Bubbles and Leverage: A Simple and Unified Approach
In this paper, we lay out a simple framework that captures much of what the theoretical literature has to say about the role of credit in systemically important asset booms and busts. In addition, we suggest ways in which to incorporate physical investment in the bubble asset as well as monetary policy.
Some Workers Have Been Hit Much Harder than Others by the Pandemic
As the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in the United States, in just two months—between February and April 2020—the nation saw well over 20 million workers lose their jobs, an unprecedented 15 percent decline. Since then, substantial progress has been made, but employment still remains 5 percent below its pre-pandemic level. However, not all workers have been affected equally. This post is the first in a three-part series exploring disparities in labor market outcomes during the pandemic—and represents an extension of ongoing research into heterogeneities and inequalities in people’s ...
Asset Pricing with Cohort-Based Trading in MBS Markets
Agency MBSs with diverse characteristics are traded in parallel with individualized specified pool (SP) contracts and standardized to-be-announced (TBA) contracts. This parallel trading environment has distinctive effects on MBS pricing and trading: (1) Although cheapest-to-deliver (CTD) issues are present only in TBA contracts and absent from SP trading by definition, MBS heterogeneity associated with CTD discounts affects SP returns positively, with the effect stronger for lower-value SPs; (2) High selling pressure amplifies the effects of MBS heterogeneity on SP returns; (3) Greater MBS ...
Medicare and Financial Health across the United States
Consumer financial strain varies enormously across the United States. One pernicious source of financial strain is debt in collections—debt that is more than 120 days past due and that has been sold to a collections agency. In Massachusetts, the average person has less than $100 in collections debt, while in Texas, the average person has more than $300. In this post, we discuss our recent staff report that exploits the fact that virtually all Americans are universally covered by Medicare at 65 to show that health insurance not only improves financial health on average, but also is a major ...
The Inflation Target and the Equilibrium Real Rate
Many economists have proposed raising the inflation target to reduce the probability of hitting the zero lower bound (ZLB). It is both a common assumption and a feature of standard models that raising the inflation target does not impact the equilibrium real rate. I demonstrate that in the New Keynesian model, once heterogeneity is introduced, raising the inflation target causes the equilibrium real rate to fall. This implies that raising the inflation target will increase thenominal interest rate by less than expected and thus will be less effective in reducing the probability of hitting the ...
A Closer Look at the Behavior of Uncertainty and Disagreement: Micro Evidence from the Euro Area
This paper examines point and density forecasts of real GDP growth, inflation and unemployment from the European Central Bank?s Survey of Professional Forecasters. We present individual uncertainty measures and introduce individual point- and density-based measures of disagreement. The data indicate substantial heterogeneity and persistence in respondents? uncertainty and disagreement, with uncertainty associated with prominent respondent effects and disagreement associated with prominent time effects. We also examine the co-movement between uncertainty and disagreement and find an ...
Business cycle fluctuations and the distribution of consumption
This paper sheds new light on the interactions between business cycles and the consumption distribution. We use Consumer Expenditure Survey data and a factor model to characterize the cyclical dynamics of the consumption distribution. We first establish that our approach is able to closely match business cycle fluctuations of consumption from the National Account. We then study the responses of the consumption distribution to total factor productivity shocks and economic policy uncertainty shocks. Importantly, we find that the responses of the right tail of the consumption distribution, ...
Inflation at the Household Level
We use scanner data to estimate inflation rates at the household level. Households' inflation rates have an annual interquartile range of 6.2 to 9.0 percentage points. Most of the heterogeneity comes not from variation in broadly defined consumption bundles but from variation in prices paid for the same types of goods. Lower-income households experience higher inflation, but most cross-sectional variation is uncorrelated with observables. Households' deviations from aggregate inflation exhibit only slightly negative serial correlation. Almost all variability in a household's inflation rate ...
Understanding the Racial and Income Gap in COVID-19: Essential Workers
This is the fourth and final post in this series aimed at understanding the gap in COVID-19 intensity by race and by income. The previous three posts focused on the role of mediating variables—such as uninsurance rates, comorbidities, and health resource in the first post; public transportation, and home crowding in the second; and social distancing, pollution, and age composition in the third—in explaining the racial and income gap in the incidence of COVID-19. In this post, we now investigate the role of employment in essential services in explaining this gap.
Banking across borders with heterogeneous banks
Individual banks differ substantially in their foreign operations. This paper introduces heterogeneous banks into a general equilibrium framework of banking across borders to explain the documented variation. While the model matches existing micro and macro evidence, novel and unexplored predictions of the theory are also strongly supported by the data: The efficiency of the least efficient bank active in a host country increases the greater the impediments to banking across borders and the efficiency of the banking sector in the host country. There is also evidence of a tradeoff between ...