Technological progress, the \\"user cost of money,\\" and the real output of banks
Financial institutions provide their customers a variety of unpriced services and cover their costs through interest margins - the interest rates they receive on assets are generally higher than the rates they pay on liabilities. In particular, banks pay below-public-market interest rates on deposits while charging above-public-market rates on loans. Various authors have suggested that this situation allows one to measure the real quantity of financial services provided without explicit prices as proportional to the real stocks of financial assets held by households. We present a general-equilibrium Baumol-Tobin model where households need bank services to purchase consumption goods. Bank deposits are the single medium of exchange in the economy. The model shows that financial services are proportional to the stocks of assets only under restrictive conditions, including the assumption that either all technologies are constant or banks' technology grows at the same rate as technology in the nonfinancial economy while relative technologies of other financial institutions possibly decline. In contrast, measuring real financial output by directly counting the flow of actual services is a robust method unaffected by unbalanced technological change.
AUTHORS: Basu, Susanto; Wang, J. Christina
Identifying Structural VARs with a Proxy Variable and a Test for a Weak Proxy
This paper develops a simple estimator to identify structural shocks in vector autoregressions (VARs) by using a proxy variable that is correlated with the structural shock of interest but uncorrelated with other structural shocks. When the proxy variable is weak, modeled as local to zero, the estimator is inconsistent and converges to a distribution. This limiting distribution is characterized, and the estimator is shown to be asymptotically biased when the proxy variable is weak. The F statistic from the projection of the proxy variable onto the VAR errors can be used to test for a weak proxy variable, and the critical values for different VAR dimensions, levels of asymptotic bias, and levels of statistical significance are provided. An important feature of this F statistic is that its asymptotic distribution does not depend on parameters that need to be estimated.
AUTHORS: Lunsford, Kurt Graden
Rebuilding after Disaster Strikes: How Local Lenders Aid in the Recovery
Using detailed employment data on firm age and size, I show that the presence of local finance improves job retention and creation at young and small firms. I use natural disasters and regulatory guidance to disentangle the effects of credit supply and demand. I find that an additional standard deviation of local finance offsets the negative effects of the disaster and can lead to 1 to 2% higher employment growth at either young or small firms. Banks increase lending but are not borrowing against future lending, nor do they experience changes in default rates. These findings suggest that local lenders play an important and necessary role in job creation in the economy.
AUTHORS: Cortes, Kristle Romero
Firm Entry and Exit and Aggregate Growth
Applying the Foster, Haltiwanger, and Krizan (FHK) (2001) decomposition to plant-level manufacturing data from Chile and Korea, we find that the entry and exit of plants account for a larger fraction of aggregate productivity growth during periods of fast GDP growth. Studies of other countries confirm this empirical relationship. To analyze this relationship, we develop a simple model of firm entry and exit based on Hopenhayn (1992) in which there are analytical expressions for the FHK decomposition. When we introduce reforms that reduce entry costs or reduce barriers to technology adoption into a calibrated model, we find that the entry and exit terms in the FHK decomposition become more important as GDP grows rapidly, just as they do in the data from Chile and Korea.
AUTHORS: Asturias, Jose; Ruhl, Kim J.; Kehoe, Timothy J.; Hur, Sewon
High-Skilled Services and Development in China
We document that the employment share of high-skill-intensive services is much lower in China than in countries with similar gross domestic product (GDP) per capita. We build a model of structural change with goods and low- and high-skill-intensive services to account for this observation. We find that large distortions limit the size of high-skill-intensive services in China. If they were removed, both high-skill-intensive services and GDP per capita would increase considerably. We document a strong presence of state-owned enterprises in high-skill-intensive services and argue that this presence leads to important distortions.
AUTHORS: Fang, Lei; Herrendorf, Berthold
Why has the cyclicality of productivity changed?: what does it mean?
Historically, U.S. labor productivity (output per hour) and total factor productivity (TFP) rose in booms and fell in recessions. Different models of business cycles explain this procyclicality differently. Traditional Keynesian models relied on "factor hoarding," that is, variations in how intensively labor and capital were utilized over the business cycle. Real business cycle (RBC) models instead posit that procyclical technology shocks drive the business cycle. Since the mid-1980s, however, the procyclicality of productivity has waned. TFP has been roughly acyclical with respect to inputs, whereas labor productivity has become significantly countercyclical. The slow pace of productivity growth after 2010, when the post-Great- Recession recovery gained a firm footing, is broadly consistent with these patterns. In this paper, the authors seek to understand empirically the forces behind the changing cyclicality of productivity.
AUTHORS: Fernald, John G.; Wang, J. Christina
The Great Recession, entrepreneurship, and productivity performance
In recent years, it is argued, the level of entrepreneurial activity in the United States has declined, causing concern because of its potential macroeconomic implications. In particular, it is feared that a lower rate of firm creation may be associated with lower productivity growth and, hence, lower economic growth in the coming years. This paper studies the issue, focusing on the dynamics of entrepreneurship and productivity around the time of the Great Recession. The author looks first at the recent evolution of alternative measures of entrepreneurship and of productivity, and then analyzes the relationship between the two concepts.
AUTHORS: Diez, Federico J.
Equity Regulation and U.S. Venture Capital Investment
There is a growing consensus that the long-run per capita growth rate of the U.S. economy has drifted lower since the early 2000s, consistent with a perceived slowdown in business dynamism. One factor that may have contributed to this is a downshift in venture capital investment and its failure to recover in line with stock prices, as pre-2003 patterns would suggest. Critics have argued that this is associated with the increased regulatory burden for publically traded firms to comply with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX). There is inconclusive evidence of SOX deterring firms from becoming publically traded as indicated by IPO activity, a proxy reflecting several factors that may not be as tied to innovation as venture capital. Earlier tests of SOX?s impact on venture capital activity, which tended to focus on cross-sectional evidence, were hampered by a short time-series sample following the Internet-stock bust of the early 2000s. Taking advantage of the large-sized rise, fall, and recovery in stock prices since then, this study assesses whether the time-series behavior of venture capital investment shifted following SOX. We find evidence of a time-series break in the middle of our sample, consistent with the passage of SOX. Estimates indicate that the slower post-SOX pace of venture capital investment is mainly attributed to a reduced elasticity of such investment with respect to stock prices rather than to a simple downshift in the level of investment. Our estimates suggest that a cost-benefit analysis of SOX could be worthwhile, especially given concerns that the long-run growth rate of U.S. productivity and GDP has been unusually sluggish and the emerging consensus that excessive debt financing?not equity financing?is more tied to the subset of financial crises associated with severe macroeconomic downturns.
AUTHORS: Atkinson, Tyler; Duca, John V.
Markups and misallocation with trade and heterogeneous firms
With non-homothetic preferences, a monopolistic competition equilibrium is inefficient in the way inputs are allocated towards production. This paper quantifies a gains from trade component that is present only when reallocation is properly measured in a setting with heterogeneous firms that charge variable markups. Due to variable markups, reallocations initiated by aggregate shocks impact allocative efficiency depending on the adjustment of the market power distribution. My measurement compares real income growth with the hypothetical case of no misallocation in quantities. Using firm and industry-level data from Chile during a period with large terms of trade gains, I find that cost reductions are associated with losses in allocative efficiency because firms pass-through measured productivity gains into markups. From industry-year variation, there is also evidence that industries that import a larger share of their inputs become more misallocated as a result of exchange rate appreciations compared to open sectors whose output competition becomes fiercer.
AUTHORS: Weinberger, Ariel
The Outlook for U.S. Labor-Quality Growth
Over the past 15 years, labor-quality growth has been very strong?defying nearly all earlier projections?and has added around 0.5 percentage points to an otherwise modest U.S. productivity picture. Going forward, labor quality is likely to add considerably less and may even be a drag on productivity growth in the medium term. Using a variety of methods, we project that potential labor-quality growth in the longer run (7 to 10 years out) is likely to fall in the range of 0.1 to 0.25 percent per year. In the medium term, labor-quality growth could be lower or even negative, should employment rates of low-skilled workers make a cyclical rebound towards pre-recession levels. The main uncertainties in the longer run are whether the secular decline in employment of low-skilled workers continues and whether the Great Recession pickup in educational attainment represents the start of a new boom or is simply a transitory reaction to a poor economy.
AUTHORS: Bosler, Canyon; Hobijn, Bart; Fernald, John G.; Daly, Mary C.