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Jel Classification:D24 

Report
Estimation of cross-country differences in industry production functions.

International trade economists typically assume that there are no cross-country differences in industry total factor productivity (TFP). In contrast, this paper finds large and persistent TFP differences across a group of industrialized countries in the 1980s. The paper calculates TFP indices, and statistically examines the sources of the observed large TFP differences across countries. Two hypotheses are examined to account for TFP differences: constant returns to scale production with country-specific technological differences, and industry-level scale economies with identical technology in ...
Staff Reports , Paper 36

Report
The role of technology in mortgage lending

Technology-based (?FinTech?) lenders increased their market share of U.S. mortgage lending from 2 percent to 8 percent from 2010 to 2016. Using market-wide, loan-level data on U.S. mortgage applications and originations, we show that FinTech lenders process mortgage applications about 20 percent faster than other lenders, even when controlling for detailed loan, borrower, and geographic observables. Faster processing does not come at the cost of higher defaults. FinTech lenders adjust supply more elastically than other lenders in response to exogenous mortgage demand shocks, thereby ...
Staff Reports , Paper 836

Working Paper
The 2009 recovery act: stimulus at the extensive and intensive labor margins

This paper studies the effect of government stimulus spending on a novel aspect of the labor market: the differential impact of spending on the total wage bill versus employment. We analyze the 2009 Recovery Act via instrumental variables using a new instrument, the spending done by federal agencies that were not instructed to target funds towards harder hit regions. We find a moderate positive effect on jobs created/saved (i.e., the extensive margin") and also a significant increase in wage payments to workers whose job status was safe without Recovery Act funds (i.e., the intensive ...
Working Papers , Paper 2014-23

Working Paper
Sourcing substitution and related price index biases

We define a class of bias problems that arise when purchasers shift their expenditures among sellers charging different prices for units of precisely defined and interchangeable product items that are nevertheless regarded as different for the purposes of price measurement. For business-to-business transactions, these shifts can cause sourcing substitution bias in the Producer Price Index (PPI) and the Import Price Index (MPI), as well as potentially in the proposed new true Input Price Index (IPI). Similarly, when consumers shift their expenditures for the same products temporally to take ...
Working Papers , Paper 14-34

Report
Technology, the nature of information, and fintech marketplace lending

The retail lending landscape has changed considerably over the past two decades, the most recent example being the rapid growth of online, or FinTech, lending to consumers and small businesses. This paper discusses how the boundary of the firm in the retail lending market is affected by advances in information technology that have turned what was previously soft information on borrower credit risk into encoded hard data that can be precisely transmitted across firms at a very low cost. The ability to collect and process information has become the critical resource for lending decisions, ...
Current Policy Perspectives , Paper 18-3

Report
The Great Recession, entrepreneurship, and productivity performance

In recent years, it is argued, the level of entrepreneurial activity in the United States has declined, causing concern because of its potential macroeconomic implications. In particular, it is feared that a lower rate of firm creation may be associated with lower productivity growth and, hence, lower economic growth in the coming years. This paper studies the issue, focusing on the dynamics of entrepreneurship and productivity around the time of the Great Recession. The author looks first at the recent evolution of alternative measures of entrepreneurship and of productivity, and then ...
Current Policy Perspectives , Paper 14-8

Working Paper
The pre-Great Recession slowdown in productivity

In the years since the Great Recession, many observers have highlighted the slow pace of productivity growth around the world. For the United States and Europe, we highlight that this slow pace began prior to the Great Recession. The timing thus suggests that it is important to consider factors other than just the deep crisis itself or policy changes since the crisis. For the United States, at the frontier of knowledge, there was a burst of innovation and reallocation related to the production and use of information technology in the second half of the 1990s and the early 2000s. That burst ...
Working Paper Series , Paper 2016-8

Working Paper
Misallocation and Productivity in the Lead Up to the Eurozone Crisis

We use Portuguese firm-level data to investigate whether changes in resource misallocation may have contributed to the poor economic performance of some southern and peripheral European countries leading up to the Eurozone crisis. We extend Hsieh and Klenow's (2009) methodology to include intermediate inputs and consider all sectors of the economy (agriculture, manufacturing, and services). We find that within-industry misallocation almost doubled between 1996 and 2011. Equalizing total factor revenue productivity across firms within an industry could have boosted valued-added 48 percent and ...
International Finance Discussion Papers , Paper 1146

Working Paper
A Tale of Two Sectors : Why is Misallocation Higher in Services than in Manufacturing?

Recent empirical studies document that the level of resource misallocation in the service sector is significantly higher than in the manufacturing sector. We quantify the importance of this difference and study its sources. Conservative estimates for Portugal (2008) show that closing this gap, by reducing misallocation in the service sector to manufacturing levels, would boost aggregate gross output by around 12 percent and aggregate value added by around 31 percent. Differences in the effect and size of productivity shocks explain most of the gap in misallocation between manufacturing and ...
International Finance Discussion Papers , Paper 1229

Working Paper
The Energy Boom and Manufacturing in the United States

This paper examines the response of U.S. manufacturers to changes in competitiveness brought about by movements in the price of natural gas. I estimate the response of various measures of manufacturing activity using panel regression methods across roughly 80 industries that allow each industry's response to vary with its energy intensity. These estimates suggest that the fall in the price of natural gas since 2006 is associated with a 2 to 3 percent increase in activity for the entire manufacturing sector, with much larger effects of 30 percent or more for the most energy intensive ...
International Finance Discussion Papers , Paper 1108

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