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What Drives Buyout Booms and Busts?
Buyout activity by financial investors fluctuates substantially over time. In the United States, peak years result in close to one hundred public-to-private buyout transactions and trough years in as few as ten. The typical buyout is primarily funded by debt, hence the term 'leveraged buyout' (or LBO). As a result, analysis of buyout fluctuations has focused on the availability and cost of debt financing. However, in a recent staff report, we find that the overall cost of capital, rather than debt alone, is the primary driver of buyout activity. We argue that it is the common changes in both ...
The side effects of safe asset creation
We present an incomplete markets model to understand the costs and benefits of increasing government debt in a low interest rate environment. Higher risk increases the demand for safe assets, lowering the natural rate of interest below zero, constraining monetary policy at the zero lower bound, and raising unemployment. Higher government debt satiates the demand for safe assets, raising the natural rate and restoring full employment. While this permanently lowers investment, a policymaker committed to low inflation has no alternative. Higher inflation targets, instead, permit both full ...
The Federal Reserve and market confidence
We discover a novel monetary policy shock that has a widespread impact on aggregate financial conditions and market confidence. Our shock can be summarized by the response of long-horizon yields to Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) announcements; not only is it orthogonal to changes in the near-term path of policy rates, but it also explains more than half of the abnormal variation in the yield curve on announcement days. We find that our shock is positively related to changes in real interest rates and market volatility, and negatively related to market returns and mortgage issuance, ...
On the Structural Interpretation of the Smets-Wouters “Risk Premium” Shock
This article shows that the "risk premium" shock in Smets and Wouters (2007) can be interpreted as a structural shock to the demand for safe and liquid assets such as short-term US Treasury securities. Several implications of this interpretation are discussed.
News-driven uncertainty fluctuations
We embed a news shock, a noisy indicator of the future state, in a two-state Markov-switching growth model. Our framework, combined with parameter learning, features rich history-dependent uncertainty dynamics. We show that bad news that arrives during a prolonged economic boom can trigger a ?Minsky moment??a sudden collapse in asset values. The effect is greatly amplified when agents have a preference for early resolution of uncertainty. We leverage survey recession probability forecasts to solve a sequential learning problem and estimate the full posterior distribution of model primitives. ...
Quantitative Easing and Direct Lending in Response to the COVID-19 Crisis
When the COVID-19 crisis hit the economy in 2020, the Federal Reserve responded with numerous programs designed to prevent a collapse in bank credit and firms’ available funds. I develop a dynamic general equilibrium model to study how these programs work and to evaluate their effectiveness. In the model, quantitative easing works through three channels: the expansion of bank reserves lowers a liquidity premium, the purchase of assets lowers a volatility risk premium, and the economic stimulus lowers a credit risk premium. Since bank reserves are currently larger than in the past, the ...