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Jel Classification:E32 

Discussion Paper
Fight the Pandemic, Save the Economy: Lessons from the 1918 Flu

The COVID-19 outbreak has sparked urgent questions about the impact of pandemics, and associated countermeasures, on the real economy. Policymakers are in uncharted territory, with little guidance on what the expected economic fallout will be and how the crisis should be managed. In this blog post, we use insights from a recent research paper to discuss two sets of questions. First, what are the real economic effects of a pandemic—and are these effects temporary or persistent? Second, how does the local public health response affect the economic severity of the pandemic? In particular, do ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20200327

Discussion Paper
Monitoring Real Activity in Real Time: The Weekly Economic Index

Economists are well-practiced at assessing real activity based on familiar aggregate time series, like the unemployment rate, industrial production, or GDP growth. However, these series represent monthly or quarterly averages of economic conditions, and are only available at a considerable lag, after the month or quarter ends. When the economy hits sudden headwinds, like the COVID-19 pandemic, conditions can evolve rapidly. How can we monitor the high-frequency evolution of the economy in “real time”?
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20200330b

Learning the fiscal theory of the price level: some consequences of debt management policy

This paper examines how the scale and composition of public debt can affect economies that implement a combination of ?passive? monetary policy and ?active? fiscal policy. This policy configuration is argued to be of both historical and contemporary interest in the cases of the U.S. and Japanese economies. It is shown that higher average levels and moderate average maturities of debt can induce macroeconomic instability under a range of policies specified as simple rules. However, interest rate pegs in combination with active fiscal policies almost always ensure macroeconomic stability. This ...
Staff Reports , Paper 515

Online Estimation of DSGE Models

This paper illustrates the usefulness of sequential Monte Carlo (SMC) methods in approximating DSGE model posterior distributions. We show how the tempering schedule can be chosen adaptively, explore the benefits of an SMC variant we call generalized tempering for ?online? estimation, and provide examples of multimodal posteriors that are well captured by SMC methods. We then use the online estimation of the DSGE model to compute pseudo-out-of-sample density forecasts of DSGE models with and without financial frictions and document the benefits of conditioning DSGE model forecasts on nowcasts ...
Staff Reports , Paper 893

Rational inattention in hiring decisions

We provide an information-based theory of matching efficiency fluctuations. Rationally inattentive firms have limited capacity to process information and cannot perfectly identify suitable applicants. During recessions, higher losses from hiring unsuitable workers cause firms to be more selective in hiring. When firms cannot obtain sufficient information about applicants, they err on the side of caution and accept fewer applicants to minimize losses from hiring unsuitable workers. Pro-cyclical acceptance rates drive a wedge between meeting and hiring rates, explaining fluctuations in matching ...
Staff Reports , Paper 878

Liquidity policies and systemic risk

The growth of wholesale-funded credit intermediation has motivated liquidity regulations. We analyze a dynamic stochastic general equilibrium model in which liquidity and capital regulations interact with the supply of risk-free assets. In the model, the endogenously time-varying tightness of liquidity and capital constraints generates intermediaries? leverage cycle, influencing the pricing of risk and the level of risk in the economy. Our analysis focuses on liquidity policies? implications for household welfare. Within the context of our model, liquidity requirements are preferable to ...
Staff Reports , Paper 661

Fiscal foundations of inflation: imperfect knowledge

This paper proposes a theory of the fiscal foundations of inflation based on imperfect knowledge and learning. The theory is similar in spirit to, but distinct from, unpleasant monetarist arithmetic and the fiscal theory of the price level. Because the assumption of imperfect knowledge breaks Ricardian equivalence, details of fiscal policy, such as the average scale and composition of the public debt, matter for inflation. As a result, fiscal policy constrains the efficacy of monetary policy. Heavily indebted economies with debt maturity structures observed in many countries require ...
Staff Reports , Paper 649

Money, credit, monetary policy, and the business cycle in the euro area: what has changed since the crisis?

This paper studies the relationship between the business cycle and financial intermediation in the euro area. We establish stylized facts and study their stability during the global financial crisis and the European sovereign debt crisis. Long-term interest rates have been exceptionally high and long-term loans and deposits exceptionally low since the Lehman collapse. Instead, short-term interest rates and short-term loans and deposits did not show abnormal dynamics in the course of the financial and sovereign debt crisis.
Staff Reports , Paper 885

Good news is bad news: leverage cycles and sudden stops

We show that a model with imperfectly forecastable changes in future productivity and an occasionally binding collateral constraint can match a set of stylized facts about ?sudden stop? events. ?Good? news about future productivity raises leverage during times of expansion, increasing the probability that the constraint binds, and a sudden stop occurs, in future periods. The economy exhibits a boom period in the run-up to the sudden stop, with output, consumption, and investment all above trend, consistent with the data. During the sudden stop, the nonlinear effects of the constraint induce ...
Staff Reports , Paper 738

Grown-up business cycles

We document two striking facts about U.S. firm dynamics and interpret their significance for employment dynamics. The first is the dramatic decline in firm entry and the second is the gradual shift of employment toward older firms since 1980. We show that despite these trends, the lifecycle dynamics of firms and their business cycle properties have remained virtually unchanged. Consequently, aging is the delayed effect of accumulating startup deficits. Together, the decline in the employment contribution of startups and the shift of employment toward more mature firms contributed to the ...
Staff Reports , Paper 707


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