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Jel Classification:E32 

Working Paper
The Nonlinear Effects of Uncertainty Shocks

We consider the effects of uncertainty shocks in a nonlinear VAR that allows uncertainty to have amplification effects. When uncertainty is relatively low, fluctuations in uncertainty have small, linear effects. In periods of high uncertainty, the effect of a further increase in uncertainty is magnified. We find that uncertainty shocks in this environment have a more pronounced effect on real economic variables. We also conduct counterfactual experiments to determine the channels through which uncertainty acts. Uncertainty propagates through both the household consumption channel and through ...
Working Papers , Paper 2018-035

Journal Article
The Nonlinear Effects of Uncertainty Shocks

We consider the effects of uncertainty shocks in a nonlinear VAR that allows uncertainty to have amplification effects. When uncertainty is relatively low, fluctuations in uncertainty have small, linear effects. In periods of high uncertainty, the effect of a further increase in uncertainty is magnified. We find that uncertainty shocks in this environment have a more pronounced effect on real economic variables. We also conduct counterfactual experiments to determine the channels through which uncertainty acts. Uncertainty propagates through both the household consumption channel and through ...
Working Papers , Volume 24 , Issue 4

Working Paper
Estimates of r* Consistent with a Supply-Side Structure and a Monetary Policy Rule for the U.S. Economy

We estimate the natural rate of interest (r*) using a semi-structural model of the U.S. economy that jointly characterizes the trend and cyclical factors of key macroeconomic variables such as output, the unemployment rate, inflation, and short- and long-term interest rates. We specify a monetary policy rule and an equation that characterizes the 10-year Treasury yield to exploit the information provided by both interest rates to infer r*. However, the use of a monetary policy rule with a sample that spans the Great Recession and its aftermath poses a challenge because of the effective lower ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2020-085

Working Paper
Income in the Off-Season: Household Adaptation to Yearly Work Interruptions

Joblessness is highly seasonal. To analyze how households adapt to seasonal joblessness, we introduce a measure of seasonal work interruptions premised on the idea that a seasonal worker will tend to exit employment around the same time each year. We show that an excess share of prime-age US workers experience recurrent separations spaced exactly 12 months apart. These separations coincide with aggregate seasonal downturns and are concentrated in seasonally volatile industries. Examining workers most prone to seasonal work interruptions, we find that these workers incur large earnings losses ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2020-084

Working Paper
Average Is Good Enough: Average-Inflation Targeting and the ELB

The Great Recession and current pandemic have focused attention on the constraint on nominal interest rates from the effective lower bound. This has renewed interest in monetary policies that embed makeup strategies, such as price-level or average-inflation targeting. This paper examines the properties of average-inflation targeting in a two-agent New Keynesian (TANK) model in which a fraction of firms have adaptive expectations. We examine the optimal degree of history dependence under average-inflation targeting and find it to be relatively short for business cycle shocks of standard ...
Working Paper Series , Paper 2020-21

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

Given lags in official data releases, economists have studied "alternative data" measures of business exit resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Such measures are difficult to understand without historical context, so we review official data on business exit in recent decades. Business exit is common in the U.S., with about 7.5 percent of firms exiting annually in recent years, and is countercyclical (particularly recently). Both the high level and the cyclicality of exit are driven by very small firms. We explore a range of alternative measures and indicators of business exit, including ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2020-089

Working Paper
Measuring Uncertainty and Its Effects in the COVID-19 Era

We measure the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak on macroeconomic and financial uncertainty, and we assess the consequences of the latter for key economic variables. We use a large, heteroskedastic vector autoregression (VAR) in which the error volatilities share two common factors, interpreted as macro and financial uncertainty, in addition to idiosyncratic components. Macro and financial uncertainty are allowed to contemporaneously affect the macroeconomy and financial conditions, with changes in the common component of the volatilities providing contemporaneous identifying information on ...
Working Papers , Paper 202032

Working Paper
The Distributional Effects of COVID-19 and Optimal Mitigation Policies

This paper develops a quantitative heterogeneous agent–life cycle model with a fully integrated epidemiological model in which economic decisions affect the spread of COVID-19 and, conversely, the virus affects economic decisions. The calibrated model is used to study the distributional consequences and effectiveness of two mitigation policies: a stay-at-home subsidy that subsidizes reduced hours worked and a stay-at-home order that limits outside hours. First, the stay-at-home subsidy is preferred because it reduces deaths by more and output by less, leading to a larger average welfare ...
Globalization Institute Working Papers , Paper 400

Working Paper
Spousal Labor Supply Response to Job Displacement and Implications for Optimal Transfers

I document a small spousal earnings response to the job displacement of the family head. The response is even smaller in recessions, when additional insurance is most valuable. I investigate whether the small response is an outcome of the crowding-out effects of existing government transfers, using a model where labor supply elasticities with respect to transfers are in line with microeconomic estimates both in aggregate and across subpopulations. Counterfactual experiments reveal that generous transfers in recessions discourage the spousal labor supply significantly. I then show that the ...
Working Papers , Paper 2020-020

Report
Latent Heterogeneity in the Marginal Propensity to Consume

We estimate the distribution of marginal propensities to consume (MPCs) using a novel clustering approach that generalizes the fuzzy C-means algorithm to regression settings. We apply the estimator to the 2008 stimulus payments, exploiting the randomized timing of disbursements, and find considerable heterogeneity in MPCs that varies by consumption good. We document observable determinants of this heterogeneity, without imposing ex ante assumptions on such relationships; MPCs correlate positively with income and the average propensity to consume, but much heterogeneity remains unexplained. ...
Staff Reports , Paper 902

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