Cliff notes: the effects of the 2013 debt-ceiling crisis
We investigate the effects of the 2013 debt-ceiling crisis on the Treasury bill market and possible spillovers to the commercial paper market and money market funds. We also compare this experience with the prior debt-ceiling crisis in 2011. We find that the 2013 debt-ceiling crisis reduced the demand for Treasury bills that were scheduled to mature right after the debt-ceiling deadline, but not for longer-term Treasury bills. Accordingly, we see that a hump formed at the shorter end of the term structure of Treasury bill yields around the debt-ceiling deadline, with the term structure ...
“Family Achievements?”: How a College Degree Accumulates Wealth for Whites and Not For Blacks
A college education has been linked to higher life-time earnings and better economic achievements, so the expectation would be that it is also linked to higher net wealth for everybody. However, recent analyses challenge this hypothesis and find that the expectation holds true for White college-educated households but not for Black college-educated households. To examine this finding further and investigate the role of family financial transfers in household net wealth, the authors perform a mixed-method study using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics for a 24-year period, 1989-2013, ...
Interpreting the Pari Passu Clause in Sovereign Bond Contracts: It's All Hebrew (and Aramaic) to Me
In this comment, we take a helicopter tour of the history of notions of ?equality? and ?justice? in sovereign debt restructuring in particular, and in the division of property more generally, and show that these concerns have existed for centuries, if not millennia. We argue that the issue at stake in the interpretation of the pari passu clause is not so much the treatment of holders of identical claims?it is now customary to treat them identically?but whether the holders of different claims should be treated differently. We show that exists a customary ?principle of differentiation? that ...
College Is Not Enough: Higher Education Does Not Eliminate Racial and Ethnic Wealth Gaps
Differences in college and post-graduate degree attainment alone explain less than half of Black-White and Hispanic-White wealth gaps in a standard wealth regression. Differences in family structure and measures of luck such as income windfalls and inheritances explain even less. Measures of financial decisionmaking, such as the share of housing in total assets and debt ratios, are much more important.
Capital Controls and Income Inequality
We examine the distributional implications of capital account policy in a small open economy model with heterogeneous agents and financial frictions. Households save through deposits in both domestic and foreign banks. Entrepreneurs finance investment with borrowed funds from domestic banks and foreign investors. Domestic banks engage in costly intermediation of deposits from households and loans to entrepreneurs. Government capital account policy consists of taxes on outflows and inflows. Given policy, a temporary decline in the world interest rate leads to a surge in inflows, benefiting ...
Measuring Income and Wealth at the Top Using Administrative and Survey Data
Administrative tax data indicate that U.S. top income and wealth shares are substantial and increasing rapidly (Piketty and Saez 2003, Saez and Zucman 2014). A key reason for using administrative data to measure top shares is to overcome the under-representation of families at the very top that plagues most household surveys. However, using tax records alone restricts the unit of analysis for measuring economic resources, limits the concepts of income and wealth being measured, and imposes a rigid correlation between income and wealth. The Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF) solves the ...
Do Rising Top Incomes Lead to Increased Borrowing in the Rest of the Distribution?
One potential consequence of rising concentration of income at the top of the distribution is increased borrowing, as less affluent households attempt to maintain standards of living with less income. This paper explores the ?keeping up with the Joneses? phenomenon using data from the Survey of Consumer Finances. Specifically, it examines the responsiveness of payment-to-income ratios for different debt types at different parts of the income distribution to changes in the income thresholds at the 95th and 99th percentiles. The analysis provides some evidence indicating that household debt ...
A Comparison of Living Standards Across the States of America
We use an expected utility framework to examine how living standards vary across the United States and how each state's living standards have evolved over time. Our welfare measure accounts for cross-state variations in mortality, consumption, education, inequality, and cost of living. We find that per capita income is a good indicator of living standards, with a correlation of 0.80 across states. Living standards in most states, however, appear closer to those in the richest states than their difference in per capita income would suggest. Whereas high-income states benefit from higher life ...
Updating the Racial Wealth Gap
Using newly available data from the Survey of Consumer Finances, this paper updates and extends the literature exploring the racial wealth gap. We examine several hypotheses proposed by previous researchers, including the importance of inherited wealth and other family support and that of trends in local real estate markets, and also extend the literature by exploring the gap across the distribution of wealth and simultaneously considering white, African American and Hispanic households. The findings indicate that observable factors account for all of wealth gap between white and Hispanic ...
Income inequality and political polarization: time series evidence over nine decades
Rising income inequality and political polarization have led some to hypothesize that the two are causally linked. Properly interpreting such correlations is complicated by the multiple factors that drive each of these phenomena, potential feedbacks between inequality and polarization, measurement issues, and statistical challenges for modeling non-stationary variables. We find that a more precise measure of inequality (the inverted Pareto-Lorenz coefficient) is statistically related to polarization while a less precise one (top 1% income share) is not, and that there are bi-directional ...