Reading the Tea Leaves of the U.S. Business Cycle—Part One
The study of the business cycle—fluctuations in aggregate economic activity between times of widespread expansion and contraction—is one of the foremost pursuits in macroeconomics. But even distinguishing periods of expansion and recession can be challenging. In this post, we discuss different conceptual approaches to dating the business cycle, study their past performance for the U.S. economy, and highlight the informativeness of labor market indicators.
Reading the Tea Leaves of the U.S. Business Cycle—Part Two
In our previous post, we presented evidence suggesting that labor market indicators provide the most reliable information for dating the U.S. business cycle. In this post, we further develop the case. In fact, the unemployment rate has provided an almost perfect record of distinguishing the beginning of recessions in the post-war U.S. economy. We also show that using more granular labor market data, such as by region or industry, also provides valuable information about the state of the business cycle.
Offshoring Barriers, Regulatory Burden and National Welfare
We present a model which considers both regulatory burden of offshoring barriers and possible terms of trade gains from such barriers. Non-tariff barriers are shown to be unambiguously welfare-reducing, and tariff barriers raise welfare only when associated terms-of-trade gains exceed resulting regulatory burdens, in which case there is a positive optimal offshoring tax. Otherwise, free trade is optimal. Welfare reductions from an offshoring tax are more likely with several developed nations engaging in offshoring. We derive and characterize the Nash equilibrium in such a case.
Is the Unemployment Rate a Good Measure of People Currently Out of Work?
Update, May 15, 2020: Following the release of the latest Current Population Survey estimates and related micro data, we are able to calculate the actual value of our U-Cov rate for April, which was 30.7% (not seasonally adjusted). This was over a 17 percentage point increase from March, significantly higher than the 10 percentage point increase in the official “U3” unemployment rate (to 14.4% in April). A 4.8 million increase in the number of people working part-time for economic reasons, a 4.3 million increase in those on unpaid leave, and a 4.5 million increase in those out of the ...
A Perspective on the Future of U.S. Monetary Policy
Remarks delivered by Charles Evans before the Bank of France Conference on October 1, 2010, in Rome, Italy.
Labor Markets and Monetary Policy
Remarks by Michael H. Moskow President and Chief Executive Officer Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
Allocating Effort and Talent in Professional Labor Markets
In many professional service firms, new associates work long hours while competing in up-or-out promotion contests. Our model explores why these firms require young professionals to take on heavy work loads while simultaneously facing significant risks of dismissal. We argue that the productivity of skilled partners in professional service firms (e.g. law, consulting, investment banking and public accounting) is quite large relative to the productivity of their peers who are competent and experienced but not well-suited to the partner role. Therefore, these firms adopt personnel policies that ...
The Decline in Intergenerational Mobility After 1980
We demonstrate that intergenerational mobility declined sharply for cohorts born between 1957 and 1964 compared to those born between 1942 and 1953. The former entered the labor market largely after the large rise in inequality that occurred around 1980 while the latter entered the labor market before this inflection point. We show that the rank-rank slope rose from 0.27 to 0.4 and the IGE rose from 0.35 to 0.51. The share of children whose income exceeds that of their parents fell by about 3 percentage points. These findings suggest that relative mobility fell by substantially more than ...
Human Capital Dynamics and the U.S. Labor Market
The high U.S. unemployment rate after the Great Recession is usually considered to be a result of changes in factors influencing either the demand side or the supply side of the labor market. However, no matter what factors have caused the changes in the unemployment rate, these factors should have influenced workers' and firms' decisions. Therefore, it is important to take into account workers' endogenous responses to changes in various factors when seeking to understand how these factors affect the unemployment rate. To address this issue, we estimate a Mortensen-Pissarides style of ...
A Quantitative Theory of Time-Consistent Unemployment Insurance
During recessions, the U.S. government substantially increases the duration of unemployment insurance (UI) benefits through multiple extensions. This paper seeks to understand the incentives driving these increases. Because of the trade-off between insurance and job search incentives, the classic time-inconsistency problem arises. During recessions, the U.S. government substantially increases the duration of unemployment insurance (UI) benefits through multiple extensions. This paper seeks to understand the incentives driving these extensions. Because of the trade-off between insurance and ...