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Bank:Federal Reserve Bank of Boston  Series:Working Papers 

Working Paper
Another hidden cost of incentives: the detrimental effect on norm enforcement

Monetary incentives are often considered as a way to foster contributions to public goods in society and firms. This paper investigates experimentally the effect of monetary incentives in the presence of a norm enforcement mechanism. Norm enforcement through peer punishment has been shown to be effective in raising contributions by itself. We test whether and how monetary incentives interact with punishment and how this in turn affects contributions. Our main findings are that free riders are punished less harshly in the treatment with incentives, and as a consequence, average contributions ...
Working Papers , Paper 09-2

Working Paper
Accounting for racial wealth disparities in the United States

Using data from the Survey of Consumer Finances, this paper updates and extends previous research on the racial wealth gap in the United States. We explore several hypotheses that help explain differential wealth accumulation by racial groups, including the importance of receiving inheritances and other financial support from relatives and the conditions in local real estate markets. By exploring the disparities among white, black, and Hispanic families, we make new contributions to the literature. We find that observable factors account for the entire wealth gap between white and Hispanic ...
Working Papers , Paper 19-13

Working Paper
Does Fed policy reveal a ternary mandate?

This paper examines the role of financial instability in setting monetary policy. The paper begins with a model that examines the interaction of monetary and regulatory policy. It then empirically tests whether financial instability has affected monetary policy. One important innovation is to construct a measure of financial instability directly related to the FOMC financial instability concerns expressed in FOMC meeting transcripts. We find that, even after controlling for forecasts of inflation and unemployment, the word counts of terms related to financial instability do correlate with ...
Working Papers , Paper 16-11

Working Paper
Economic effects of currency unions

This paper develops a new instrumental-variable (IV) approach to estimate the effects of different exchange rate regimes on bilateral outcomes. The basic idea is that the characteristics of the exchange rate regime between two countries (exchange rate variability, fixed or float, autonomous or common currencies) are partially related to the independent decisions of these countries to peg -explicitly or de facto- to a third currency, notably that of a main anchor. Our approach is to use this component of the exchange rate regime as an IV in regressions of bilateral outcomes. We illustrate the ...
Working Papers , Paper 02-4

Working Paper
The credit card debt puzzle: the role of preferences, credit risk, and financial literacy

We use the 1979 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth to revisit what is termed the credit card debt puzzle: why consumers simultaneously co-hold high-interest credit card debt and low-interest assets that could be used to pay down this debt. This dataset contains unique information on intelligence, financial literacy, and preferences, while also providing a complete picture of households? balance sheets. Relative to individuals with no credit card debt but positive liquid assets, individuals in the puzzle group have higher discount rates, slightly lower financial literacy scores, and very ...
Working Papers , Paper 16-6

Working Paper
The forecasting power of consumer attitudes for consumer spending

The widely studied Reuters/Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment is constructed from the answers to five questions from the more comprehensive Reuters/Michigan Surveys of Consumers. Yet little work has been done on what predictive power the information taken from this more thorough compilation of consumer attitudes and expectations may have for forecasting consumption expenditures. The authors construct a limited set of real-time summary measures for 42 questions selected from these broader Surveys corresponding to three broad economic determinants of consumption?income and wealth, prices, and ...
Working Papers , Paper 14-10

Working Paper
Dishonesty in everyday life and its policy implications

Dishonest acts are all too prevalent in day-to-day life. In the current review, we examine some possible psychological causes for such dishonesty that go beyond the standard economic considerations of probability and value of external payoffs. We propose a general model of dishonest behavior that includes also internal psychological reward mechanisms for honesty and dishonesty, and we point to the implications of this model in terms of curbing dishonesty.
Working Papers , Paper 06-3

Working Paper
Input and output inventories

This paper builds and estimates a new model of firm behavior that includes decisions to order, use, and stock input materials in a stage-of-fabrication environment with either gross production or value added technology. The model extends the traditional linear-quadratic model of output (finished goods) inventories by incorporating delivery and usage of input materials plus input inventory investment - features which largely have been ignored in the literature. Stylized facts indicate that input inventories are empirically more important than output inventories, especially in business cycle ...
Working Papers , Paper 97-7

Working Paper
Should the Fed regularly evaluate its monetary policy framework?

Would a more open and regular evaluation of the monetary policy framework improve policy in the United States? Even when considering a relatively short timeframe that spans the 1960s to the present, it is possible to point to many significant changes to the framework. Some of the changes were precipitated by acute economic conditions, while others were considered and implemented only gradually as a response to long-standing problems with the framework. But the process for evaluating and changing frameworks to date has not always been transparent, and changes have not always been timely. Could ...
Working Papers , Paper 18-8

Working Paper
Interest Rate Surprises: A Tale of Two Shocks

Interest rate surprises around FOMC announcements reveal both the surprise in the monetary policy stance (the pure policy shock) and interest rate movements driven by exogenous information about the economy from the central bank (the information shock). In order to disentangle the effects of these two shocks, we use interest rate changes on days of macroeconomic data releases. On these release dates, there are no pure policy shocks, which allows us to identify the impact of information shocks and thereby distill pure policy shocks from interest rate surprises around FOMC announcements. Our ...
Working Papers , Paper 22-2

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