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Jel Classification:H6 

The side effects of safe asset creation

We present an incomplete markets model to understand the costs and benefits of increasing government debt in a low interest rate environment. Higher risk increases the demand for safe assets, lowering the natural rate of interest below zero, constraining monetary policy at the zero lower bound, and raising unemployment. Higher government debt satiates the demand for safe assets, raising the natural rate and restoring full employment. While this permanently lowers investment, a policymaker committed to low inflation has no alternative. Higher inflation targets, instead, permit both full ...
Staff Reports , Paper 842

Working Paper
The Fiscal Theory of the Price Level in a World of Low Interest Rates

A central equation for the fiscal theory of the price level (FTPL) is the government budget constraint (or "government valuation equation"), which equates the real value of government debt to the present value of fiscal surpluses. In the past decade, the governments of most developed economies have paid very low interest rates, and there are many other periods in the past in which this has been the case. In this paper, we revisit the implications of the FTPL in a world where the rate of return on government debt may be below the growth rate of the economy, considering different sources for ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2017-25

Working Paper
Optimal Public Debt with Life Cycle Motives

Public debt can be optimal in standard incomplete market models with infinitely lived agents, since the associated capital crowd-out induces a higher interest rate. The higher interest rate encourages individuals to save and, hence, better self-insure against idiosyncratic labor earnings risk. Even though individual savings behavior is a crucial determinant of the optimality of public debt, this class of economies abstracts from empirically observed life cycle savings patterns. Thus, this paper studies how incorporating a life cycle affects optimal public debt. We find that while the ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2018-028

Working Paper
Determinants of Expected Returns at Public Defined-Benefit Pension Plans

Estimated expected returns are important for pension plans, as they influence many plan characteristics including required asset levels, annual contributions, and the extent of plan under- or overfunding. Yet, there seems to be little prior literature on the factors influencing these estimated future returns. In an attempt to fill this gap, this paper presents the results of a panel analysis of data on the determinants of such returns used by US public defined-benefit (DB) pension plans for the period 2001?2011. As expected, we find that real return estimates by DB public pension funds are ...
Working Papers (Old Series) , Paper 1508

Working Paper
Debt, inflation and growth robust estimation of long-run effects in dynamic panel data models

This paper investigates the long-run effects of public debt and inflation on economic growth. Our contribution is both theoretical and empirical. On the theoretical side, we develop a cross-sectionally augmented distributed lag (CS-DL) approach to the estimation of long-run effects in dynamic heterogeneous panel data models with cross-sectionally dependent errors. The relative merits of the CS-DL approach and other existing approaches in the literature are discussed and illustrated with small sample evidence obtained by means of Monte Carlo simulations. On the empirical side, using data on a ...
Globalization Institute Working Papers , Paper 162

Working Paper
Is there a debt-threshold effect on output growth?

This paper studies the long-run impact of public debt expansion on economic growth and investigates whether the debt-growth relation varies with the level of indebtedness. Our contribution is both theoretical and empirical. On the theoretical side, we develop tests for threshold effects in the context of dynamic heterogeneous panel data models with crosssectionally dependent errors and illustrate, by means of Monte Carlo experiments, that they perform well in small samples. On the empirical side, using data on a sample of 40 countries (grouped into advanced and developing) over the 1965-2010 ...
Globalization Institute Working Papers , Paper 245

Working Paper
Identifying Global and National Output and Fiscal Policy Shocks Using a GVAR

The paper contributes to the growing Global VAR (GVAR) literature by showing how global and national shocks can be identified within a GVAR framework. The usefulness of the proposed approach is illustrated in an application to the analysis of the interactions between public debt and real output growth in a multi-country setting, and the results are compared to those obtained from standard single-country VAR analysis. We find that on average (across countries) global shocks explain about one-third of the long-horizon forecast error variance of output growth, and about one-fifth of the long-run ...
Globalization Institute Working Papers , Paper 351

Journal Article
Pricing government credit: a new method for determining government credit risk exposure

A growing debate centers on how best to recognize (and price) government interventions in the capital markets. This study applies a method for estimating and valuing the government?s exposure to credit risk through its loan and guarantee programs. The authors use the mortgage portfolios of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as examples of how policymakers could employ this method in pricing the government?s program credit risk. Building on the cost of capital approach, the method captures each program?s possible tail loss over and above its expected value. The authors then use a capital allocation ...
Economic Policy Review , Issue 24-3 , Pages 41-62

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, ...
Proceedings , Issue Nov , Pages 1-43


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