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Jel Classification:D83 

Working Paper
Goods-Market Frictions and International Trade
We present a tractable framework that embeds goods-market frictions in a general equilibrium dynamic model with heterogeneous exporters and identical importers. These frictions arise because it takes time and expense for exporters and importers to meet. We show that search frictions lead to an endogenous fraction of unmatched exporters, alter the gains from trade, endogenize entry costs, and imply that the competitive equilibrium does not generally result in the socially optimal number of searching firms. Finally, ignoring search frictions results in biased estimates of the effect of tariffs on trade flows.
AUTHORS: McCallum, Andrew H.; Krolikowski, Pawel
DATE: 2016-12-23

Working Paper
Convergence of Cultural Traits with Time-Varying Self-Confidence in the Panebianco (2014) Model--A Corrigendum
We highlight that convergence in repeated averaging models commonly used to study cultural traits or opinion dynamics is not equivalent to convergence in Markov chain settings if transition matrices are time-varying. We then establish a new proof for the convergence of cultural traits in the model of Panebianco (2014) correcting the existing proof. The new proof provides novel insights on the long-run outcomes for inessential individuals. We close with a discussion of conditions for convergence in repeated averaging models with time-varying transition matrices.
AUTHORS: Panebianco , Fabrizio; Siedlarek, Jan-Peter; Prummer, Anja
DATE: 2017-11-15

Working Paper
Costly Information Intermediation as a Natural Monopoly
In this paper, we show that information trade has similar characteristics to a natural monopoly, where competition may be detrimental to efficiency due either to the duplication of direct costs or the slowing down of information dissemination. We present a model with two large populations in which consumers are randomly matched to providers on a period-by-period basis. Despite a moral hazard problem, cooperation can be sustained through an institution that gives incentives to information exchange. We consider different information pricing mechanisms (membership vs. buy and sell) and different competitive environments. In equilibrium, both pricing and competitive schemes affect the direct and indirect costs of information transmission, represented by directed fees paid by consumers and the expected loss due to imperfect information, respectively.
AUTHORS: Pinheiro, Roberto; Monte, Daniel
DATE: 2017-11-16

Working Paper
Costly Information Intermediation as a Natural Monopoly
Many markets rely on information intermediation to sustain cooperation between large communities.We identify a key trade-off in costly information intermediation: intermediaries can create trust by incentivizing information exchange, but with too much information acquisition, intermediation becomes expensive, with a resulting high equilibrium default rate and a low fraction of agents buying this information. The particular pricing scheme and the competitive environment affect the direct and indirect costs of information transmission, represented by fees paid by consumers and the expected loss due to imperfect information, respectively. Moreover, we show that information trade has characteristics similar to a natural monopoly, where competition may be detrimental to efficiency either because of the duplication of direct costs or the slowing down of information spillovers. Finally, a social-welfare-maximizing policymaker optimally chooses a low information sampling frequency in order to maximize the number of partially informed agents. In other words, maximizing information spillovers, even at the cost of slow information accumulation, enhances welfare.
AUTHORS: Pinheiro, Roberto; Monte, Daniel
DATE: 2017-11-16

Working Paper
Forward Guidance under Imperfect Information: Instrument Based or State Contingent?
I study the optimal type of forward guidance in a flexible-price economy in which both the private sector and the central bank are subject to imperfect information about the aggregate state of the economy. In this case, forward guidance changes the private sector?s expectations about both future monetary policy and the state of the economy. I study two types of forward guidance. The first type is instrument based, in which case the central bank commits to a value of the policy instrument. The second type is state contingent, in which case the central bank reveals its imperfect information and commits to a policy response rule. The key message is that forward guidance allows the central bank to reduce ex-ante price fluctuations by making the optimal trade-off between price deviations after the actual shock and after the noise shock. However, this benefit comes with a cost under the instrument-based forward guidance; that is, since firms perfectly know the change in monetary policy and prices are fully flexible, the real output level becomes independent of monetary policy. Consequently, while state-contingent forward guidance guarantees ex-ante welfare improvement, instrument-based forward guidance improves ex-ante welfare only if the central bank?s information is sufficiently precise.
AUTHORS: Jia, Chengcheng
DATE: 2019-11-05

Working Paper
Goods-Market Frictions and International Trade
We add goods-market frictions to a general equilibrium dynamic model with heterogeneous exporting producers and identical importing retailers. Our tractable framework leads to endogenously unmatched producers, which attenuate welfare responses to foreign shocks but increase the trade elasticity relative to a model without search costs. Search frictions are quantitatively important in our calibration, attenuating welfare responses to tariffs by 40 percent and increasing the trade elasticity by 50 percent. Eliminating search costs raises welfare by 1 percent and increasing them by only a few dollars has the same effects on welfare and trade flows as a 10 percent tariff.
AUTHORS: Krolikowski, Pawel; McCallum, Andrew H.
DATE: 2016-12-23

Working Paper
The Informational Effect of Monetary Policy and the Case for Policy Commitment
I explore how asymmetric information between the central bank and the private sector changes the optimal conduct of monetary policy. I build a New Keynesian model in which private agents have imperfect information about underlying shocks, while the central bank has perfect information. In this environment, private agents extract information about the underlying shocks from the central bank?s interest-rate decisions. This informational effect weakens the direct effect of monetary policy: When the central bank adjusts the interest rate to offset the effects of underlying shocks, the interest rate also reveals information about the realization of underlying shocks. Because private agents have more precise information about the shocks and consequently react more aggressively to it, the economy becomes harder to stabilize with monetary policy. I show that committing to the optimal state-contingent policy rule alleviates this problem by controlling the information revealed through the interest rate.
AUTHORS: Jia, Chengcheng
DATE: 2019-04-17

Working Paper
Goods-Market Frictions and International Trade
We add goods-market frictions to a general equilibrium dynamic model with heterogeneous exporting producers and identical importing retailers. Our tractable framework leads to endogenously unmatched producers, which attenuate welfare responses to foreign shocks but increase the trade elasticity relative to a model without search costs. Search frictions are quantitatively important in our calibration, attenuating welfare responses to tariffs by 40 percent and increasing the trade elasticity by 50 percent. Eliminating search costs raises welfare by 1 percent and increasing them by only a few dollars has the same effects on welfare and trade flows as a 10 percent tariff.
AUTHORS: Krolikowski, Pawel; McCallum, Andrew H.
DATE: 2019-08-01

Working Paper
Intermediation in Markets for Goods and Markets for Assets
We analyze agents' decisions to act as producers or intermediaries using equilibrium search theory. Extending previous analyses in various ways, we ask when intermediation emerges and study its efficiency. In one version of the framework, meant to resemble retail, middlemen hold goods, which entails (storage) costs; that model always displays uniqueness and simple transition dynamics. In another version, middlemen hold assets, which entails negative costs, that is, positive returns; that model can have multiple equilibria and complicated belief-based dynamics. These results are consistent with the venerable view that intermediation in financial markets is more prone to instability than in goods markets.
AUTHORS: Nosal, Ed; Wong, Yuet-Yee; Wright, Randall
DATE: 2019-03-01

Working Paper
A Theory of Sticky Rents: Search and Bargaining with Incomplete Information
The housing rental market offers a unique laboratory for studying price stickiness. This paper is motivated by two facts: 1. Tenants? rents are remarkably sticky even though regular and expected recontracting would, by itself, suggest substantial rent flexibility. 2. Rent stickiness varies significantly across structure type; for example, detached unit rents are far stickier than large apartment unit rents. We offer the first theoretical explanation of rent stickiness that is consistent with these facts. In this theory, search and bargaining with incomplete information generates stickiness in the absence of menu costs or other commonly used modeling assumptions. Tenants? valuations of their units, and whether they are considering other units, are both private information. At lease end, the behavior of risk-averse landlords differs according to the number of units managed. Multi-unit landlords, aided by the law of large numbers, exploit tenant moving costs. When renegotiating rent contracts, they set rent increases that exceed the inflation rate; while the majority of tenants stay, those who place low value on the unit search elsewhere and leave. Landlords with one unit loathe vacancy and offer tenants the identical contract to pre-empt search; only those who really hate the unit leave.
AUTHORS: Verbrugge, Randal; Gallin, Joshua H.
DATE: 2017-05-05

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