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Jel Classification:E2 

Working Paper
Exchange rate flexibility under the zero lower bound
An independent currency and a flexible exchange rate generally helps a country in adjusting to macroeconomic shocks. But recently in many countries, interest rates have been pushed down close to the lower bound, limiting the ability of policy-makers to accommodate shocks, even in countries with flexible exchange rates. This paper argues that if the zero bound constraint is binding and policy lacks an effective ?forward guidance? mechanism, a flexible exchange rate system may be inferior to a single currency area. With monetary policy constrained by the zero bound, under flexible exchange rates, the exchange rate exacerbates the impact of shocks. Remarkably, this may hold true even if only a subset of countries are constrained by the zero bound, and other countries freely adjust their interest rates under an optimal targeting rule. In a zero lower bound environment, in order for a regime of multiple currencies to dominate a single currency, it is necessary to have effective forward guidance in monetary policy.
AUTHORS: Cook, David; Devereux, Michael B.
DATE: 2014-09-01

Working Paper
Trade Uncertainty and Income Inequality
This paper examines the relationship between trade uncertainty and income inequality. In countries where only a small share of the population is educated, an increase in trade uncertainty is associated with a significant increase in income inequality. As education of the population increases the relationship between trade uncertainty and income inequality becomes more muted. Trade uncertainty has no significant effect on income inequality in countries that are world leaders in education. Developing countries that want to reduce income inequality arising from trade uncertainty should therefore consider further improving their education system.
AUTHORS: Vespignani, Joaquin L.; Brueckner, Markus
DATE: 2017-03-01

Working Paper
Trends and cycles in China's macroeconomy
We make four contributions in this paper. First, we provide a core of macroeconomic time series usable for systematic research on China. Second, we document, through various empirical methods, the robust findings about striking patterns of trend and cycle. Third, we build a theoretical model that accounts for these facts. Fourth, the model's mechanism and assumptions are corroborated by institutional details, disaggregated data, and banking time series, all of which are distinctive Chinese characteristics. We argue that preferential credit policy for promoting heavy industries accounts for the unusual cyclical patterns as well as the post-1990s economic transition featured by the persistently rising investment rate, the declining labor income share, and a growing foreign surplus. The departure of our theoretical model from standard ones offers a constructive framework for studying China's modern macroeconomy.
AUTHORS: Chang, Chun; Chen, Kaiji; Waggoner, Daniel F.; Zha, Tao
DATE: 2015-06-01

Working Paper
The impact of medical and nursing home expenses and social insurance
We consider a life-cycle model with idiosyncratic risk in earnings, out-of-pocket medical and nursing home expenses, and survival. Partial insurance is available through welfare, Medicaid, and social security. Calibrating the model to the United States, we show that (1) savings for old-age, out-of-pocket expenses account for 13.5 percent of aggregate wealth, half of which is due to nursing home expenses; (2) cross-sectional out-of-pocket nursing home risk accounts for 3 percent of aggregate wealth and substantially slows down wealth decumulation at older ages; (3) the impact of medical and nursing home expenses on private savings varies significantly across the lifetime earnings distribution; and (4) all newborns would benefit if social insurance for nursing home stays was made more generous.
AUTHORS: Kopecky, Karen A.; Koreshkova, Tatyana
DATE: 2010

Working Paper
The post-crisis slump in the Euro Area and the US: evidence from an estimated three-region DSGE model
The global financial crisis (2008-09) led to a sharp contraction in both Euro Area (EA) and US real activity, and was followed by a long-lasting slump. However, the post-crisis adjustment in the EA and the US shows striking differences?in particular, the EA slump has been markedly more protracted. We estimate a three-region (EA, US and Rest of World) New Keynesian DSGE model (using quarterly data for 1999-2014) to quantify the drivers of the divergent EA and US adjustment paths. Our results suggest that financial shocks were key drivers of the 2008-09 Great Recession, for both the EA and the US. The post-2009 slump in the EA mainly reflects a combination of adverse aggregate demand and supply shocks, in particular lower productivity growth, and persistent adverse shocks to capital investment, linked to the continuing poor health of the EA financial system. Adverse financial shocks were less persistent for the US. The financial shocks identified by the model are consistent with observed performance indicators of the EA and US banking systems.
AUTHORS: Roeger, Werner; Pataracchia, Beatrice; Ratto, Marco; Raciborski, Rafal; Vogel, Lukas; Kollmann, Robert
DATE: 2016-02-29

Working Paper
Sharing the burden: monetary and fiscal responses to a world liquidity trap
With integrated trade and financial markets, a collapse in aggregate demand in a large country can cause "natural real interest rates" to fall below zero in all countries, giving rise to a global "liquidity trap." This paper explores the optimal policy response to this type of shock, when governments cooperate on both fiscal and monetary policy. Adjusting to a large negative demand shock requires raising world aggregate demand, as well as redirecting demand towards the source (home) country. ; The key feature of demand shocks in a liquidity trap is that relative prices respond perversely. A negative shock causes an appreciation of the home terms of trade, exacerbating the slump in the home country. At the zero bound, the home country cannot counter this shock. Because of this, it may be optimal for the foreign policymaker to raise interest rates. ; Strikingly, the foreign country may choose to have a positive policy interest rate, even though its natural real interest rate is below zero. A combination of relatively tight monetary policy in the foreign country combined with substantial fiscal expansion in the home country achieves the desired mix in terms of the level and composition of world expenditure. Thus, in response to conditions generating a global liquidity trap, there is a critical mutual interaction between monetary and fiscal policy.
AUTHORS: Devereux, Michael B.; Cook, David
DATE: 2011

Working Paper
Fiscal deficits, debt, and monetary policy in a liquidity trap
The macroeconomic response to the economic crisis has revived old debates about the usefulness of monetary and fiscal policy in fighting recessions. Without the ability to further lower interest rates, policy authorities in many countries have turned to expansionary fiscal policies. Recent literature argues that government spending may be very effective in such environments. But a critical element of the stimulus packages in all countries was the use of deficit financing and tax reductions. This paper explores the role of government debt and deficits in an economy constrained by the zero bound on nominal interest rates. Given that the liquidity trap is generated by a large increase in the desire to save on the part of the private sector, the wealth effects of government deficits can provide a critical macroeconomic response to this. Government spending financed by deficits may be far more expansionary than that financed by tax increases in such an environment. In a liquidity trap, tax cuts may be much more effective than during normal times. Finally, monetary policies aimed at directly increasing monetary aggregates may be effective, even if interest rates are unchanged.
AUTHORS: Devereux, Michael B.
DATE: 2010

Conference Paper
Crowding out redefined: the role of reserve accumulation
It is well understood that investment serves as a shock absorber at the time of crisis. The duration of the drag on investment, however, is perplexing. For the nine Asian economies we focus on in this study, average investment/GDP is about 6 percentage points lower during 1998-2012 than its average level in the decade before the crisis; if China and India are excluded, the estimated decline exceeds 9 percent. We document how in the wake of crisis home bias in finance usually increases markedly as public and private sectors look inward when external financing becomes prohibitively costly, altogether impossible, or just plain undesirable from a financial stability perspective. Also, previous studies have not made a connection between the sustained reserve accumulation and the persistent and significantly lower levels of investment in the region. Put differently, reserve accumulation involves an official institution (i.e., the central bank) funneling domestic saving abroad and thus competing with domestic borrowers in the market for loanable funds. We suggest a broader definition of crowding out, driven importantly by increased home bias in finance and by official capital outflows. We present evidence from Asia to support this interpretation.
AUTHORS: Tashiro, Takeshi; Reinhart, Carmen M.
DATE: 2013-11

Working Paper
Trading down and the business cycle
The authors document two facts: First, during recessions consumers trade down in the quality of the goods and services they consume. Second, the production of low-quality goods is less labor intensive than that of high-quality goods. Therefore, when households trade down, labor demand falls, increasing the severity of recessions. The authors find that the trading-down phenomenon accounts for a substantial fraction of the fall in U.S. employment in the recent recession. They study two business cycle models that embed quality choice and find that the presence of quality choice magnifies the response of these economies to real and monetary shocks.
AUTHORS: Rebelo, Sergio; Wong, Arlene; Jaimovich, Nir
DATE: 2015-11-01

Working Paper
The Postwar Conquest of the Home Ownership Dream
Post-World War II witnessed the largest housing boom in recent history. This paper develops a quantitative equilibrium model of tenure choice to analyze the key determinants in the co-movement between home-ownership and house prices over the period 1940-1960. The parameterized model matches key features and is capable of accounting for the observed housing boom. The key driver in understanding this boom is an asymmetric productivity change that favors the goods sector relative to the construction sector. Other factors such as demographics, income risk, and government policy are important determinants of the homeownership rate but have small effect on house prices.
AUTHORS: Chambers, Matthew; Garriga, Carlos; Schlagenhauf, Don E.
DATE: 2016-04-12

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