The zero lower bound and endogenous uncertainty
This paper documents a strong negative correlation between macroeconomic uncertainty and real GDP growth since the Great Recession. Prior to that event the correlation was weak, even when conditioning on recessions. At the same time, many central banks reduced their policy rate to its zero lower bound (ZLB), which we contend contributed to the strong correlation between macroeconomic uncertainty and real GDP growth. To test that theory, we use a model where the ZLB occasionally binds. The model roughly matches the correlation in the data?away from the ZLB the correlation is weak but strongly ...
Does Fiscal Stimulus Work when Recessions Are Caused by Too Much Private Debt?
We argue that fiscal stimulus funded by public debt is effective for increasing economic activity and employment even in recessions that are caused by overborrowing in the private sector. We analyze the impact of government spending on local economies between 2007 and 2009 and find evidence that the fiscal multiplier is higher in geographical areas characterized by higher individual household debt. The higher multiplier in those areas might be attributed to a direct increase in both household consumption and local economic slack.
Measuring the Decline in Economic Activity During the Covid-19 Pandemic
On June 8, 2020, the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) issued a statement announcing that its Business Cycle Dating Committee determined U.S. economic activity had reached a cyclical peak in February 2020. Beginning in March 2020, a multitude of economic indicators declined sharply as public health orders that required nonessential businesses to close were implemented during the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic here in the U.S. The declines then accelerated in April as these orders were expanded to cover nearly the entire country. However, the data for May released so far seem ...
Idiosyncratic Sectoral Growth, Balanced Growth, and Sectoral Linkages
We study the growth properties of an economy where different sectors are linked by way of intermediates and potentially grow at different rates. We characterize the economy's equilibrium balanced growth path, and derive an analytical expression that summarizes how TFP growth in a given sector affects value added growth in every other sector and, therefore, aggregate GDP growth. We show in a special case that a version of Hulten's (1978) theorem, whereby the effects of changes in sector-specific productivity on GDP are entirely captured by that sector's share in GDP, also holds in growth rates ...
The Fog of Numbers
In times of economic turbulence, revisions to GDP data can be sizable, which makes conducting economic policy in real time during a crisis more difficult. A simple model based on Okun’s law can help refine the advance data release of real GDP growth to provide an improved reading of economic activity in real time. Applying this to data from the Great Recession explains some of the massive GDP revisions at that time. This could provide a guide for possible revisions to GDP releases during the current coronavirus crisis.
COVID-19 and CO2
One potential side effect from the rapid decline of global economic activity since the worldwide pandemic is a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions. Historically, CO2 emissions rise and fall in tandem with economic activity in the short run. Since the industries most affected by the downturn also produce the most CO2, emissions could drop more than output this time around. However, without substantial and sustained changes in energy sources and efficiency, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere—the relevant factor causing climate change—will continue on its upward trajectory.
How Does the Pandemic Recession Stack Up against the Great Depression?
The 2020 recession may turn out to be the sharpest, but also the shortest, in modern times and perhaps of all time in the U.S.
How Strongly Are Local Economies Tied to COVID-19?
The relationship between economic activity and local COVID-19 conditions—infections and deaths—has changed over time. While activity was strongly tied to local virus conditions during the first six to nine months of the pandemic, they decoupled in late 2020 through the first half of 2021. This link strengthened again in the third quarter of 2021, particularly for highly vaccinated counties. One possible interpretation of this restrengthening is that areas with high vaccination rates have heightened virus risk aversion and hence high sensitivity to changes in local virus conditions.
COVID-19 and Small Businesses: Uneven Patterns by Race and Income
The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in one of the sharpest recessions and recoveries in U.S. history. As the virus spread over the country in a matter of weeks in March 2020, most states rapidly locked down nonessential economic activity, which plummeted as a result. As the first wave of COVID-19 subsided and people gradually learned to “live with the virus,” states reversed most of the initial lockdowns and economic activity rebounded. In our ongoing Economic Inequality series, we have explored many aspects of how the economic turmoil associated with COVID-19 differentially affected ...
We Can’t Afford Not To
Virtual Event at The National Press Club, by Mary C. Daly, President and CEO, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, June 15, 2020.