Restoring Economic Growth In Puerto Rico: Introduction to the Series
The difficult economic and financial issues facing the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico have remained very much in the news since our post on options for addressing its fiscal problems appeared last fall. That post was itself a follow-up on a series of analyses, starting with a 2012 report that detailed the economic challenges facing the Commonwealth. In 2014, we extended that analysis with an update where we focused more closely on the fiscal challenges facing the Island. As the problems deepened, we have continued to examine important related subjects ranging from positive revisions in ...
Fiscal Expansions in the Era of Low Real Interest Rates
Low natural real interest rates limit the power of monetary policy to revive the economy due to the zero lower bound (ZLB) on the nominal interest rate. Fiscal stabilization via higher government debt is frequently recommended as a policy to raise the natural real interest rate. This paper builds a non-Ricardian framework to study the tradeoffs associated with a debt-financed fiscal expansion and show that even in a low real interest rate environment, higher debt doesn’t necessarily raise the real interest rate. The effect of the expansion is non-monotonic: Increasing debt raises the ...
Financial education and the debt behavior of the young
Young Americans are heavily reliant on debt and have clear financial literacy shortcomings, yet evidence on the relationship between financial education and youths? subsequent debt behavior remains both limited and mixed. In this paper, we study the effects of exposure to financial training on debt outcomes in early adulthood among a large and representative sample of young Americans. Variation in exposure to financial training comes from statewide changes in high school graduation requirements regarding financial literacy, economics, and mathematics that were mandated in the late 1990s and ...
Is There Too Much Business Debt?
By many measures, nonfinancial corporate debt has been increasing as a share of GDP and assets since 2010. As the May Federal Reserve Financial Stability Report explained, high business debt can be a financial stability risk because heavily indebted corporations may need to cut back spending more sharply when shocks occur. Our bloggers review measures of corporate leverage in the United States and find that, although corporate debt has soared, concerns about debt growth are mitigated in part by higher corporate cash flows.
Trends in household debt and credit
Since the onset of the 2008 financial crisis, consumer financial and borrowing behavior, once considered a relatively quiet little corner of finance, has been of enormously increased interest to policymakers and researchers alike. Prior to the Great Recession, there was a historic run-up in household debt, driven primarily by housing debt, which coincided with a speculative bubble and sharp rises in home prices. Then, as prices began to fall, millions of households began defaulting on their mortgages, unable to keep up with home payments, and greatly contributing to the onset of the deepest ...
Debt and Stabilization Policy: Evidence from a Euro Area FAVAR
The Euro-area poses a unique problem in evaluating policy: a currency union with a shared monetary policy and country-specific fiscal policy. Analysis can be further complicated if high levels of public debt affect the performance of stabilization policy. We construct a framework capable of handling these issues with an application to Euro-Area data. In order to incorporate multiple macroeconomic series from each country but, simultaneously, treat country-specific fiscal policy, we develop a hierarchical factor-augmented VAR with zero restrictions on the loadings that yield country-level ...
Crises in the Housing Market: Causes, Consequences, and Policy Lessons
The global financial crisis of the past decade has shaken the research and policy worlds out of their belief that housing markets are mostly benign and immaterial for understanding economic cycles. Instead, a growing consensus recognizes the central role that housing plays in shaping economic activity, particularly during large boom and bust episodes. This article discusses the latest research regarding the causes, consequences, and policy implications of housing crises with a broad focus that includes empirical and structural analysis, insights from the 2000's experience in the United ...
The Rise in Home Currency Issuance
Using a large sample of private international bond issues, we document a substantial decline in the share of international bonds denominated in major reserve currencies over the last two decades, and an increase in bonds denominated in issuers? home currencies. These secular trends appear to have accelerated notably after the global financial crisis. Observed increases in home currency foreign bond issuance was larger in countries with stable inflation and lower government debt, and in emerging markets that adopted explicit inflation targeting policies. We then present a model that ...
Domestic bond markets and inflation
This paper explores the relationship between inflation and the existence of a local, nominal, publicly-traded, long-maturity, domestic-currency bond market. Bond holders are exposed to capital losses through inflation and therefore represent a potential anti-inflationary force; we ask whether their influence is apparent both theoretically and empirically. We develop a simple theoretical model with heterogeneous agents where the issuance of such bonds leads to political pressure on the government to choose a lower inflation rate. We then check this prediction empirically using a panel of data, ...
Targeted business incentives and the debt behavior of households
The empirical effects of place-based tax incentive schemes designed to aid low-income communities are unclear. While a growing number of studies find beneficial effects on employment, there is little investigation into other behaviors of households affected by such programs. We analyze the impact of the Texas Enterprise Zone Program on household debt and delinquency. Specifically, we utilize detailed information on all household liabilities, delinquencies, and credit scores from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York Consumer Credit Panel/Equifax, a quarterly longitudinal 5% random sample of ...