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Identifying shocks via time-varying volatility
An n-variable structural vector auto-regression (SVAR) can be identified (up to shock order) from the evolution of the residual covariance across time if the structural shocks exhibit heteroskedasticity (Rigobon (2003), Sentana and Fiorentini (2001)). However, the path of residual covariances can only be recovered from the data under specific parametric assumptions on the variance process. I propose a new identification argument that identifies the SVAR up to shock orderings using the autocovariance structure of second moments of the residuals, implied by an arbitrary stochastic process for ...
150 years of boom and bust: what drives mineral commodity prices?
My paper provides long-run evidence on the dynamic effects of supply and demand shocks on mineral commodity prices. I assemble and analyze a new data set of price and production levels of copper, lead, tin, and zinc from 1840 to 2010. Price fluctuations are primarily driven by demand rather than supply shocks. Demand shocks affect the price persistently for up to five-teen years, whereas the effect of mineral supply shocks persists for a maximum of five years. My paper shows that price surges caused by rapid industrialization are a recurrent phenomenon throughout history. Mineral commodity ...
Industry Effects of Oil Price Shocks: Re-Examination
Sectoral responses to oil price shocks help determine how these shocks are transmitted through the economy. Textbook treatments of oil price shocks often emphasize negative supply effects on oil importing countries. By contrast, the seminal contribution of Lee and Ni (2002) has shown that almost all U.S. industries experience oil price shocks largely through a reduction in their respective demands. Only industries with very high oil intensities face a supply-driven reduction. In this paper, we re-examine this seminal findings using two additional decades of data. Further, we apply updated ...
Assessing U.S. Aggregate Fluctuations Across Time and Frequencies
We study the behavior of key macroeconomic variables in the time and frequency domain. For this purpose, we decompose U.S. time series into various frequency components. This allows us to identify a set of stylized facts: GDP growth is largely a high-frequency phenomenon whereby inflation and nominal interest rates are characterized largely by low-frequency components. In contrast, unemployment is a medium-term phenomenon. We use these decompositions jointly in a structural VAR where we identify monetary policy shocks using a sign restriction approach. We find that monetary policy shocks ...
The Effect of Monetary Policy on Housing Tenure Choice as an Explanation for the Price Puzzle
In this paper we provide an alternative explanation for the price puzzle (Sims 1992) based on the effect of monetary policy on housing tenure choice and the weight of the shelter component in overall CPI. In the presence of nominal or financial frictions, when interest rates increase, the real cost of owning a house increases, and this increase may make some people prefer to rent instead of buying. This change in consumption behavior increases the price of rents relative to other goods. Starting in 1983, homeownership costs are based on a measure of implied owner equivalent rent, which is ...
Inference Based on SVARs Identified with Sign and Zero Restrictions: Theory and Applications
Are optimism shocks an important source of business cycle fluctuations? Are deficit-financed tax cuts better than deficit-financed spending to increase output? These questions have been previously studied using SVARs identified with sign and zero restrictions and the answers have been positive and definite in both cases. While the identification of SVARs with sign and zero restrictions is theoretically attractive because it allows the researcher to remain agnostic with respect to the responses of the key variables of interest, we show that current implementation of these techniques does not ...