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Keywords:Business cycle 

Working Paper
Mortgage Borrowing and the Boom-Bust Cycle in Consumption and Residential Investment

This paper studies the transmission of the major shocks in the U.S. housing market in the 2000s to consumption and residential investment. Using geographically disaggregated data, I show that residential investment is more responsive to these shocks than consumption, as measured by elasticities and the implied contributions to GDP growth. I develop a structural life-cycle model featuring multiple types of housing investment to understand the large responses of residential investment. Consistent with the microdata, the model generates lumpy debt accumulation, lumpy housing investment and a ...
Working Papers , Paper 2103

Working Paper
Reconciling Unemployment Claims with Job Losses in the First Months of the COVID-19 Crisis

In the spring of 2020, many observers relied heavily on weekly initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits (UI) to estimate contemporaneous reductions in US employment induced by the COVID-19 pandemic. Though UI claims provided a timely, high-frequency window into mounting layoffs, the cumulative volume of initial claims filed through the May reference week substantially exceeded realized reductions in payroll employment and likely contributed to the historically large discrepancy between consensus expectations of further April-to-May job losses and the strong job gains reflected in ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2020-055

Discussion Paper
Immigrants’ employment outcomes over the business cycle

Immigrants have figured prominently in U.S. economic growth for decades, but the recent recession hit them hard. Immigrants? labor market outcomes began deteriorating even before the recession was officially under way, largely as a result of the housing bust. An analysis of employment and unemployment rates over the past fifteen years shows that immigrants? labor market outcomes are more cyclical than those of natives. The greater cyclicality of immigrants? employment and unemployment is concentrated among less-educated immigrants, but college-educated immigrants nonetheless have ...
Staff Papers , Issue Sep

Working Paper
The Unemployed with Jobs and without Jobs

Potential workers are classified as unemployed if they seek work but are not working. The unemployed population contains two groups---those with jobs and those without jobs. Those with jobs are on furlough or temporary layoff. This group expanded tremendously in April 2020. They wait out periods of non-work with the understanding that their jobs still exist and that they will be recalled. We show that the resulting temporary-layoff unemployment dissipates quickly following a spike. Potential workers without jobs constitute what we call jobless unemployment. Shocks that elevate jobless ...
Working Paper Series , Paper 2021-17

Working Paper
Why Has the US Economy Recovered So Consistently from Every Recession in the Past 70 Years?

It is a remarkable fact about the historical US business cycle that, after unemployment reached its peak in a recession, and a recovery began, the annual reduction in the unemployment rate was stable at around 0.55 percentage points per year. The economy seems to have had an irresistible force toward restoring full employment. There was high variation in monetary and fiscal policy, and in productivity and labor-force growth, but little variation in the rate of decline of unemployment. We explore models of the labor market's self-recovery that imply gradual working off of unemployment ...
Working Paper Series , Paper 20

Working Paper
Macro Risks and the Term Structure of Interest Rates

We use non-Gaussian features in U.S. macroeconomic data to identify aggregate supply and demand shocks while imposing minimal economic assumptions. Recessions in the 1970s and 1980s were driven primarily by supply shocks, later recessions were driven primarily by demand shocks, and the Great Recession exhibited large negative shocks to both demand and supply. We estimate "macro risk factors" that drive "bad" (negatively skewed) and "good" (positively skewed) variation for supply and demand shocks. The Great Moderation is mostly accounted for by a reduction in good variance. In contrast, ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2017-058

Working Paper
Can Intangible Capital Explain Cyclical Movements in the Labor Wedge?

Intangible capital is an important factor of production in modern economies that is generally neglected in business cycle analyses. We demonstrate that intangible capital can have a substantial impact on business cycle dynamics, especially if the intangible is complementary with production capacity. We focus on customer capital: the capital embodied in the relationships a firm has with its customers. Introducing customer capital into a standard real business cycle model generates a volatile and countercyclical labor wedge, due to a mismeasured marginal product of labor. We also provide new ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2014-2

Working Paper
Credit, bankruptcy, and aggregate fluctuations

We ask two questions related to how access to credit affects the nature of business cycles. First, does the standard theory of unsecured credit account for the high volatility and procyclicality of credit and the high volatility and countercyclicality of bankruptcy filings found in U.S. data? Yes, it does, but only if we explicitly model recessions as displaying countercyclical earnings risk (i.e., rather than having all households fare slightly worse than normal during recessions, we ensure that more households than normal fare very poorly). Second, does access to credit smooth aggregate ...
Working Papers , Paper 14-31

Working Paper
Why Has the US Economy Recovered So Consistently from Every Recession in the Past 70 Years?

It is a remarkable fact about the historical US business cycle that, after unemployment reached its peak in a recession, and a recovery began, the annual reduction in the unemployment rate was stable at around 0.55 percentage points per year. The economy seems to have had an irresistible force toward restoring full employment. There was high variation in monetary and fiscal policy, and in productivity and labor-force growth, but little variation in the rate of decline of unemployment. We explore models of the labor market's self-recovery that imply gradual working off of unemployment ...
Working Paper Series , Paper 2020-20

Working Paper
Information in Yield Spread Trades

Using positions data on bond futures, I document that speculators' spread trades contain private information about future economic activities and asset prices. Strong steepening trades are associated with negative payroll surprises in subsequent months and can predict asset markets' reaction to future payroll releases, suggesting that speculators hold superior information about future payrolls. Steepening trades can also predict the rise of stock prices within a few hours before subsequent FOMC announcements, implying that the pre-FOMC stock drift is driven by informed speculation. Overall, ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2019-025

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