), we empirically document the countercyclical nature of firm-level volatility. We then match this panel to Compustat?s Segment data and the U.S. Census?s Longitudinal Business Database (LBD) ...
Working Papers , Paper 14-12

Working Paper
Entrepreneurship and State Taxation

Entrepreneurship plays a vital role in the economy, yet there exists little well-identified research into the effects of taxes on startup activity. Using recently developed county-level data on startups, we examine the effect of states' corporate, personal and sales tax rates on new firm activity and test for cross-border spillovers in response to these policies. We find that new firm employment is negatively?and disproportionately?affected by corporate tax rates. We find little evidence of an effect of personal and sales taxes on entrepreneurial outcomes. Our results are robust to changes in ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2018-003

Working Paper
Downskilling: changes in employer skill requirements over the business cycle

Using a novel database of 82.5 million online job postings, we show that employer skill requirements fell as the labor market improved from 2010 to 2014. We find that a 1 percentage point reduction in the local unemployment rate is associated with a roughly 0.27 percentage point reduction in the fraction of jobs requiring at least a bachelor?s degree and a roughly 0.23 percentage point reduction in the fraction requiring five or more years of experience. This pattern is established using multiple measures of labor availability, is bolstered by similar trends along heretofore unmeasured ...
Working Papers , Paper 16-9

Working Paper
Business Exit During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Non-Traditional Measures in Historical Context

Lags in official data releases have forced economists and policymakers to leverage "alternative" or "non-traditional" data to measure business exit resulting from the COVID- 19 pandemic. We first review official data on business exit in recent decades to place the alternative measures of exit within historical context. For the U.S., business exit is countercyclical and fairly common, with about 7.5 percent of firms exiting annually in recent years. Both the high level and the cyclicality of exit are driven by very small firms and establishments. We then explore a range of alternative measures ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2020-089r1

Working Paper
The Welfare Costs of Misaligned Incentives: Energy Inefficiency and the Principal-Agent Problem

In many settings, misaligned incentives and inadequate monitoring lead employees to take self-interested actions contrary to their employer's wishes, giving rise to the classic principal-agent problem. In this paper, I identify and quantify the costs of misaligned incentives in the context of an energy efficiency appliance replacement program. I show that contractors (agents) hired by the electric utility (the principal) increase their compensation by intentionally misreporting program data to deliberately authorize replacement of non-qualified refrigerators. I provide empirical estimates of ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2019-071

Report
International shocks and domestic prices: how large are strategic complementarities?

How strong are strategic complementarities in price setting across firms? In this paper, we provide a direct empirical estimate of firms? price responses to changes in prices of their competitors. We develop a general framework and an empirical identification strategy to estimate the elasticities of a firm?s price response both to its own cost shocks and to the price changes of its competitors. Our approach takes advantage of a new micro-level data set for the Belgian manufacturing sector, which contains detailed information on firm domestic prices, marginal costs, and competitor prices. The ...
Staff Reports , Paper 771

Working Paper
Because of Monopolies, Income Inequality Significantly Understates Economic Inequality

In social science research, household income is widely used as a stand-in for, or approximation to, the economic well-being of households. In a parallel way, income-inequality has been employed as a stand-in for inequality of economic well-being, or for brevity, "economic-inequality." But there is a force in market economies, ones with extensive amounts of monopoly, like the United States, which leads income-inequality to understate economic-inequality. This force has not been recognized before and derives from how monopolies behave. Monopolies, of course, raise prices. This reduces the ...
Working Papers , Paper 777

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