How Should Unemployment Insurance Vary over the Business Cycle?
We study optimal unemployment insurance (UI) over the business cycle using a heterogeneous agent job search model with aggregate risk and incomplete markets. We validate the model-implied micro and macro labor market elasticities to changes in UI generosity against existing estimates, and provide an explanation for divergent empirical findings. We show that generating the observed demographic differences between UI recipients and non-recipients is critical in determining the magnitudes of these elasticities. We find that the optimal policy features countercyclical replacement rates with ...
Accounting for Productivity Dispersion over the Business Cycle
This paper presents accounting decompositions of changes in aggregate labor and capital productivity. Our simplest decomposition breaks changes in an aggregate productivity ratio into two components: A mean component, which captures common changes to firm factor productivity ratios, and a dispersion component, which captures changes in the variance and higher order moments of their distribution. In standard models with heterogeneous firms and frictions to firm input decisions, the dispersion component is a function of changes in the second and higher moments of the log of marginal revenue ...
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 earnings losses are larger and additional insurance is most valuable. I investigate whether the small response is an outcome of the crowding-out effects of government transfers. To accomplish this, I use an incomplete markets model with family labor supply and aggregate fluctuations where predicted spousal labor supply elasticities with respect to transfers are in line with microeconomic estimates both in aggregate and across subpopulations. Counterfactual ...
Nowcasting Business Cycles: a Bayesian Approach to Dynamic Heterogeneous Factor Models
We develop a framework for measuring and monitoring business cycles in real time. Following a long tradition in macroeconometrics, inference is based on a variety of indicators of economic activity, treated as imperfect measures of an underlying index of business cycle conditions. We extend existing approaches by permitting for heterogenous lead-lag patterns of the various indicators along the business cycles. The framework is well suited for high-frequency monitoring of current economic conditions in real time - nowcasting - since inference can be conducted in presence of mixed frequency ...
The Alpha Beta Gamma of the Labor Market
Based on patterns of employment transitions, we identify three different types of workers in the US labor market: α’s β’s and γ’s. Workers of type α make up over half of all workers, are most likely to remain on the same job for more than 2 years and, when they become unemployed, typically find a new job within 1 quarter. Workers of type γ comprise less than one-fifth of workers, have a low probability of staying on the same job for more than 2 years and, when they become unemployed, face a high probability of remaining jobless for more than 1 year. Workers of type β are in ...
Innovation, Productivity, and Monetary Policy
To what extent can monetary policy impact business innovation and productivity growth? We use a New Keynesian model with endogenous total factor productivity (TFP) to quantify the TFP losses due to the constraints on monetary policy imposed by the zero lower bound (ZLB) and the TFP benefits of tightening monetary policy more slowly than currently anticipated. In the model, monetary policy influences firms incentives to develop and implement innovations. We use evidence on the dynamic effects of R&D and monetary shocks to estimate key parameters and assess model performance. The model suggests ...
Okun Revisited: Who Benefits Most from a Strong Economy
Previous research has shown that the labor market experiences of less advantaged groups are more cyclically sensitive than the labor market experiences of more advantaged groups; in other words, less advantaged groups experience a high-beta version of the aggregate fluctuations in the labor market. For example, when the unemployment rate of whites increases by 1 percentage point, the unemployment rates of African Americans and Hispanics rise by well more than 1 percentage point, on average. This behavior is observed across other labor-market indicators, and is roughly reversed when the ...
The Richmond Fed Manufacturing and Service Sector Surveys: A User's Guide
The Richmond Fed conducts monthly surveys of business conditions in the manufacturing and service sectors of the Fifth Federal Reserve District. This article provides background information on these surveys and on other manufacturing and service sector surveys.The Richmond Fed conducts monthly surveys of business conditions in the manufacturing and service sectors of the Fifth Federal Reserve District. This article provides background information on these surveys and on other manufacturing and service sector surveys.
What Inventory Behavior Tells Us About How Business Cycles Have Changed
Beginning in the mid-1980s, the nature of U.S. business cycles changed in important ways, as made evident by distinctive shifts in the comovement and relative volatilities of key economic aggregates. These include labor productivity, hours, output, and inventories. Unlike the widely documented change in absolute volatility over that period, known as the Great Moderation, these shifts in comovement and relative volatilities persist into the Great Recession. To understand these changes, we exploit the fact that inventory data are informative about sources of business cycles. Specifically, they ...
Firm Dynamics and the Origins of Aggregate Fluctuations
What drives aggregate fluctuations? I test the granular hypothesis, according to which the largest firms in the economy drive aggregate dynamics, by estimating a dynamic factor model with firm-level data and controlling for the propagation of firm-level shocks using multi-firm growth model. Each time series, the growth rate of sales of a specific firm, is decomposed in an unobserved common macroeconomic component and in a residual that I interpret as an idiosyncratic firm-level component. The empirical results suggest that, once I control for aggregate shocks, idiosyncratic shocks do not ...