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Keywords:consumption 

Working Paper
Container Trade and the U.S. Recovery

Since the 1970s, exports and imports of manufactured goods have been the engine of international trade and much of that trade relies on container shipping. This paper introduces a new monthly index of the volume of container trade to and from North America. Incorporating this index into a structural macroeconomic VAR model facilitates the identification of shocks to domestic U.S. demand as well as foreign demand for U.S. manufactured goods. We show that, unlike in the Great Recession, the primary determinant of the U.S. economic contraction in early 2020 was a sharp drop in domestic demand. ...
Working Papers , Paper 2108

Working Paper
How Do Mortgage Rate Resets Affect Consumer Spending and Debt Repayment? Evidence from Canadian Consumers

One of the most important channels through which monetary policy affects the real economy is changes in mortgage rates. This paper studies the effects of mortgage rate changes resulting from monetary policy shifts on homeowners’ spending, debt repayment and defaults. The Canadian institutional setting facilitates the design of identification strategies for causal inference, since the vast majority of mortgages in the country experience predetermined, periodic and automatic contract renewals with the mortgage rate reset based on the prevailing market rate. This allows us to exploit ...
Working Papers , Paper 2206

Working Paper
Consumption Heterogeneity by Occupation: Understanding the Impact of Occupation on Personal Consumption during the COVID-19 Pandemic

This paper exploits the variation in the unemployment rate of different occupations in the first part of the COVID-19 pandemic to analyze the response of consumption spending to unemployment risk. We find that earlier in the pandemic, higher unemployment risk did not reduce relative spending. However, as the pandemic proceeded, higher unemployment risk reduced relative spending. This pattern held across both essential and nonessential spending categories. We find that “high-risk” occupations had three common characteristics: lower ability to be performed from home, higher physical ...
Working Papers , Paper 20-16

Discussion Paper
Lower Income Households’ Vulnerability to the Recent Commodity Price Surge

In a previous post, I discussed the impact of changing commodity prices on the discretionary income of households and concluded that these effects generally were relatively modest except in cases of extreme swings in commodity prices. As many people know, there was a large surge in energy prices during the first quarter of 2011, and it appears to have had a significant effect on discretionary income and consumer spending. (See recent speeches by Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke and New York Fed President Dudley; for views outside the Fed, see FT Alphaville, Tim Duy, and James Hamilton.)
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20110613

Working Paper
The effects of changes in local-bank health on household consumption

Focusing on localized measures of bank health and economic activity, and renters as well as homeowners, this paper uses an innovative approach to identifying households likely in need of credit to investigate the effect on household spending of a deterioration in local-bank health. The analysis shows that local-bank health tends to impact the expenditures of renters more than homeowners, with the strongest effects for households that likely need credit?those experiencing a negative income shock and having limited liquid wealth. These findings contribute to the discussion of the linkages ...
Working Papers , Paper 18-5

Working Paper
On the Heterogeneous Welfare Gains and Losses from Trade

How are the gains and losses from trade distributed across individuals within a country? First, we document that tradable goods constitute a larger fraction of expenditures for poor households. Second, we build a trade model with nonhomothetic preferences?to generate the documented relationship between tradable expenditure shares, income, and wealth?and uninsurable earnings risk?to generate heterogeneity in income and wealth. Third, we use the calibrated model to quantify the differential welfare gains and losses from trade along the income and wealth distribution. In a numerical exercise, we ...
Working Papers , Paper 19-06

Working Paper
The local aggregate effects of minimum wage increases

This paper examines the effect of minimum wage changes on local aggregate inflation and consumption growth. The paper utilizes variation in state-level minimum wages across locations and finds that minimum wage increases have a relatively modest effect on both city-level inflation and spending growth over the years following the change. The most noticeable effects are for food consumed at home and away from home?industries that typically employ a large share of low-wage and minimum-wage workers. Interestingly, consumers adjust their real food consumption when minimum wages rise, suggesting ...
Working Papers , Paper 17-8

Working Paper
Asymmetric Responses of Consumer Spending to Energy Prices: A Threshold VAR Approach

We document asymmetric responses of consumer spending to energy price shocks: Using a multiple-regime threshold vector autoregressive model estimated with Bayesian methods on US data, we find that positive energy price shocks have a larger negative effect on consumption compared with the increase in consumption in response to negative energy price shocks. For large shocks, the cumulative consumption responses are three to five times larger for positive than for negative shocks. Digging into disaggregated spending, we find that the estimated asymmetric responses are strongest for durable ...
Working Papers , Paper 20-17

Working Paper
The Welfare Costs of Business Cycles Unveiled: Measuring the Extent of Stabilization Policies

How can we measure the welfare benefit of ongoing stabilization policies? We develop a methodology to calculate the welfare cost of business cycles taking into account that observed consumption is partially smoothed. We propose a decomposition that disentangles consumption in a mix of laissez-faire (absent policies) and riskless components. With a novel identification strategy, we estimate the span of stabilization power. Our results show that the welfare cost of total fluctuations is 11 percent of lifetime consumption, of which 82 percent is smoothed by the status quo policies, yielding a ...
Working Papers , Paper 21-14r

Working Paper
Forecasting GDP Growth with NIPA Aggregates

Beyond GDP, which is measured using expenditure data, the U.S. national income and product accounts (NIPAs) provide an income-based measure of the economy (gross domestic income, or GDI), a measure that averages GDP and GDI, and various aggregates that include combinations of GDP components. This paper compiles real-time data on a variety of NIPA aggregates and uses these in simple time-series models to construct out-of-sample forecasts for GDP growth. Over short forecast horizons, NIPA aggregates?particularly consumption and GDP less inventories and trade?together with these simple ...
Working Papers (Old Series) , Paper 1708

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