The Globalization and Monetary Policy Institute

Working Papers

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No. 206

Federal Reserve Policy and Bretton Woods PDF
Michael D. Bordo and Owen F. Humpage
Abstract: During the Bretton Woods era, balance-of-payments developments, gold losses, and exchange-rate concerns had little influence on Federal Reserve monetary policy, even after 1958 when such issues became critical. The Federal Reserve could largely disregard international considerations because the U.S. Treasury instituted a number of stopgap devices—the gold pool, the general agreement to borrow, capital restraints, sterilized foreign-exchange operations—to shore up the dollar and Bretton Woods. These, however, gave Federal Reserve policymakers the latitude to focus on the domestic objectives and shifted responsibility for international developments to the Treasury. Removing the pressure of international considerations from Federal Reserve policy decisions made it easier for the Federal Reserve to pursue the inflationary policies of the late 1960s and 1970s that ultimate destroyed Bretton Woods. In the end, the Treasury’s stopgap devices, which were intended to support Bretton Woods, contributed to its demise.

 

No. 205

Navigating Constraints: The Evolution of Federal Reserve Monetary Policy, 1935-59 PDF
Mark A. Carlson and David C. Wheelock
Abstract: The 1950s are often cited as a decade in which the Federal Reserve operated a particularly successful monetary policy. The present paper examines the evolution of Federal Reserve monetary policy from the mid-1930s through the 1950s in an effort to understand better the apparent success of policy in the 1950s. Whereas others have debated whether the Fed had a sophisticated understanding of how to implement policy, our focus is on how the constraints on the Fed changed over time. Roosevelt Administration gold policies and New Deal legislation limited the Fed’s ability to conduct an independent monetary policy. The Fed was forced to cooperate with the Treasury in the 1930s, and fully ceded monetary policy to Treasury financing requirements during World War II. Nonetheless, the Fed retained a policy tool in the form of reserve requirements, and from the mid-1930s to 1951, changes in required reserve ratios were the primary means by which the Fed responded to expected inflation. The inability of the Fed to maintain a credible commitment to low interest rates in the face of increased government spending and rising inflation led to the Fed-Treasury Accord of March 1951. Following the Accord, the external pressures on the Fed diminished significantly, which enabled the Fed to focus primarily on macroeconomic objectives. We conclude that a successful outcome requires not only a good understanding of how to conduct policy, but also a conducive environment in which to operate.

 

No. 204

The International Monetary and Financial System: A Capital Account Historical Perspective PDF
Claudio Borio, Harold James and Hyun Song Shin
Abstract: In analysing the performance of the international monetary and financial system (IMFS), too much attention has been paid to the current account and far too little to the capital account. This is true of both formal analytical models and historical narratives. This approach may be reasonable when financial markets are highly segmented. But it is badly inadequate when they are closely integrated, as they have been most of the time since at least the second half of the 19th century. Zeroing on the capital account shifts the focus from the goods markets to asset markets and balance sheets. Seen through this lens, the IMFS looks quite different. Its main weakness is its propensity to amplify financial surges and collapses that generate costly financial crises – its “excess financial elasticity”. And assessing the vulnerabilities it hides requires going beyond the residence/non-resident distinction that underpins the balance of payments to look at the consolidated balance sheets of the decision units that straddle national borders, be these banks or non-financial companies. We illustrate these points by revisiting two defining historical phases in which financial meltdowns figured prominently, the interwar years and the more recent Great Financial Crisis.

 

No. 203

The International Monetary and Financial System: Its Achilles Heel and What to do about it PDF
Claudio Borio
Abstract: This essay argues that the Achilles heel of the international monetary and financial system is that it amplifies the “excess financial elasticity” of domestic policy regimes, ie it exacerbates their inability to prevent the build-up of financial imbalances, or outsize financial cycles, that lead to serious financial crises and macroeconomic dislocations. This excess financial elasticity view contrasts sharply with two more popular ones, which stress the failure of the system to prevent disruptive current account imbalances and its tendency to generate a structural shortage of safe assets – the “excess saving” and “excess demand for safe assets” views, respectively. In particular, the excess financial elasticity view highlights financial rather than current account imbalances and a persistent expansionary rather than contractionary bias in the system. The failure to adjust domestic policy regimes and their international interaction raises a number of risks: entrenching instability in the global system; returning to the modern-day equivalent of the divisive competitive devaluations of the interwar years; and, ultimately, triggering an epoch-defining seismic rupture in policy regimes, back to an era of trade and financial protectionism and, possibly, stagnation combined with inflation.

 

No. 202

A Threshold Model of the US Current Account PDF
Roberto Duncan
Abstract: What drives US current account imbalances? Is there solid evidence that the behavior of the current account is different during deficits and surpluses or that the size of the imbalance matters? Is there a threshold relationship between the US current account and its main drivers? We estimate a threshold model to answer these questions using the instrumental variable estimation proposed by Caner and Hansen (2004). Rather than concluding that the size or the sign of (previous) external imbalances matters, we find that time is the most important threshold variable. One regime exists before and another one exists after the third quarter of 1997, a period that coincides with the onset of the Asian financial crisis and the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997. Statistically significant determinants in the second regime are the fiscal surplus, productivity, productivity volatility, oil prices, the real exchange rate, and the real interest rate. Productivity has become a more important driver since 1997.

 

No. 201

Stability or Upheaval? The Currency Composition of International Reserves in the Long Run PDF
Barry Eichengreen, Livia Chiu and Arnaud Mehl
Abstract: We analyze how the role of different national currencies as international reserves was affected by the shift from fixed to flexible exchange rates. We extend data on the currency composition of foreign reserves backward and forward to investigate whether there was a shift in the determinants of the currency composition of international reserves around the breakdown of Bretton Woods. We find that inertia and policy-credibility effects in international reserve currency choice have become stronger post-Bretton Woods, while network effects appear to have weakened. We show that negative policy interventions designed to discourage international use of a currency have been more effective than positive interventions to encourage its use. These findings speak to the prospects of currencies like the euro and the renminbi seeking to acquire international reserve status and others like the U.S. dollar seeking to preserve it.

 

No. 200

The Federal Reserve in a Globalized World Economy PDF
John B. Taylor
Abstract: This paper starts from the theoretical observation that simple rules-based monetary policy will result in good economic performance in a globalized world economy and the historical observation that this occurred during the Great Moderation period of the 1980s and 1990s. It tries to answer a question posed by Paul Volcker in 2014 about the global repercussions of monetary policies pursued by advanced economy central banks in recent years. I start by explaining the basic theoretical framework, its policy implications, and its historical relevance. I then review the empirical evidence on the size of the international spillovers caused by deviations from rules-based monetary policy, and explore the many ways in which these spillovers affect and interfere with policy decisions globally. Finally, I consider ways in which individual monetary authorities and the world monetary system as a whole could adhere better to rules-based policies in the future and whether this would be enough to achieve the goal of stability in the globalized world economy.

 

No. 199

Intra-Safe Haven Currency Behavior During the Global Financial Crisis PDF
Rasmus Fatum and Yohei Yamamoto
Abstract: We investigate intra-safe haven currency behavior during the recent global financial crisis. The currencies we consider are the USD, the JPY, the CHF, the EUR, the GBP, the SEK, and the CAD. We first assess which safe haven currency appreciates the most as market uncertainty increases, i.e. we assess which safe haven currency is the “safest”. We then use non-temporal threshold analysis to investigate whether intra-safe haven currency behavior changes, e.g. accelerates or decelerates, as market uncertainty increases. We find that the JPY is the “safest” of safe haven currencies and that only the JPY appreciates as market uncertainty increases regardless of the prevailing level of uncertainty. For all other currencies under study we find significant market uncertainty threshold effects. We extend our analysis to also consider intra-safe haven currency behavior before and after the global financial crisis.

 

No. 198

Exchange Rate Flexibility under the Zero Lower Bound PDF
David Cook and Michael B. Devereux
Abstract: An independent currency and a flexible exchange rate generally helps a country in adjusting to macroeconomic shocks. But recently in many countries, interest rates have been pushed down close to the lower bound, limiting the ability of policy-makers to accommodate shocks, even in countries with flexible exchange rates. This paper argues that if the zero bound constraint is binding and policy lacks an effective ‘forward guidance’ mechanism, a flexible exchange rate system may be inferior to a single currency area. With monetary policy constrained by the zero bound, under flexible exchange rates, the exchange rate exacerbates the impact of shocks. Remarkably, this may hold true even if only a subset of countries are constrained by the zero bound, and other countries freely adjust their interest rates under an optimal targeting rule. In a zero lower bound environment, in order for a regime of multiple currencies to dominate a single currency, it is necessary to have effective forward guidance in monetary policy.

 

No. 197

International Financial Integration and Crisis Contagion PDF
Michael B. Devereux and Changhua Yu
Abstract: International financial integration helps to diversify risk but also may increase the transmission of crises across countries. We provide a quantitative analysis of this trade-off in a two-country general equilibrium model with endogenous portfolio choice and collateral constraints. Collateral constraints bind occasionally, depending upon the state of the economy and levels of inherited debt. The analysis allows for different degrees of financial integration, moving from financial autarky to bond market integration and equity market integration. Financial integration leads to a significant increase in global leverage, doubles the probability of balance sheet crises for any one country, and dramatically increases the degree of ‘contagion’ across countries. Outside of crises, the impact of financial integration on macro aggregates is relatively small. But the impact of a crisis with integrated international financial markets is much less severe than that under financial market autarky. Thus, a tradeoff emerges between the probability of crises and the severity of crises. Financial integration can raise or lower welfare, depending on the scale of macroeconomic risk. In particular, in a low risk environment, the increased leverage resulting from financial integration can reduce welfare of investors.

 

No. 196

Real Exchange Rates and Sectoral Productivity in the Eurozone PDF
Martin Berka, Michael B. Devereux and Charles Engel
Abstract: We investigate the link between real exchange rates and sectoral total factor productivity measures for countries in the Eurozone. Real exchange rate patterns closely accord with an amended Balassa-Samuelson interpretation, both in cross-section and time series. We construct a sticky price dynamic general equilibrium model to generate a cross-section and time series of real exchange rates that can be directly compared to the data. Under the assumption of a common currency, estimates from simulated regressions are very similar to the empirical estimates for the Eurozone. Our findings contrast with previous studies that have found little relationship between productivity levels and the real exchange rate among high-income countries, but those studies have included country pairs which have a floating nominal exchange rate.

 

No. 195

Doctrinal Determinants, Domestic and International, of Federal Reserve Policy 1914-1933 PDF
Barry Eichengreen
Abstract: This paper describes the doctrinal foundations of Federal Reserve policy from the establishment of the institution through the early 1930s, focusing on the role of international factors in those doctrines and conceptions. International considerations were at most part of the constellation of factors shaping the Federal Reserve’s outlook and policies even in the high gold standard era that ended in 1933. However, neither was the influence of international factors absent, much less negligible. Nor were the Fed’s policies without consequences for the rest of the world. Having described the doctrinal foundations of Federal Reserve policy, I analyze how the doctrines in question influenced the central bank’s actions and shaped the impact of monetary policy on a number of key occasions, focusing in particular on episodes where the international economy and the rest of the world played an important role.

 

No. 194

Working Less and Bargain Hunting More: Macro Implications of Sales during Japan's Lost Decades PDF
Nao Sudo, Kozo Ueda, Kota Watanabe and Tsutomu Watanabe
Abstract: Standard New Keynesian models have often neglected temporary sales. In this paper, we ask whether this treatment is appropriate. In the empirical part of the paper, we provide evidence using Japanese scanner data covering the last two decades that the frequency of sales was closely related with macroeconomic developments. Specifically, we find that the frequency of sales and hours worked move in opposite directions in response to technology shocks, producing a negative correlation between the two. We then construct a dynamic stochastic general equilibrium model that takes households' decisions regarding their allocation of time for work, leisure, and bargain hunting into account. Using this model, we show that the rise in the frequency of sales, which is observed in the data, can be accounted for by the decline in hours worked during Japan's lost decades. We also find that the real effect of monetary policy shocks weakens by around 40% due to the presence of temporary sales, but monetary policy still matters.

 

No. 193

What Drives Housing Dynamics in China? A Sign Restrictions VAR Approach PDF
Timothy Yang Bian and Pedro Gete
Abstract: We study housing dynamics in China using vector autoregressions identified with theoryconsistent sign restrictions. We study five potential drivers: 1) Population increases; 2) a relaxation of credit standards, for example, due to the shadow banking system; 3) increasing preferences towards housing, for example, due to a housing bubble or housing being a status asset to be competitive in the marriage market; 4) an increase in the savings rate; and 5) expected productivity progress. Our results show that fundamental shocks (population, credit and productivity) play a major role in the dynamics of house prices and residential investment before 2009. Preference shocks seem especially relevant in the last several years, and when the estimation uses price indices not coming from China’s National Bureau of Statistics.

 

No. 192

Trade Partner Diversification and Growth: How Trade Links Matter PDF
Ali Sina Önder and Hakan Yilmazkuday
Abstract: We use network centrality measures to capture the trade partner diversification (TPD) of countries as revealed by their position in the international trade network. These measures are shown to enter long-run growth regressions positively and significantly, on top of trade openness and other control variables. Historical evidence based on threshold analyses shows that countries can use their trade networks to compensate for their low levels of financial depth, high levels of inflation, and low levels of human capital. This result is important especially for developing economies where, on average, financial depth is low, inflation is high, and human capital is low. Therefore, globalization of international trade is important as far as gaining access into better trade networks through multilateral free trade agreements is rather essential for developing countries.

 

No. 191

Benefits of Foreign Ownership: Evidence from Foreign Direct Investment in China PDF
Jian Wang and Xiao Wang
Abstract: To examine the effect of foreign direct investment, this paper compares the post-acquisition performance changes of foreign- and domestic-acquired firms in China. Unlike previous studies, we investigate the purified effect of foreign ownership by using domestic-acquired firms as the control group. After controlling for the acquisition effect that also exists in domestic acquisitions, we find no evidence in the data that foreign ownership can bring productivity gains to target firms. In contrast, a strong and robust finding is that foreign ownership significantly improves target firms' financial conditions and exports relative to domestic-acquired firms. Foreign acquisition is also found to improve output, employment and income for target firms. These findings highlight the financial channel through which FDI benefits income and economic growth of host countries.

 

No. 190

Technical Note on "Assessing Bayesian Model Comparison in Small Samples" PDF
Enrique Martínez-García and Mark A. Wynne
Abstract: This technical note is developed as a companion to the paper ‘Assessing Bayesian Model Comparison in Small Samples’ (Globalization and Monetary Policy Institute working paper no. 189). Taking the workhorse open-economy model of Martínez-García and Wynne (2010) with nominal rigidities under monopolistic competition as our Data-Generating Process, we investigate with simulated data how Bayesian model comparison based on posterior odds performs when the model becomes arbitrarily close to a closed-economy and/or an economy with flexible prices and perfect competition. This technical note elaborates on three key technical points relevant for Martínez-García and Wynne (2014). First, we explain the building blocks of the open-economy model of Martínez-García and Wynne (2010). We also derive the equilibrium conditions (and the steady state) under producer-currency pricing. Second, we discuss the log-linearization of the equilibrium conditions around the deterministic steady state and our benchmark parameterization. The linear rational expectations model that results from the log-linearization is used to simulate the data under our benchmark parameterization. These simulated data is used in Martínez-García and Wynne (2014) to conduct their Bayesian model comparison exercises. Third, we describe the Bayesian estimation and model comparison techniques with special emphasis on the questions of: (a) how we elicit priors on the models themselves and the parameters of a given model, and (b) how we compute posterior model probabilities. Simultaneously, commentary is provided whenever appropriate to clarify the economic significance of the assumptions embedded in our workhorse open-economy model.

 

No. 189

Assessing Bayesian Model Comparison in Small Samples PDF
Enrique Martínez-García and Mark A. Wynne
Abstract: We investigate the Bayesian approach to model comparison within a two-country framework with nominal rigidities using the workhorse New Keynesian open-economy model of Martínez-García and Wynne (2010). We discuss the trade-offs that monetary policycharacterized by a Taylor-type rule faces in an interconnected world, with perfectly flexible exchange rates. We then use posterior model probabilities to evaluate the weight of evidence in support of such a model when estimated against more parsimonious specifications that either abstract from monetary frictions or assume autarky by means of controlled experiments that employ simulated data. We argue that Bayesian model comparison with posterior odds is sensitive to sample size and the choice of observable variables for estimation. We show that posterior model probabilities strongly penalize overfitting which can lead us to favor a less parameterized model against the true data-generating process when the two become arbitrarily close to each other. We also illustrate that the spill-overs from monetary policy across countries have an added confounding effect.

 

No. 188

The Redistributional Consequences of Tax Reform Under Financial Integration PDF
Aye Kabukçuolu
Abstract: I quantify the welfare effects of replacing the US capital income tax with higher labor income taxes under international financial integration using a two-country, heterogeneousagent incomplete markets model calibrated to represent the US and the rest of the world. Short-run and long-run factor price dynamics are key: after the tax reform, interest rates rise less under financial openness than in autarky. Therefore, wealthy households gain less. Posttax wages also fall less as a result of the faster capital accumulation, so the poor are hurt less. Hence, the distributional impacts of the reform are significantly dampened relative to autarky although a majority of households prefer the status quo. Aggregate welfare effect to the US is a permanent 0.2% consumption equivalent loss under financial openness which is roughly 15% of the welfare loss under autarky.

 

No. 187

Pricing-to-Market and Optimal Interest Rate Policy PDF
Dudley Cooke
Abstract: I study optimal interest rate policy in a small open economy with consumer search in the product market. When there are search frictions, firms price-to-market, with implications for the design of monetary policy. Country-specific shocks generate deviations from the law of one price for traded goods which monetary policy acts to stabilize by influencing firm markups. However, stabilizing law of one price deviations results in greater fluctuations in output.

 

No. 186

The Domestic Segment of Global Supply Chains In China under State Capitalism PDF
Heiwai Tang, Fei Wang and Zhi Wang
Abstract: This paper proposes methods to incorporate firm heterogeneity in the standard IO-table based approach to portray the domestic segment of global value chains in a country. Using Chinese firm census data for both manufacturing and service sectors, along with constrained optimization techniques, we split the conventional IO table into sub-accounts, which are used to estimate direct and indirect domestic value added in exports of different types of firm. We find that in China, both state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and small and medium domestic private enterprises (SMEs) have much higher shares of indirect exports and ratios of value-added exports to gross exports (VAX), compared to foreign-invested and large domestic private firms. Based on IO tables for both 2007 and 2010, we find increasing VAX ratios for all firm types, particularly for SOEs. By extending the method proposed by Antràs et al. (2012), we find that SOEs are consistently more upstream while SMEs are consistently more downstream within industries. These findings suggest that SOEs still play an important role in shaping China’s exports.

 

No. 185

Learning to Export from Neighbors PDF
Ana Fernandes and Heiwai Tang
Abstract: This paper studies how learning from neighboring firms affects new exporters’ performance. We develop a statistical decision model in which a firm updates its prior belief about demand in a foreign market based on several factors, including the number of neighbors currently selling there, the level and heterogeneity of their export sales, and the firm’s own prior knowledge about the market. A positive signal about demand inferred from neighbors’ export performance raises the firm’s probability of entry and initial sales in the market but, conditional on survival, lowers its post-entry growth. These learning effects are stronger when there are more neighbors to learn from or when the firm is less familiar with the market. We find supporting evidence for the main predictions of the model from transaction-level data for all Chinese exporters from 2000 to 2006. Our findings are robust to controlling for firms’ supply shocks, countries’ demand shocks, and city-country fixed effects.

 

No. 184

Bank Crises and Sovereign Defaults in Emerging Markets: Exploring the Links PDF
Irina Balteanu and Aitor Erce
Abstract: This paper provides a set of stylized facts on the mechanisms through which banking and sovereign distress feed into each other, using a large sample of emerging economies over three decades. We first define “twin crises” as events where banking crises and sovereign defaults combine, and further distinguish between those banking crises that end up in sovereign debt crises, and vice-versa. We then assess what differentiates “single” episodes from “twin” ones. Using an event analysis methodology, we study the behavior around crises of variables describing the balance sheet interconnection between the banking and public sectors, the characteristics of the banking sector, the state of public finances, and the macroeconomic context. We find that there are systematic differences between “single” and “twin” crises across all these dimensions. Additionally, we find that “twin” crises are heterogeneous events: taking into account the proper time sequence of crises that compose “twin” episodes is important for understanding their drivers, transmission channels and economic consequences. Our results shed light on the mechanisms surrounding feedback loops of sovereign and banking stress.

 

No. 183

Capital Goods Trade and Economic Development PDF
Piyusha Mutreja, B. Ravikumar and Michael Sposi
Abstract: Almost 80 percent of capital goods production in the world is concentrated in 10 countries. Poor countries import most of their capital goods. We argue that international trade in capital goods has quantitatively important effects on economic development through two channels: (i) capital formation and (ii) aggregate TFP. We embed a multi country, multi sector Ricardian model of trade into a neoclassical growth model. Barriers to trade result in a misallocation of factors both within and across countries. We calibrate the model to bilateral trade flows, prices, and income per worker. Our model matches several trade and development facts within a unified framework. It is consistent with the world distribution of capital goods production, cross-country differences in investment rate and price of final goods, and cross-country equalization of price of capital goods and marginal product of capital. The cross-country income differences decline by more than 50 percent when distortions to trade are eliminated, with 80 percent of the change in each country’s income attributable to change in capital. Autarky in capital goods results in an income loss of 17 percent for poor countries, with all of the loss stemming from decreased capital.

 

No. 182

Very Long-Run Discount Rates PDF
Stefano Giglio, Matteo Maggiori and Johannes Stroebel
Abstract: We provide direct estimates of how agents trade off immediate costs and uncertain future benefits that occur in the very long run, 100 or more years away. We exploit a unique feature of housing markets in the U.K. and Singapore, where residential property ownership takes the form of either leaseholds or freeholds. Leaseholds are temporary, pre-paid, and tradable ownership contracts with maturities between 99 and 999 years, while freeholds are perpetual ownership contracts. The difference between leasehold and freehold prices reflects the present value of perpetual rental income starting at leasehold expiry, and is thus informative about very long-run discount rates. We estimate the price discounts for varying leasehold maturities compared to freeholds and extremely long-run leaseholds via hedonic regressions using proprietary datasets of the universe of transactions in each country. Agents discount very long-run cash flows at low rates, assigning high present values to cash flows hundreds of years in the future. For example, 100-year leaseholds are valued at more than 10% less than otherwise identical freeholds, implying discount rates below 2.6% for 100-year claims. Given the riskiness of rents, this suggests that both long-run riskfree discount rates and long-run risk premia are low. We show how the estimated very long-run discount rates are informative for climate change policy.

 

No. 181

International Capital Flows and the Boom-Bust Cycle in Spain PDF
Jan In’t Veld, Robert Kollmann, Beatrice Pataracchia, Marco Ratto and Werner Roeger
Abstract: We study the joint dynamics of foreign capital flows and real activity during the recent boom- bust cycle of the Spanish economy, using a three-country New Keynesian model with credit- constrained households and firms, a construction sector and a government. We estimate the model using 1995Q1-2013Q2 data for Spain, the rest of the Euro Area (REA) and the rest of the world. We show that falling risk premia on Spanish housing and non-residential capital, a loosening of collateral constraints for Spanish households and firms, as well as a fall in the interest rate spread between Spain and the REA fuelled the Spanish output boom and the persistent rise in foreign capital flows to Spain, before the global financial crisis. During and after the global financial crisis, falling house prices, and a tightening of collateral constraints for Spanish borrowers contributed to a sharp reduction in capital inflows, and to the persistent slump in Spanish real activity. The credit crunch was especially pronounced for Spanish households; firm credit constraints tightened later and more gradually, and contributed much less to the slump.

 

No. 180

Theory and Practice of GVAR Modeling PDF
Alexander Chudik and M. Hashem Pesaran
Abstract: The Global Vector Autoregressive (GVAR) approach has proven to be a very useful approach to analyze interactions in the global macroeconomy and other data networks where both the cross-section and the time dimensions are large. This paper surveys the latest developments in the GVAR modeling, examining both the theoretical foundations of the approach and its numerous empirical applications. We provide a synthesis of existing literature and highlight areas for future research.

 

No. 179

The Role of Direct Flights in Trade Costs PDF
Demet Yilmazkuday and Hakan Yilmazkuday
Abstract: The role of direct flights in trade costs is investigated by introducing and using a micro price data set on 49 goods across 433 international cities covering 114 countries. It is shown that having at least one direct flight reduces trade costs by about 1,400 miles in distance equivalent terms, while an international border increases trade costs by about 14,907 miles; hence, the positive effects of having at least one direct flight between any two cities can compensate for about 10% of the negative effects of an average international border. Trade costs also decrease with the number of direct flights: on average, one direct flight reduces trade costs by about 305 miles in distance equivalent terms, which corresponds to 7% of the average distance and can compensate for about 2% of the negative effects of an average international border. The results are shown to be robust to alternative empirical strategies.

 

No. 178

Credit Booms, Banking Crises, and the Current Account PDF
J. Scott Davis, Adrienne Mack, Wesley Phoa and Anne Vandenabeele
Abstract: What is the marginal effect of an increase in the private sector debt-to-GDP ratio on the probability of a banking crisis? This paper shows that the marginal effect of rising debt levels depends on an economy's external position. When the current account is in surplus or in balance, the marginal effect of an increase in debt is rather small; a 10 percentage point increase in the private sector debt-to-GDP ratio increases the probability of a crisis by about 1 to 2 percentage points. However, when the economy is running a sizable current account deficit, implying that any increase in the debt ratio is financed through foreign borrowing, this marginal effect can be large. When a country has a current account deficit of 10% of GDP (which is similar to the value in the Eurozone periphery on the eve of the recent crisis) a 10 percentage point increase in the private sector debt ratio leads to a 10 percentage point increase in the probability of a crisis.

 

No. 177

Error Correction Dynamics of House Prices: An Equilibrium Benchmark PDF
Charles Ka Yui Leung
Abstract: Central to recent debates on the "mis-pricing" in the housing market and the proactive policy of central bank is the determination of the "fundamental house price." This paper builds a dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) model that produces reduced-form dynamics that are consistent with the error-correction models proposed by Malpezzi (1999) and Capozza et al (2004). The dynamics of equilibrium house prices are tied to the dynamics of the house-price-to-income ratio. This paper also shows that house prices and incomes should be co-integrated, and hence provides a justification of using co-integration tests to detect possible "mis-pricing" in the housing market.

 

No. 176

What Drives the German Current Account? And How Does it Affect Other EU Member States? PDF
Robert Kollmann, Marco Ratto, Werner Roeger, Jan in’t Veld and Lukas Vogel
Abstract: We estimate a three-country model using 1995-2013 data for Germany, the Rest of the Euro Area (REA) and the Rest of the World (ROW) to analyze the determinants of Germany’s current account surplus after the launch of the Euro. The most important factors driving the German surplus were positive shocks to the German saving rate and to ROW demand for German exports, as well as German labour market reforms and other positive German aggregate supply shocks. The convergence of REA interest rates to German rates due to the creation of the Euro only had a modest effect on the German current account and on German real activity. The key shocks that drove the rise in the German current account tended to worsen the REA trade balance, but had a weak effect on REA real activity. Our analysis suggests these driving factors are likely to be slowly eroded, leading to a very gradual reduction of the German current account surplus. An expansion in German government consumption and investment would raise German GDP and reduce the current account surplus, but the effects on the surplus are likely to be weak.

 

No. 175

Banking on Seniority: The IMF and the Sovereign’s Creditors PDF
Aitor Erce
Abstract: The programs designed by the International Monetary Fund during the Global Financial Crisis have shown more awareness of the importance of domestic demand for the prospects of economic recovery. Yet, the IMF has continued to do little about the late payments made by governments to domestic creditors and suppliers. In contrast, the greater protection historically awarded by the IMF to foreign creditors has endured throughout the recent crisis. The paper suggests that, in order to adequately balance foreign creditor seniority and growth objectives, the IMF may sometimes need to emphasize equitable burden-sharing across categories of creditors rather than privilege the interests of international bond markets.

 

No. 174

Inflation Targeting and the Anchoring of Inflation Expectations: Cross-country Evidence from Consensus Forecasts PDF
J. Scott Davis
Abstract: Using survey data of inflation expectations across a 36 developed and developing countries, this paper examines whether the adoption of inflation targeting has helped to anchor inflation expectations. We examine the response of inflation expectations following a shock to inflation, inflation expectations, and oil prices. For the 13 countries that adopted inflation targeting midway through the time period used in this study, there is a significant difference in the responses between the earlier and the later subperiods. A shock leads to a positive, significant, and persistent increase inflation expectations in the earlier, pre-targeting subperiod, but the same response is much less significant and persistent in the later, posttargeting subperiod. For the control group of 23 countries that did not adopt inflation targeting during this time period, there is no difference between responses in the earlier and the later sub-periods.

 

No. 173

Minimum Wages and Firm Employment: Evidence from China PDF
Yi Huang, Prakash Loungani and Gewei Wang
Abstract: This paper studies how minimum wage policies affect firm employment in China using a unique county level minimum wage data set matched to disaggregated firm survey data. We investigate both the effect of imposing a minimum wage, and the effect of the policies that tightened enforcement in 2004. We find that the average effect of minimum wage changes is modest and positive, and that there is a detectable effect after enforcement reform. Firms have heterogeneous responses to minimum wage changes which can be accounted for by differences in their wage levels and profit margins: firms with high wages or large profit margin increase employment, while those with low wages or small profit margin downsize. The increase in enforcement of China’s minimum wage in 2004 has since amplified this heterogeneity, which implies that labor regulation may reduce the monopsony rent of firms. Our results provide evidence for the theoretical predictions of the positive minimum wage employment relationship in a monopolistic labor market.

 

No. 172

Trade Linkages and the Globalisation of Inflation in Asia and the Pacific PDF
Raphael Auer and Aaron Mehrotra
Abstract: Some observers argue that increased real integration has led to greater co-movement of prices internationally. We examine the evidence for cross-border price spillovers among economies participating in the pan-Asian cross-border production networks. Starting with country-level data, we find that both producer price and consumer price inflation rates move more closely together between those Asian economies that trade more with one another, ie that share a higher degree of trade intensity. Next, using a novel data set based on the World Input-Output Database (WIOD), we examine the importance of the supply chain for cross-border price spillovers at the sectoral level. We document the increasing importance of imported intermediate inputs for economies in the Asia-Pacific region and examine the impact on domestic producer prices of changes in costs of imported intermediate inputs. Our results suggest that real integration through the supply chain matters for domestic price dynamics in the Asia-Pacific region.

 

No. 171

Capital Controls as an Instrument of Monetary Policy PDF
Scott Davis and Ignacio Presno
Abstract: Large swings in capital flows into and out of emerging markets can potentially lead to excessive volatility in asset prices and credit supply. In order to lessen the impact of capital flows on financial instability, a number of researchers and policy markers have recently proposed the use of capital controls. This paper considers the benefit of adding capital controls as a potential instrument of monetary policy in a small open economy. In a DSGE framework, we find that when domestic agents are subject to collateral constraints and the value of collateral is subject to fluctuations driven by foreign capital inflows and outflows, the adoption of temporary capital controls can lead to a significant welfare improvement. The benefits of capital controls are present even when monetary policy is determined optimally, implying that there may be a role for capital controls to exist side-by-side with conventional monetary tools as an instrument of monetary policy.

 

No. 170

Monetary Policy Shocks and Foreign Investment Income: Evidence from a Large Bayesian VAR PDF
Simone Auer
Abstract: This paper assesses the transmission of monetary policy in a large Bayesian vector autoregression based on the approach proposed by Banbura, Giannone and Reichlin (2010). The paper analyzes the impact of monetary policy shocks in the United States and Canada not only on a range of domestic aggregates, trade flows, and exchange rates, but also foreign investment income. The analysis provides three main results. First, a surprise monetary policy action has a statistically and economically significant impact on both gross and net foreign investment income flows in both countries. Against the background of growing foreign wealth and investment income, this result provides preliminary evidence that foreign balance-sheet channels might play an increasingly important role for monetary transmission. Second, the impact of monetary policy on foreign investment income flows differs considerably across asset categories and over time, suggesting that the investment instruments and the currency denomination of a country’s foreign assets and liabilities are potentially relevant for the way in which monetary policy affects the domestic economy. Finally, the results support existing evidence on the effectiveness of large vector autoregressions and the Bayesian shrinkage approach in addressing the curse of dimensionality and eliminating price and exchange rate puzzles.

 

No. 169

A Contribution to the Chronology of Turning Points in Global Economic Activity (1980-2012) PDF
Valerie Grossman, Adrienne Mack and Enrique Martínez-García
Abstract: The Database of Global Economic Indicators (DGEI) of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas is aimed at standardizing and disseminating world economic indicators for the study of globalization. It includes a core sample of 40 countries with available indicators and broad coverage for quarterly real GDP, and the monthly series of industrial production (IP), Purchasing Managers Index (PMI), merchandise exports and imports, headline CPI, CPI (ex. food and energy), PPI/WPI inflation, nominal and real exchange rates, and official/policy interest rates (see Grossman, Mack, and Martínez-García (2013)). This paper aims to codify in a systematic way the chronology of global business cycles for DGEI. We propose a novel chronology based on IP data for a sample of 84 countries at a monthly frequency from 1980 until now, and assess the turning points obtained as a signal of the underlying state of the economy as tracked by the indicators of DGEI. We conclude by proposing and also evaluating global recession probability forecasts up to 12 months ahead. The logit model proposed uses the DGEI aggregate indicators to offer advanced warning of turning point in the global cycle—by this metric a global downturn in 2013 does not appear likely.

 

No. 168

Vertical Integration and Supplier Finance PDF
Erasmus Kersting and Holger Görg
Abstract: We investigate the financial implications of a multinational firm's choice between outsourcing and integration from the perspective of the supplier. Using a simple model, we explore the extent to which an integrated supplier's access to finance, as well as its sources of funding, change relative to a firm supplying a multinational at arm's-length. The model predicts that integrated firms have better access to finance and cover a larger share of their costs using internal funds. Furthermore, improvements in a host country's level of financial development have less of an impact on the financial situation of integrated suppliers. We present empirical evidence from firm-level data for over 60 countries broadly supporting the predictions.

 

No. 167

The Boy Who Cried Bubble: Public Warnings against Riding Bubbles PDF
Yasushi Asako and Kozo Ueda
Abstract: Attempts by governments to stop bubbles by issuing warnings seem unsuccessful. This paper examines the effects of public warnings using a simple model of riding bubbles. We show that public warnings against a bubble can stop it if investors believe that a warning is issued in a definite range of periods commencing around the starting period of the bubble. If a warning involves the possibility of being issued too early, regardless of the starting period of the bubble, it cannot stop the bubble immediately. Bubble duration can be shortened by a premature public warning, but lengthened if it is late. Our model suggests that governments need to lower the probability of spurious warnings.

 

No. 166

Database of Global Economic Indicators (DGEI): A Methodological Note PDF
Valerie Grossman, Adrienne Mack and Enrique Martínez-García
Abstract: The Database of Global Economic Indicators (DGEI) from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas is aimed at standardizing and disseminating world economic indicators for policy analysis and scholarly work on the role of globalization. The purpose of DGEI is to offer a broad perspective on how economic developments around the world influence the U.S. economy with a wide selection of indicators. DGEI is automated within an Excel-VBA and E-views framework for the processing and aggregation of multiple country time series. It includes a core sample of 40 countries with available indicators and broad coverage. Country groupings include rest of the world (ex. the U.S.) aggregates and subgroups of countries by development attainment and trade openness. The indicators currently tracked include real GDP, industrial production (IP), Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), merchandise exports and imports, headline CPI, CPI (ex. food and energy), PPI/WPI inflation, nominal and real exchange rates, and official/policy interest rates. All series are monthly, with the exception of real GDP which is reported at a quarterly frequency. Aggregation is based on trade shares with the U.S. The Globalization and Monetary Policy Institute publishes the aggregate indicators as well as additional country detail on its website with an accompanying slideshow on Global Economic Conditions. This note provides a technical description of the methodology implemented to construct the DGEI.

 

No. 165

Monitoring Housing Markets for Episodes of Exuberance: An Application of the Phillips et al. (2012, 2013) GSADF Test on the Dallas Fed International House Price Database PDF
Efthymios Pavlidis, Alisa Yusupova, Ivan Paya, David Peel, Enrique Martínez-García, Adrienne Mack and Valerie Grossman
Abstract: The detection of explosive behavior in house prices and the implementation of early warning diagnosis tests are of great importance for policy-making. This paper applies the GSADF test developed by Phillips et al. (2012) and Phillips et al. (2013), a novel procedure for testing, detection and date-stamping of explosive behavior, to the data from the Dallas Fed International House Price Database documented in Mack and Martínez-García (2011). We discuss the use of the GSADF test to monitor international housing markets. We assess the international boom and bust cycle experienced during the past 15 years through this lens— with special attention to the United States, the United Kingdom, and Spain. Our empirical results suggest that these three countries experienced a period of exuberance in housing prices during the late 90s and the first half of the 2000s that cannot be attributed solely to the behavior of fundamentals. Looking at all 22 countries covered in the International House Price Database, we detect a pattern of synchronized explosive behavior during the last international house boom-bust episode not seen before.

 

No. 164

Testing for Bubbles in Housing Markets: New Results Using a New Method PDF
José E. Gómez-González, Jair N. Ojeda-Joya, Catalina Rey-Guerra and Natalia Sicard
Abstract: In the context of financial crises influenced by the development and burst of housing price bubbles, the detection of exuberant behaviors in the financial market and the implementation of early warning diagnosis tests are of vital importance. This paper applies the new method developed by Phillips et al (2012) for detecting bubbles in the Colombian residential property market. The empirical results suggest that currently the country could be experiencing a price bubble, when the CPI and the housing rent index are used as deflators. We do not check the robustness of these results to alternative deflators, such as a household income index and a land price index, due to the lack of monthly data on these indicators.

 

No. 163

Institutional Quality, the Cyclicality of Monetary Policy and Macroeconomic Volatility PDF
Roberto Duncan
Abstract: In contrast to industrialized countries, emerging market economies are characterized by proor acyclical monetary policies and high output volatility. This paper argues that those facts can be related to a long-run feature of the economy - namely, its institutional quality (IQL). The paper presents evidence that supports the link between an index of IQL (law and order, government stability, investment profile, etc.), and (i) the cyclicality of monetary policy, and (ii) the volatilities of output and the nominal interest rate. In a DSGE model, foreign investors that choose a portfolio of direct investment and lending to domestic agents, face a probability of partial confiscation which works as a proxy that captures IQL. The economy is hit by external shocks to demand for home goods and productivity shocks while its central bank seeks to stabilize inflation and output. In the long run, a lower IQL tends to discourage external liabilities. If there is a positive external demand shock, we observe an increase in output and real appreciation. The latter operates through two opposite channels. First, it directly increases the opportunity cost of leisure generating incentives to expand labor supply. Second, it reduces the real value of the debt denominated in foreign currency which stimulates consumption but contracts the labor supply. If the IQL is low, the economy attracts fewer loans for domestic consumers and shows a lower debt-to-consumption ratio in the steady state. This implies that the reduction of the real value of the debt caused by the real appreciation is smaller. Given this low wealth effect, the real appreciation leads to an expansion of the labor supply. Wages drop and inflation diminishes. The central bank reacts by cutting its policy rate to stabilize inflation and generates a negative comovement between output and the nominal interest rate (procyclical policy). As a corollary, negative correlations between policy rates and output are not necessarily an indicator of destabilizing polices even in the presence of demand shocks.

 

No. 162

Debt, Inflation and Growth Robust Estimation of Long-Run Effects in Dynamic Panel Data Models PDF
Alexander Chudik, Kamiar Mohaddes, Hashem Pesaran and Mehdi Raissi
Abstract: This paper investigates the long-run effects of public debt and inflation on economic growth. Our contribution is both theoretical and empirical. On the theoretical side, we develop a cross-sectionally augmented distributed lag (CS-DL) approach to the estimation of long-run effects in dynamic heterogeneous panel data models with cross-sectionally dependent errors. The relative merits of the CS-DL approach and other existing approaches in the literature are discussed and illustrated with small sample evidence obtained by means of Monte Carlo simulations. On the empirical side, using data on a sample of 40 countries over the 1965-2010 period, we find significant negative long-run effects of public debt and inflation on growth. Our results indicate that, if the debt to GDP ratio is raised and this increase turns out to be permanent, then it will have negative effects on economic growth in the long run. But if the increase is temporary then there are no long-run growth effects so long as debt to GDP is brought back to its normal level. We do not find a universally applicable threshold effect in the relationship between public debt and growth. We only find statistically significant threshold effects in the case of countries with rising debt to GDP ratios.

 

No. 161

Is the Net Worth of Financial Intermediaries More Important than That of Non-Financial Firms? PDF
Naohisa Hirakata, Nao Sudo and Kozo Ueda
Abstract: To explore the relative macroeconomic importance of financial intermediaries' (FIs’) net worth to that of non-financial firms (entrepreneurs), we extend the financial accelerator model of Bernanke, et al. (1999), such that both FIs’ and entrepreneurs rely on costly external debt. Our model, which is calibrated to the U.S. economy, highlights two features of the FIs’ net worth. First, the relative size of FIs' net worth as compared to entrepreneurial net worth, namely, the net- worth distribution in the economy, is important for the financial accelerator effect. Second, a shock to the FIs' net worth has greater aggregate impact than that to entrepreneurial net worth. The key reason for these findings is the low net worth of FIs’ in the United States. Our results imply that the ongoing regulatory reforms that protect banks' net worth from irrational exuberance or foster its accumulation are beneficial for macroeconomic stability.

 

No. 160

U.S. Business Cycles, Monetary Policy and the External Finance Premium PDF
Enrique Martínez-García
Abstract: I investigate a model of the U.S. economy with nominal rigidities and a financial accelerator mechanism à la Bernanke et al. (1999). I calculate total factor productivity and monetary policy deviations for the U.S. and quantitatively explore the ability of the model to account for the cyclical patterns of GDP (excluding government), investment, consumption, the share of hours worked, inflation and the quarterly interest rate spread between the Baa corporate bond yield and the 20-year Treasury bill rate during the Great Moderation. I show that the magnitude and cyclicality of the external finance premium depend nonlinearly on the degree of price stickiness (or lack thereof) in the Bernanke et al. (1999) model and on the specification of both the target Taylor (1993) rate for policy and the exogenous monetary shock process. The strong countercyclicality of the external finance premium induces substitution away from consumption and into investment in periods where output grows above its long-run trend as the premium tends to fall below its steady state and financing investment becomes temporarily cheaper. The less frequently prices change in this environment, the more accentuated the fluctuations of the external finance premium are and the more dominant they become on the dynamics of investment, hours worked and output. However, these features—the countercyclicality and large volatility of the spread—are counterfactual and appear to be a key impediment limiting the ability of the model to account for the U.S. data over the Great Moderation period.

 

No. 159

Micro Price Dynamics During Japan's Lost Decades PDF
Nao Sudo, Kozo Ueda and Kota Watanabe
Abstract: We study micro price dynamics and their macroeconomic implications using daily scanner data from 1988 to 2013. We provide five facts. First, posted prices in Japan are ten times as flexible as those in the U.S. scanner data. Second, regular prices are almost as flexible as those in the U.S. and Euro area. Third, the heterogeneity of frequency and size of price change across products is sizable and maintained throughout the sample period. Fourth, during Japan's lost decades, temporary sales have played an increasingly important role in households' consumption expenditure. Fifth, the frequency of upward regular price revisions and the frequency of sales are significantly correlated with the macroeconomic environment in particular indicators associated with a labor market while other components of price changes are not.

 

No. 158

A Shopkeeper Economy PDF
Daniel P. Murphy
Abstract: This paper investigates the properties of an economy populated by shopkeepers who monopolistically provide differentiated services at zero marginal cost but positive fixed costs. In this setting, equilibrium output and wealth depend on consumer demand rather than available supply. The “shopkeeper economy” is compared to a standard production-based economy in which wealth is a function only of labor supply and technology. I demonstrate that the existence of producers who face only fixed costs provides a counterexample to the notion that “supply creates its own demand.”

 

No. 157

How Does Government Spending Stimulate Consumption? PDF
Daniel P. Murphy
Abstract: Recent empirical work finds that government spending shocks cause aggregate consumption to increase over the business cycle, contrary to the predictions of Neoclassical and New Keynesian models. This paper proposes a mechanism to account for the consumption increase that builds on the framework of imperfect information in Lucas (1972) and Lorenzoni (2009). In my model, owners of firms targeted by an increase in government spending perceive an increase in their permanent income relative to their future tax liabilities. Owners of firms not targeted remain unaware of the implicit increase in future tax liabilities, causing aggregate consumption to increase. A testable implication of the proposed model is that the value of firms should increase, implying all else equal an increase in aggregate stock returns. This prediction of the model is shown to be consistent with empirical evidence.

 

No. 156

Why are Goods and Services more Expensive in Rich Countries? Demand Complementarities and Cross-Country Price Differences PDF
Daniel P. Murphy
Abstract: Empirical studies show that tradable consumption goods are more expensive in rich countries. This paper proposes a simple yet novel explanation for this apparent failure of the law of one price: Consumers’ utility from tradable goods depends on their consumption of complementary goods and services. Monopolistically competitive firms charge higher prices in countries with more complementary goods and services because consumer demand is less elastic there. The paper embeds this explanation within a static Krugman (1980)-style model of international trade featuring differentiated tradable goods. Extended versions of the model can also account for the high prices of nontradable services in rich countries. The paper provides direct evidence in support of this new explanation. Using free-alongside-ship prices of U.S. and Chinese exports, I demonstrate that prices of specific subsets of tradable goods are higher in countries with high consumption of relevant complementary goods, conditional on per capita income and other country-level determinants of consumer goods prices.

 

No. 155

Is Monetary Policy a Science? The Interaction of Theory and Practice Over the Last 50 Years PDF
William R. White
Abstract: In recent decades, the declarations of “independent” central banks and the conduct of monetary policy have been assigned an ever increasing role in the pursuit of economic and financial stability. This is curious since there is, in practice, no body of scientific knowledge (evidence based beliefs) solid enough to have ensured agreement among central banks on the best way to conduct monetary policy. Moreover, beliefs pertaining to every aspect of monetary policy have also changed markedly and repeatedly. This paper documents how the objectives of monetary policy, the optimal exchange rate framework, beliefs about the transmission mechanism, the mechanism of political oversight, and many other aspects of domestic monetary frameworks have all been subject to great flux over the last fifty years. The paper also suggests ways in which the current economic and financial crisis seems likely to affect the conduct of monetary policy in the future. One possibility is that it might lead to yet another fundamental reexamination of our beliefs about how best to conduct monetary policy in an increasingly globalized world. The role played by money and credit, the interactions between price stability and financial stability, the possible medium term risks generated by “ultra easy” monetary policies, and the facilitating role played by the international monetary (non) system all need urgent attention. The paper concludes that, absent the degree of knowledge required about its effects, monetary policy is currently being relied on too heavily in the pursuit of “strong, balanced and sustainable growth.”

 

No. 154

Commodity House Prices PDF
Charles Ka Yui Leung, Song Shi and Edward Tang
Abstract: This paper studies how commodity price movements have affected local house prices in commodity-dependent economies, Australia and New Zealand. We build a geographically hierarchical empirical model and find that commodity prices influence local house prices directly and also indirectly through macroeconomic variables. While commodity price changes function more like “income shocks” rather than “cost shocks” in both Australia and New Zealand, regional heterogeneity is also observed in terms of differential dynamic responses of local house prices to energy versus non-energy commodity price movements. The results are robust to alternative approaches. Directions for future research are also discussed.

 

No. 153

Large Panel Data Models with Cross-Sectional Dependence: A Survey PDF
Alexander Chudik and M. Hashem Pesaran
Abstract: This paper provides an overview of the recent literature on estimation and inference in large panel data models with cross-sectional dependence. It reviews panel data models with strictly exogenous regressors as well as dynamic models with weakly exogenous regressors. The paper begins with a review of the concepts of weak and strong cross-sectional dependence, and discusses the exponent of cross-sectional dependence that characterizes the different degrees of cross-sectional dependence. It considers a number of alternative estimators for static and dynamic panel data models, distinguishing between factor and spatial models of cross-sectional dependence. The paper also provides an overview of tests of independence and weak cross-sectional dependence.

 

No. 152

Price Indexation, Habit Formation, and the Generalized Taylor Principle PDF
Saroj Bhattarai, Jae Won Lee and Woong Yong Park
Abstract: We prove that the Generalized Taylor Principle, under which the nominal interest rate reacts more than one-for-one to inflation in the long run, is a necessary and (under some extra mild restrictions on parameters) sufficient condition for determinacy in a sticky price model with positive steady-state inflation, interest rate smoothing in monetary policy, partial dynamic price indexation, and habit formation in consumption.

 

No. 151

International Reserves and Rollover Risk PDF
Javier Bianchi and Juan Carlos Hatchondo
Abstract: This paper provides a theoretical framework for quantitatively investigating the optimal accumulation of international reserves as a hedge against rollover risk. We study a dynamic model of endogenous default in which the government faces a tradeoff between the insurance benefits of reserves and the cost of keeping larger gross debt positions. A calibrated version of our model is able to rationalize large holdings of international reserves, as well as the procyclicality of reserves and gross debt positions. Model simulations are also consistent with spread dynamics and other key macroeconomic variables in emerging economies. The benefits of insurance arrangements and the effects of restricting the use of reserves after default are also analyzed.

 

No. 150

Optimal Monetary Policy in a Currency Union With Interest Rate Spreads PDF
Saroj Bhattarai, Jae Won Lee and Woong Yong Park
Abstract: We introduce “financial imperfections” - asymmetric net wealth positions, incomplete risksharing, and interest rate spread across member countries - in a prototypical two-country currency union model and study implications for monetary policy transmission mechanism and optimal policy. In addition to, and independent from, the standard transmission mechanism associated with nominal rigidities, financial imperfections introduce a wealth redistribution role for monetary policy. Moreover, the two mechanisms reinforce each other and amplify the effects of monetary policy. On the normative side, financial imperfections, via interactions with nominal rigidities, generate two novel policy trade-offs. First, the central bank needs to pay attention to distributional efficiency in addition to macroeconomic (and price level) stability, which implies that a strict inflation targeting policy of setting union-wide inflation to zero is never optimal. Second, the interactions lead to a trade-off in stabilizing relative consumption versus the relative price gap (the deviation of relative prices from their efficient level) across countries, which implies that the central bank allows for less flexibility in relative prices. Finally, we consider how the central bank should respond to a financial shock that causes an increase in the interest rate spread. Under optimal policy, the central bank strongly decreases the deposit rate, which reduces aggregate and distributional inefficiencies by mitigating the drop in output and inflation and the rise in relative consumption and prices. Such a policy response can be well approximated by a spreadadjusted Taylor rule as it helps the real interest rate track the efficient rate of interest.

 

No. 149

Heterogeneous Bank Loan Responses to Monetary Policy and Bank Capital Shocks: A VAR Analysis Based on Japanese Disaggregated Data PDF
Naohisa Hirakata, Yoshihiko Hogen, Nao Sudo and Kozo Ueda
Abstract: In this paper, we study bank loan responses to monetary policy and bank capital shocks using Japan’s disaggregated data sorted by borrower firms’ size and industry. Employing a block recursive VAR, we demonstrate that bank loan responses exhibit large sectoral heterogeneity. Among a broad range of indicators about borrower firms’ characteristics, the heterogeneity is tightly linked to borrower firms’ liability conditions. Firms with a lower capital ratio tend to experience larger drops in bank loans following a contractionary monetary policy shock and/or a negative bank capital shock. In addition, we find that firms’ substitution motive from alternative financial measures also explains the heterogeneity, while the firms’ inventory motive that is stressed in the empirical literature for U.S. banks does not. Our results indicate the importance of considering a compositional shift of bank loans across borrower firms in implementing accommodative monetary policy and capital injection policy.

 

No. 148

Large Global Volatility Shocks, Equity Markets and Globalisation: 1885-2011 PDF
Arnaud Mehl
Abstract: I estimate the transmission of large global volatility shocks in international equity markets from the earlier (pre-1914) to the modern era of globalisation. To that end, I identify 43 such shocks over the period 1885-2011, defined as significant increases in unanticipated volatility in US equity markets, which I relate to well-known historical events. My estimates suggest that the response of global equity markets to these shocks in a panel of 16 countries is both statistically significant and large economically. On average, global equity market valuations correct by about 20% in the month when a shock occurs. There is substantial heterogeneity in responses both across countries and time, however, which can be partly explained by differences in global trade integration. I find no evidence that other potential theoretical determinants, such as output composition, country fundamentals or global policy responses matter, by contrast. These results shed light on a neglected aspect of globalisation, which creates opportunities but also heightens the exposure of economies to acute surges in global uncertainty and risk aversion.

 

No. 147

Tractable Latent State Filtering for Non-Linear DSGE Models Using a Second-Order Approximation PDF
Robert Kollmann
Abstract: This paper develops a novel approach for estimating latent state variables of Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium (DSGE) models that are solved using a second-order accurate approximation. I apply the Kalman filter to a state-space representation of the second-order solution based on the ‘pruning’ scheme of Kim, Kim, Schaumburg and Sims (2008). By contrast to particle filters, no stochastic simulations are needed for the filter here--the present method is thus much faster. In Monte Carlo experiments, the filter here generates more accurate estimates of latent state variables than the standard particle filter. The present filter is also more accurate than a conventional Kalman filter that treats the linearized model as the true data generating process. Due to its high speed, the filter presented here is suited for the estimation of model parameters; a quasi-maximum likelihood procedure can be used for that purpose.

 

No. 146

Common Correlated Effects Estimation of Heterogeneous Dynamic Panel Data Models with Weakly Exogenous Regressors PDF
Supplement PDF
Alexander Chudik and M. Hashem Pesaran
Abstract: This paper extends the Common Correlated Effects (CCE) approach developed by Pesaran (2006) to heterogeneous panel data models with lagged dependent variable and/or weakly exogenous regressors. We show that the CCE mean group estimator continues to be valid but the following two conditions must be satisfied to deal with the dynamics: a sufficient number of lags of cross section averages must be included in individual equations of the panel, and the number of cross section averages must be at least as large as the number of unobserved common factors. We establish consistency rates, derive the asymptotic distribution, suggest using co-variates to deal with the effects of multiple unobserved common factors, and consider jackknife and recursive de-meaning bias correction procedures to mitigate the small sample time series bias. Theoretical findings are accompanied by extensive Monte Carlo experiments, which show that the proposed estimators perform well so long as the time series dimension of the panel is sufficiently large.

 

No. 145

Financial Globalization and Monetary Transmission PDF
Simone Meier
Abstract: This paper analyzes the way in which international financial integration affects the transmission of monetary policy in a New Keynesian open economy framework. It extends Woodford’s (2010) analysis to a model with a richer financial markets structure, allowing for international trading in multiple assets and subject to financial intermediation costs. Two different forms of financial integration are considered, in particular an increase in the level of gross foreign asset holdings and a decrease in the costs of international asset trading. The simulations in the calibrated model show that none of the analyzed forms of financial integration undermine the effectiveness of monetary policy in influencing domestic output and inflation. Under realistic parameterizations, monetary policy is more, rather than less, effective as the positive impact of strengthened exchange rate and wealth channels more than offsets the negative impact of weakened interest rate channels. The paper also analyzes the interaction of financial integration with trade integration, varying both the importance of trade linkages and the degree of exchange rate pass-through. These interactions show that the positive effects of financial integration are amplified by trade integration. Overall, monetary policy is most effective in parameterizations with the highest degree of both financial and real integration.

 

No. 144

A Bargaining Theory of Trade Invoicing and Pricing PDF
Linda Goldberg
Abstract: We develop a theoretical model of international trade pricing in which individual exporters and importers bargain over the transaction price and exposure to exchange rate fluctuations. We find that the choice of price and invoicing currency reflects the full market structure, including the extent of fragmentation and the degree of heterogeneity across importers and across exporters. Our study shows that a party has a higher effective bargaining weight when it is large or more risk tolerant. A higher effective bargaining weight of importers relative to exporters in turn translates into lower import prices and greater exchange rate pass-through into import prices. We show the range of price and invoicing outcomes that arise under alternative market structures. Such structures matter not only for the outcome of specific exporter-importer transactions, but also for aggregate variables such as the average price, the average choice of invoicing currency, and the correlation between invoicing currency and the size of trade transactions.

 

No. 143

Sovereign Debt Restructurings and the IMF: Implications for Future Official Interventions PDF
Aitor Erce
Abstract: This paper studies the role played by the IMF during sovereign debt restructurings and extracts lessons for future official interventions. To do so, I compare twelve recent debt restructurings. I begin by detailing the main features (“restructuring strategies”) of each episode. I then analyze the involvement of the Fund and relate it to the above-cited strategies. Despite the wide heterogeneity both in restructuring strategies and in the scope of IMF’s involvement, the Fund exerted a substantial influence. This influence came, not only through the provision of official finance and by setting an adjustment path through conditionality, but also by providing independent information and influencing countries’ decisions to restructure by providing incentives both to creditors and debtors. My conclusion is that the flexibility that has characterized the role of the IMF so far might have exacerbated uncertainty and induced undesirable strategies from debtors and creditors alike. Thus, the international community could benefit from granting the IMF a more standardized operational role, reducing gambling for resurrection strategies and fostering fairness. Along these lines, I present ideas for reframing the IMF’s engagement in sovereign debt restructurings.

 

No. 142

Sovereign Debt Crises: Could an International Court Minimize Them? PDF
Aitor Erce
Abstract: This paper discusses the merits of the statutory approach to sovereign debt crises. It presents a model of sovereign debt roll-overs where, in the event of a liquidity crisis, a Sovereign Bankruptcy Court has powers to declare a standstill on debt payments. The model shows the ability of the Court to mitigate the coordination problem inherent to roll-overs in sovereign debt markets. Moreover, the scale of the coordination problem is reduced regardless of the quality of the information handled by the Court. The mere existence of the Court forces investors to focus on its course of action rather than on other investors beliefs. Nonetheless, such an entity might affect negatively countries’ incentives to apply costly policies.

 

No. 141

Exchange Rate Pass-through, Firm Heterogeneity and Product Quality: A Theoretical Analysis PDF
Zhi Yu
Abstract: This paper theoretically explores how exchange rate pass-through depends on firm heterogeneity in productivity and product differentiation in quality. Using an extended version of the Melitz and Ottaviano (2008) model, I show that exporting firms absorb exchange rate changes by adjusting both their markups and product quality, which leads to an incomplete exchange rate pass-through. Moreover, the absolute value of exchange rate absorption elasticity (the percentage change in the export prices denominated in the currency of the exporting country in response to a one percent change in the exchange rate rate) negatively depends on firm productivity for products with high scope for quality differentiation, but positively depends on firm productivity for products with low scope for quality differentiation.

 

No. 140

Merchanting and Current Account Balances PDF
Elisabeth Beusch, Barbara Döbeli, Andreas M. Fischer and Pinar Yesin
Abstract: Merchanting is goods trade that does not cross the border of the firm's resident country. Merchanting grew strongly in the last decade in select small open economies and has become an important driver of these countries' current account. Because merchanting firms reinvest their earnings abroad to expand their international activities, this practice raises national savings in the home country without increasing domestic investment. This results in a significantly large current account surplus. To show the empirical links between merchanting and the current account, two exercises are performed in this paper. The first exercise estimates the savings impact of merchanting countries in empirical models of the medium-term current account and shows that merchanting indeed increases the current account. The second exercise shows that merchanting's impact on the country's current account is sensitive to firm mobility.

 

No. 139

Trade Barriers and the Relative Price Tradables PDF
Michael Sposi
Abstract: In this paper I quantitatively address the role of trade barriers in explaining why prices of services relative to tradables are positively correlated with levels of development across countries. I argue that trade barriers play a crucial role in shaping the cross-country pattern of specialization across many heterogenous tradable goods. The pattern of specialization feeds into cross-country productivity differences in the tradables sector and is reflected in the relative price of services. I show that the existing pattern of specialization implies that the tradables-sector productivity gap between rich and poor countries is more than 80 percent larger than it would be under free trade. In turn, removing trade barriers would eliminate 64 percent of the disparity in the relative price of services between rich and poor countries, without systematically altering the cross-country pattern of the absolute price of tradables.

 

No. 138

Spatial Considerations on the PPP Debate PDF
Michele Ca'Zorzi and Alexander Chudik
Abstract: This paper studies the influence of aggregating across space when (i) testing the PPP theory or more generally pair-wise cointegration and (ii) evaluating the PPP puzzle. Our contribution is threefold: we show that aggregating foreign data and applying an ADF test may lead to erroneously reject the PPP hypothesis. We then show, on the basis of theoretical arguments as well as Monte Carlo experiments, that a sizable bias in the estimates of half-life deviations to PPP may be due to the effect of aggregation across space. We finally illustrate empirically the importance of spatial considerations when estimating the speed of price convergence among euro area countries.

 

No. 137

Distribution Capital and the Short- and Long-Run Import Demand Elasticity PDF
Mario J. Crucini and J. Scott Davis
Abstract: International business-cycle models assume that home and foreign goods are poor substitutes. International trade models assume they are close substitutes. This paper constructs a model where this discrepancy is due to frictions in distribution. Imports need to be combined with a local non-traded input, distribution capital, which is slow to adjust. As a result, imported and domestic goods appear as poor substitutes in the short run. In the long run this non-traded input can be reallocated, and quantities can shift following a change in relative prices. Thus the observed substitutability between home and foreign goods gets larger as time passes.

 

No. 136

The GVAR Approach and the Dominance of the U.S. Economy PDF
Alexander Chudik and Vanessa Smith
Abstract: This paper extends the recent literature about global macroeconomic modelling by allowing the presence of a globally dominant economy. Our contribution is both theoretical and empirical. From a theoretical standpoint, we follow Chudik and Pesaran (2011 and 2012) to derive the GVAR approach as an approximation to two Infinite-Dimensional VAR (IVAR) models featuring nonstationary variables: one corresponding to the world consisting of several small open economies (benchmark model), and one corresponding to the world featuring a dominant economy (extended model). It is established that in the presence of a dominant economy, restrictions implied by the asymptotic analysis of a system without a dominant economy are no longer valid. The theoretical framework is then brought to the data by estimating both versions of the GVAR model featuring 33 countries for the period 1979(Q2)–2003(Q4). We found some support for the extended version of the GVAR model, allowing the US to be the dominant player in the world economy.

 

No. 135

International Trade Price Stickiness and Exchange Rate Pass-through in Micro Data: A Case Study on U.S.–China Trade PDF
Mina Kim, Deokwoo Nam, Jian Wang and Jason Wu
Abstract: Price-setting behavior of exporters and exchange rate pass-through (ERPT) are crucial issues in international macroeconomics. This paper studies these topics, using a novel dataset of goods-level US-China trade prices collected by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. We document that the duration of U.S.–China trade prices has declined almost 30 percent since China began appreciating its currency in 2005. A benchmark menu cost model that is calibrated to the data can replicate the documented decrease in price stickiness. We also estimate ERPT of RMB appreciation into U.S. import prices between 2005 and 2008. The lifelong ERPT is close to one for prices that have at least one change, while the pass-through is less than half when all goods are included. The difference in pass-through rates is a result of about one third of the goods never experiencing a price change.

 

No. 134

The Effect of Commodity Price Shocks on Underlying Inflation: The Role of Central Bank Credibility PDF
J. Scott Davis
Abstract: This paper seeks to document and explain the effect of a commodity price shock on underlying core inflation, and how that effect changes both across time and across countries. Impulse responses derived from a structural VAR model show that across many countries there was a break in the response of core inflation to a commodity price shock. In an earlier period, a shock to commodity prices would lead to a large and significant increase in core inflation, but in later periods, the effect was insignificant. To explain this, we construct a large-scale DSGE model with both headline and core inflation, and most significantly, a mechanism whereby fluctuations in inflation caused by purely transitory shocks can become incorporated into long-term inflation expectations. Inflation has a trend and a cyclical component. Private agents cannot distinguish between the two, so a cyclical fluctuation in inflation may be confused for a shift in the trend component. Bayesian estimation reveals that there was a change between the earlier and the later periods in the parameter that governs the anchoring of expectations. Impulse responses derived from simulations of the model show that this change in the effect of commodity prices on core inflation is driven by the change in the anchoring of inflation expectations.

 

No. 133

Efficient Bailouts? PDF
Javier Bianchi
Abstract: This paper develops a non-linear DSGE model to assess the interaction between ex-post interventions in credit markets and the build-up of risk ex ante. During a systemic crisis, bailouts relax balance sheet constraints and mitigate the severity of the recession. Ex ante, the anticipation of such bailouts leads to an increase in risk-taking, making the economy more vulnerable to a financial crisis. The optimal policy requires, in general, a mix of ex-post intervention and ex-ante prudential policy. We also analyze the effects of bailouts on financial stability and welfare in the absence of ex-ante prudential policy. Our results show that the moral hazard effects of bailouts are significantly mitigated by making bailouts contingent on the occurrence of a systemic financial crisis.

 

No. 132

IKEA: Product, Pricing, and Pass-Through PDF
Marianne Baxter and Anthony Landry
Abstract: With over 300 stores in 40 countries, IKEA is a major international presence in retail housewares and furnishings. IKEA publishes country-specific catalogs with local-currency prices guaranteed to hold for 1 year. This paper explores a new dataset of IKEA products and catalog prices covering six countries for the time period 1994–2010. The dataset, with over 140,000 observations, is uniquely poised to shed light on the way in which a large multinational retailer operates in a setting characterized by a very large number of goods, distributed and priced in many countries. Thus, the goal of this paper is to document the choices made by IKEA in several related decision areas. In doing so, this paper provides evidence against which existing theories can be evaluated and revised in the light of this new information.

 

No. 131

Core Import Price Inflation in the United States PDF
Janet Koech and Mark A. Wynne
Abstract: The cross-section distribution of U.S. import prices exhibits some of the fat-tailed characteristics that are well documented for the cross-section distribution of U.S. consumer prices. This suggests that limited-influence estimators of core import price inflation might outperform headline or traditional measures of core import price inflation. We examine whether limited influence estimators of core import price inflation help forecast overall import price inflation. They do not. However, limited influence estimators of core import price inflation do seem to have some predictive power for headline consumer price inflation in the medium term.

 

No. 130

Market Structure and Exchange Rate Pass-Through PDF
Raphael A. Auer and Raphael S. Schoenle
Abstract: In this paper, we examine the extent to which market structure and the way in which it affects pricing decisions of profit-maximizing firms can explain incomplete exchange rate pass-through. To this purpose, we evaluate how pass-through rates vary across trade partners and sectors depending on the mass and size distribution of firms affected by a particular exchange rate shock. In the first step of our analysis, we decompose bilateral exchange rate movements into broad US Dollar (USD) movements and trade-partner currency (TPC) movements. Using micro data on US import prices, we show that the passthrough rate following USD movements is up to four times as large as the pass-through rate following TPC movements and that the rate of pass-through following TPC movements is increasing in the trade partner's sector-specific market share. In the second step, we draw on the parsimonious model of oligopoly pricing featuring variable markups of Dornbusch (1987) and Atkeson and Burstein (2008) to show how the distribution of firms' market shares and origins within a sector affects the trade-partner specific pass-through rate. Third, we calibrate this model using our exchange rate decomposition and information on the origin of firms and their market shares. We find that the calibrated model can explain a substantial part of the variation in import price changes and pass-through rates across sectors, trade partners, and sector-trade partner pairs.

 

No. 129

Price Equalization Does Not Imply Free Trade PDF
Piyusha Mutreja, B. Ravikumar, Raymond Riezman and Michael Sposi
Abstract: In this paper we show that price equalization alone is not sufficient to establish that there are no barriers to international trade. There are many barrier combinations that deliver price equalization, but each combination implies a different volume of trade. Therefore, in order to make statements about trade barriers it is necessary to know the trade flows. We demonstrate this first theoretically in a simple two-country model. We then extend the result quantitatively to a multicountry model with two sectors. We show that for the case of capital goods trade, barriers have to be large in order to be consistent with the observed trade flows. Our model also implies that capital goods prices look similar across countries, an implication that is consistent with data. Zero barriers to trade in capital goods will deliver price equalization in capital goods, but cannot reproduce the observed trade flows in our model.

 

No. 128

Does the IMF's Official Support Affect Sovereign Bonds Maturities? PDF
Aitor Erce
Abstract: This paper looks at whether the tendency of some governments to borrow short term is reinforced by financial support from the International Monetary Fund. I first present a model of sovereign debt issuance at various maturities featuring endogenous liquidity crises and maturity mismatches due to financial under-development. I use the model to analyse the impact of IMF lending during debt crises on the sovereign's optimal maturity structure. Within the model, although IMF assistance is able to catalyse private flows, this provides incentives for government to issue larger amounts of short-term debt, making the roll-over problem larger. I take the model to the data and find support for the hypothesis that IMF lending leads countries to increase their short-term borrowing. Additionally, I do not find any positive effect of IMF lending on countries' ability to tap international capital markets. These results help explain why a catalytic effect of IMF lending has proved empirically elusive.

 

No. 127

Selective Sovereign Defaults PDF
Aitor Erce
Abstract: Breaches in intercreditor equity are common ground during sovereign debt restructurings. In this paper I explore residence-based breaches by studying patterns of discrimination between residents and foreign creditors during debt restructurings. I frame the analysis with a simple model of a government's strategic decision to differentiate between the servicing of its domestic and its external debt. In the model, the basic trade-off facing the authorities is to default on external debt and in so doing restricting private access to international capital markets or to default on domestic debt, thereby curtailing the banking sector's capacity to lend. I test the model's conclusions by analyzing 11 recent sovereign restructurings. After distinguishing neutral cases where the sovereign treated creditors equitably and instances of discrimination against residents and foreigners, I present evidence in support of the model. The origin of liquidity pressures, the robustness and depth of the banking system and the extent of the corporate sector's reliance on foreign capital markets vis-a-vis domestic credit markets have the potential to explain the patterns of discrimination observed in the data.

 

No. 126

Ultra Easy Monetary Policy and the Law of Unintended Consequences PDF
William R. White
Abstract: In this paper, an attempt is made to evaluate the desirability of ultra easy monetary policy by weighing up the balance of the desirable short run effects and the undesirable longer run effects—the unintended consequences. The conclusion is that there are limits to what central banks can do. One reason for believing this is that monetary stimulus, operating through traditional ("flow") channels, might now be less effective in stimulating aggregate demand than previously. Further, cumulative ("stock") effects provide negative feedback mechanisms that over time also weaken both supply and demand. It is also the case that ultra easy monetary policies can eventually threaten the health of financial institutions and the functioning of financial markets, threaten the "independence" of central banks, and can encourage imprudent behavior on the part of governments. None of these unintended consequences is desirable. Since monetary policy is not "a free lunch," governments must therefore use much more vigorously the policy levers they still control to support strong, sustainable and balanced growth at the global level.

 

No. 125

Quality Pricing-To-Market PDF
Raphael A. Auer, Thomas Chaney, Philip Sauré
Abstract: We document that in the European car industry, exchange rate pass-through is larger for low than for high quality cars. To rationalize this pattern, we develop a model of quality pricing and international trade based on the preferences of Mussa and Rosen (1978). Firms sell goods of heterogeneous quality to consumers that differ in their willingness to pay for quality. Each firm produces a unique quality of the good and enjoys local market power, which depends on the prices and qualities of its closest competitors. The market power of a firm depends on the prices and qualities of its direct competitors in the quality dimension. The top quality firm, being exposed to just one direct competitor, enjoys the highest market power and equilibrium markup. Because higher quality exporters are closer to the technological leader, markups are generally increasing in quality, exporting is relatively more profitable for high quality than for low quality firms, and the degree of exchange rate pass-through is decreasing in quality.

 

No. 124

Inflation Dynamics: The Role of Public Debt and Policy Regimes PDF
Saroj Bhattarai, Jae Won Lee and Woong Yong Park
Abstract: We investigate the roles of a time-varying inflation target and monetary and fiscal policy stances on the dynamics of inflation in a DSGE model. Under an active monetary and passive fiscal policy regime, inflation closely follows the path of the inflation target and a stronger reaction of monetary policy to inflation decreases the equilibrium response of inflation to non-policy shocks. In sharp contrast, under an active fiscal and passive monetary policy regime, inflation moves in an opposite direction from the inflation target and a stronger reaction of monetary policy to inflation increases the equilibrium response of inflation to non-policy shocks. Moreover, a weaker response of fiscal policy to debt decreases the response of inflation to non-policy shocks. These results are due to variation in the value of public debt that leads to wealth effects on households. Finally, under a passive monetary and passive fiscal policy regime, both monetary and fiscal policy stances affect inflation dynamics, but because of a role for self-fulfilling beliefs due to equilibrium indeterminacy, theory provides no clear answer on the overall behavior of inflation. We characterize these results analytically in a simple model and numerically in a richer quantitative model.

 

No. 123

Global Slack as a Determinant of U.S. Inflation PDF
Enrique Martínez-García and Mark A. Wynne
Abstract: Resource utilization, or "slack," is widely held to be an important determinant of inflation dynamics. As the world has become more globalized in recent decades, some have argued that the concept of slack that is relevant is global rather than domestic (the "global slack hypothesis"). This line of argument is consistent with standard New Keynesian theory. However, the empirical evidence is fragile, at best, possibly because of a disconnect between empirical and theory-consistent measures of output gaps.

 

No. 122

The Between Firm Effect with Multiproduct Firms PDF
Tuan Anh Luong
Abstract: This paper studies the multi-product firms with two factors of production: unskilled and skilled labor (talent). Creating new products is skill intensive while production is less skill intensive. By introducing these two tasks a firm operates which act as two seemingly sectors, we show here a new effect: an increase in the skilled labor supply, relatively to unskilled labor, could reduce the number of products but increase the average scale per product. The relative strength of this effect depends on the degree of firm heterogeneity and the extent to which we allow multiple product within the firm. Moreover, the survival cut-off can be higher (or lower) if the fixed costs (or the variable costs) are lower. Economic integration influences this survival cut-off-only through the ratio of skilled labor to unskilled labor, but not the market size. This policy is welfare enhancing but the gains might be non uniformly distributed across agents. The paper also sheds light on the pattern of trade with only one industry.

 

No. 121

In the Shadow of the United States: The International Transmission Effect of Asset Returns PDF
Kuang-Liang Chang, Nan-Kuang Chen, Charles Ka Yui Leung
Abstract: We examine how the fluctuations in financial and housing markets in U.S. affect the asset returns and GDP in Hong Kong. In contrast to the results from linear specifications, which concludes that the U.S. and Hong Kong are virtually delinked in terms of the asset markets, our regime-switching models indicate that the unexpected shock of US stock returns, followed by the TED spread, has the most significant effect on HK asset returns and GDP, typically in the regime with high return and low volatility. For the in-sample one-step-ahead forecasting, US Term spread stands out to be the best predictor.

 

No. 120

Global Banks, Financial Shocks and International Business Cycles: Evidence from an Estimated Model PDF
Robert Kollmann
Abstract: This paper estimates a two-country model with a global bank, using U.S. and Euro area (EA) data, and Bayesian methods. The estimated model matches key U.S. and EA business cycle statistics. Empirically, a model version with a bank capital requirement outperforms a structure without such a constraint. A loan loss originating in one country triggers a global output reduction. Banking shocks matter more for EA macro variables than for U.S. real activity. During the Great Recession (2007–09), banking shocks accounted for about 20 percent of the fall in U.S. and EA GDP, and for more than half of the fall in EA investment and employment.

 

No. 119

Modelling Global Trade Flows: Results from a GVAR Model PDF
Matthieu Bussière, Alexander Chudik and Giulia Sestieri
Abstract: This paper uses a Global Vector Auto-Regression (GVAR) model featuring 21 emerging market and advanced economies to investigate the factors behind the dynamics of global trade flows, with a particular view on the issue of global trade imbalances and on the conditions of their unwinding. The GVAR approach enables us to make two key contributions: first, to model international linkages among a large number of countries, which is a key asset given the diversity of countries and regions involved in global imbalances, and second, to model exports and imports jointly. The latter proves to be very important due to the internationalization of production chains. The model can be used to gauge the effect on trade flows of various scenarios, such as an output shock in the United States, a shock to the US real effective exchange rate and shocks to foreign (e.g., German and Chinese) variables. Results indicate that changes in domestic and foreign demand have a much stronger effect on trade flows than changes in relative trade prices. In addition, we show how the model can be used to monitor trade developments, with an application to the Great Trade Collapse.

 

No. 118

Do Good Institutions Promote Counter-Cyclical Macroeconomic Policies? PDF
César Calderón, Roberto Duncan and Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel
Abstract: The literature has argued that developing countries are unable to adopt counter-cyclical monetary and fiscal policies due to financial imperfections and unfavorable politicaleconomy conditions. Using a world sample of 115 industrial and developing countries for 1984–2008, we find that the level of institutional quality plays a key role in countries' ability to implement counter-cyclical macroeconomic policies. The results show that countries with strong (weak) institutions adopt counter- (pro-) cyclical macroeconomic policies, reflected in extended monetary policy and fiscal policy rules. The threshold level of institutional quality at which monetary and fiscal policies are a-cyclical is found to be similar.

 

No. 117

Central Bank Credibility and the Persistence of Inflation and Inflation ExpectationsPDF
J. Scott Davis
Abstract: This paper introduces a model where agents are unsure about the central bank's inflation target. They believe that the central bank's inflation target could lie between two extremes, and their beliefs vary depending on the central bank's stock of credibility. They form the expectations used in price and wage setting using this perceived inflation target, and they use past observations of inflation to update their beliefs about the credibility of the central bank. Thus a series of high inflation observations can lead them to believe (incorrectly) that the central bank has adopted a high target. High inflation expectations are incorporated into price and wage setting decisions, and a transitory shock to inflation can become very persistent. The model with endogenous credibility can match the volatility and persistence of both inflation and measures of long-term inflation expectations that we see in the data. The model is then calibrated to match the observed levels of Federal Reserve credibility in the 1980s and the 2000s. By simply changing the level of credibility, holding all else fixed, the model can explain nearly all of the observed changes in the volatility and persistence of inflation and inflation expectations in the U.S. from the 1980s to today.

 

No. 116

The Few Leading the Many: Foreign Affiliates and Business Cycle ComovementPDF
Jörn Kleinert, Julien Martin and Farid Toubal
Abstract: This paper uses microdata on balance sheets, trade, and the nationality of ownership of firms in France to investigate the effect of foreign multinationals on business cycle comovement. We first show that foreign affiliates, which represent a tiny fraction of all firms, are responsible for a high share of employment, value added, and trade both at the national and at the regional levels. We also show that the distribution of foreign affiliates across regions differs with the nationality of the parent. We then show that foreign affiliates increase the comovement of activities between their region of location and their country of ownership. Moreover, we find greater comovement among French regions that have a more similar composition in terms of the nationality of foreign affiliates. These findings suggest that a non-negligible part of business cycle comovement is driven by a few multinational companies, and that the international transmission of shocks is partly due to linkages between affiliates and their foreign parents.

 

No. 115

Does Foreign Exchange Intervention Volume Matter?PDF
Rasmus Fatum and Yohei Yamamoto
Abstract: We investigate whether foreign exchange intervention volume matters for the exchange rate effects of intervention. Our investigation employs daily data on Japanese interventions from April 1991 to April 2012 and time-series estimations, nontemporal threshold analysis, as well as binary choice models. We find that intervention volume matters for the effects of intervention, but only to the extent that the exchange rate effect per intervention unit is magnified in a linear sense by the larger intervention amount. This is a policy-relevant finding that also adds to our understanding of how intervention works.

 

No. 114

Are Predictable Improvements in TFP Contractionary or Expansionary: Implications from Sectoral TFP?PDF
Deokwoo Nam and Jian Wang
Abstract: We document in the US data: (1) The dominant predictable component of investment-sector TFP is its long-run movements, and a favorable shock to predictable changes in investmentsector TFP induces a broad economic boom that leads actual increases in investment-sector TFP by almost two years, and (2) predictable changes in consumption-sector TFP occur mainly at short forecast horizons, and a favorable shock to such predictable changes leads to immediate reductions in hours worked, investment, and output as well as an immediate rise in consumption-sector TFP. We argue that these documented differences in the responses to shocks to predictable sectoral TFP changes can reconcile the seemingly contradictory findings in Beaudry and Portier (2006) and Barsky and Sims (2011), whose analyses are based on aggregate TFP measures. In addition, we find that shocks to predictable changes in investment-sector TFP account for 50% of business cycle fluctuations in consumption, hours, investment, and output, while shocks to predictable changes in consumption-sector TFP explain only a small fraction of business cycle fluctuations of these aggregate variables.

 

No. 113

Hedging Against the Government: A Solution to the Home Asset Bias PuzzlePDF
Tiago C. Berriel and Saroj Bhattarai
Abstract: This paper explains two puzzling facts: international nominal bonds and equity portfolios are biased domestically. In our two-country model, holding domestic government nominal debt provides a hedge against shocks to bond returns and the impact on taxes they induce. For this result, only two features are essential: some nominal risk and taxes falling only on domestic agents. A third feature explains why agents choose to hold primarily domestic equity: government spending falls on domestic goods. Then, an increase in government spending raises the returns on domestic equity, providing a hedge against the subsequent increase in taxes. These conclusions are robust to a wide range of preference parameter values and the incompleteness of financial markets. A calibrated version of the model predicts asset holdings that quantitatively match the data.

 

No. 112

A Simple Model of Price DispersionPDF
Alexander Chudik
Abstract: This article considers a simple stock-flow matching model with fully informed market participants. Unlike in the standard matching literature, prices are assumed to be set ex-ante. When sellers pre-commit themselves to sell their products at an advertised price, the unique equilibrium is characterized by price dispersion due to the idiosyncratic match payoffs (in a marketplace with full information). This provides new insights into the price dispersion literature, where price dispersion is commonly assumed to be generated by a costly search of uninformed buyers.

 

No. 111

The Perils of Aggregating Foreign Variables in Panel Data ModelsPDF
Michele Ca' Zorzi, Alexander Chudik and Alistair Dieppe
Abstract: The curse of dimensionality refers to the difficulty of including all relevant variables in empirical applications due to the lack of sufficient degrees of freedom. A common solution to alleviate the problem in the context of open economy models is to aggregate foreign variables by constructing trade-weighted cross-sectional averages. This paper provides two key contributions in the context of static panel data models. The first is to show under what conditions the aggregation of foreign variables (AFV) leads to consistent estimates (as the time dimension T is fixed and the cross section dimension N → ∞). The second is to design a formal test to assess the admissibility of the AFV restriction and to evaluate the small sample properties of the test by undertaking Monte Carlo experiments. Finally, we illustrate an application in the context of the current account empirical literature where the AFV restriction is rejected.

 

No. 110

International Reserves and Gross Capital Flows: Dynamics During Financial StressPDF
Enrique Alberola, Aitor Erce and José Maria Serena
Abstract: This paper explores the role of international reserves as a stabilizer of international capital flows during periods of global financial stress. In contrast with previous contributions, aimed at explaining net capital flows, we focus on the behavior of gross capital flows. We analyze an extensive cross-country quarterly database using event analyses and standard panel regressions. We document significant heterogeneity in the response of resident investors to financial stress and relate it to a previously undocumented channel through which reserves are useful during financial stress. International reserves facilitate financial disinvestment overseas by residents, offsetting the simultaneous drop in foreign financing.

 

No. 109

Policy Regimes, Policy Shifts, and U.S. Business CyclesPDF
Saroj Bhattarai, Jae Won Lee and Woong Yong Park
Abstract: Using an estimated DSGE model that features monetary and fiscal policy interactions and allows for equilibrium indeterminacy, we find that a passive monetary and passive fiscal policy regime prevailed in the pre-Volcker period while an active monetary and passive fiscal policy regime prevailed post-Volcker. Since both monetary and fiscal policies were passive pre-Volcker, there was equilibrium indeterminacy which resulted in substantially different transmission mechanisms of policy as compared to conventional models: unanticipated increases in interest rates increased inflation and output while unanticipated increases in lump-sum taxes decreased inflation and output. Unanticipated shifts in monetary and fiscal policies however, played no substantial role in explaining the variation of inflation and output at any horizon in either of the time periods. Pre-Volcker, in sharp contrast to post- Volcker, we find that a time-varying inflation target does not explain low-frequency movements in inflation. A combination of shocks account for the dynamics of output, inflation, and government debt, with the relative importance of a particular shock quite different in the two time-periods due to changes in the systematic responses of policy. Finally, in a counterfactual exercise, we show that had the monetary policy regime of the post-Volcker era been in place pre-Volcker, inflation volatility would have been lower by 34% and the rise of inflation in the 1970s would not have occurred.

 

No. 108

Accounting for Real Exchange Rates Using Micro-DataPDF
Mario J. Crucini and Anthony Landry
Abstract: The classical dichotomy predicts that all of the time series variance in the aggregate real exchange rate is accounted for by nontraded goods in the CPI basket because traded goods obey the Law of One Price. In stark contrast, Engel (1999) found that traded goods had comparable volatility to the aggregate real exchange. Our work reconciles these two views by successfully applying the classical dichotomy at the level of intermediate inputs into the production of final goods using highly disaggregated retail price data. Since the typical good found in the CPI basket is about equal parts traded and nontraded inputs, we conclude that the classical dichotomy applied to intermediate inputs restores its conceptual value.

 

No. 107

Liquidity, Risk and the Global Transmission of the 2007–08 Financial Crisis and the 2010–11 Sovereign Debt CrisisPDF
Alexander Chudik and Marcel Fratzscher
Abstract: The paper analyses the transmission of liquidity shocks and risk shocks to global financial markets. Using a Global VAR methodology, the findings reveal fundamental differences in the transmission strength and pattern between the 2007–08 financial crisis and the 2010–11 sovereign debt crisis. Unlike in the former crisis, emerging market economies have become much more resilient to adverse shocks in 2010–11. Moreover, a fight-to-safety phenomenon across asset classes has become particularly strong during the 2010–11 sovereign debt crisis, with risk shocks driving down bond yields in key advanced economies. The paper relates this evolving transmission pattern to portfolio choice decisions by investors and finds that countries' sovereign rating, quality of institutions and their financial exposure are determinants of cross-country differences in the transmission.

 

No. 106

Financial Markets Forecasts Revisited: Are They Rational, Herding or Bold?PDF
Ippei Fujiwara, Hibiki Ichiue, Yoshiyuki Nakazono and Yosuke Shigemi
Abstract: We test whether professional forecasters forecast rationally or behaviorally using a unique database, QSS Database, which is the monthly panel of forecasts on Japanese stock prices and bond yields. The estimation results show that (i) professional forecasts are behavioral, namely, significantly influenced by past forecasts, (ii) there exists a stock-bond dissonance: while forecasting behavior in the stock market seems to be herding, that in the bond market seems to be bold in the sense that their current forecasts tend to be negatively related to past forecasts, and (iii) the dissonance is due, at least partially, to the individual forecasters' behavior that is influenced by their own past forecasts rather than others. Even in the same country, forecasting behavior is quite different by market.

No. 105

Bayesian Estimation of NOEM Models: Identification and Inference in Small SamplesPDF
Enrique Martínez-García, Diego Vilán and Mark Wynne
Abstract: The global slack hypothesis (e.g., Martínez-García and Wynne [2010]) is central to the discussion of the trade-offs monetary policy faces in an increasingly more open world economy. Open-Economy (forward-looking) New Keynesian Phillips curves describe how expected future inflation and a measure of global output gap (global slack) affect the current inflation rate. This paper studies the (potential) weak identification of these relationships in the context of a fully specified structural model using Bayesian estimation techniques. We trace the problems to sample size, rather than misspecification bias. We conclude that standard macroeconomic time series with a coverage of less than forty years are subject to potentially serious identification issues, and also to model selection errors. We recommend estimation with simulated data prior to bringing the model to the actual data as a way of detecting parameters that are susceptible to weak identification in short samples.

No. 104

Optimal Monetary Policy in a Two Country Model with Firm-Level HeterogeneityPDF
Dudley Cooke
Abstract: This paper studies non-cooperative monetary policy in a two country general equilibrium model where international economic integration is endogenised through firm-level heterogeneity and monopolistic competition. Economic integration between countries is a source of policy competition, generating higher long-run inflation, and increased gains from monetary cooperation.

 

No. 103

Size, Openness, and Macroeconomic Interdependence
Alexander Chudik and Roland Straub

Abstract: The curse of dimensionality, a problem associated with analyzing the interaction of a relatively large number of endogenous macroeconomic variables, is a prevailing issue in the open economy macro literature. The most common practice to mitigate this problem is to apply the so-called Small Open Economy Framework (SOEF). In this paper, we aim to review under which conditions the SOEF is a justifiable approximation and how severe the consequences of violation of key conditions might be. Thereby, we use a multicountry general equilibrium model as a laboratory. First, we derive the conditions that ensure the existence of the equilibrium and study the properties of the equilibrium using large N asymptotics. Second, we show that the SOEF is a valid approximation only for economies (i) that have a diversified foreign trade structure and if (ii) there is no globally dominant economy in the system. Third, we illustrate that macroeconomic interdependence is primarily related to the degree of trade diversification, and not to the extent of trade openness. Furthermore, we provide some evidence on the pattern of global macroeconomic interdependence by calculating probability impulse response functions in our calibrated multicountry model using data for 153 economies.

 

No. 102

How Have Global Shocks Impacted the Real Effective Exchange Rates of Individual Euro Area Countries Since the Euro's Creation?
Matthieu Bussiere, Alexander Chudik and Arnaud Mehl

Abstract: This paper uncovers the response pattern to global shocks of euro area countries' real effective exchange rates before and after the start of Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), a largely open ended question when the euro was created. We apply to that end a newly developed methodology based on high dimensional VAR theory. This approach features a dominant unit to a large set of over 60 countries' real effective exchange rates and is based on the comparison of two estimated systems: one before and one after EMU. We find strong evidence that the pattern of responses depends crucially on the nature of global shocks. In particular, post-EMU responses to global US dollar shocks have become similar to Germany's response before EMU, i.e. to that of the economy that used to issue Europe's most credible legacy currency. By contrast, post-EMU responses of euro area countries to global risk aversion shocks have become similar to those of Italy, Portugal or Spain before EMU, i.e. of economies of the euro area's periphery. Our findings also suggest that the divergence in external competitiveness among euro area countries over the last decade, which is at the core of today's debate on the future of the euro area, is more likely due to country-specific shocks than to global shocks.

 

No. 101

Aggregation in Large Dynamic Panels
M. Hashem Pesaran and Alexander Chudik

Abstract: This paper investigates the problem of aggregation in the case of large linear dynamic panels, where each micro unit is potentially related to all other micro units, and where micro innovations are allowed to be cross sectionally dependent. Following Pesaran (2003), an optimal aggregate function is derived and used (i) to establish conditions under which Granger's (1980) conjecture regarding the long memory properties of aggregate variables from "a very large scale dynamic, econometric model" holds, and (ii) to show which distributional features of micro parameters can be identified from the aggregate model. The paper also derives impulse response functions for the aggregate variables, distinguishing between the effects of macro and aggregated idiosyncratic shocks. Some of the findings of the paper are illustrated by Monte Carlo experiments. The paper also contains an empirical application to consumer price inflation in Germany, France and Italy, and re-examines the extent to which "observed" inflation persistence at the aggregate level is due to aggregation and/or common unobserved factors. Our findings suggest that dynamic heterogeneity as well as persistent common factors are needed for explaining the observed persistence of the aggregate inflation.

 

No. 100

Thousands of Models, One Story: Current Account Imbalances in the Global Economy
Michele Ca' Zorzi, Alexander Chudik and Alistair Dieppe

Abstract: The global financial crisis has led to a revival of the empirical literature on current account imbalances. This paper contributes to that literature by investigating the importance of evaluating model and parameter uncertainty prior to reaching any firm conclusion. We explore three alternative econometric strategies: examining all models, selecting a few, and combining them all. Out of thousands (or indeed millions) of models a story emerges. The chance that current accounts were aligned with fundamentals prior to the financial crisis appears to be minimal.

 

No. 99

A Cross-Country Quarterly Database of Real House Prices: A Methodological Note
Adrienne Mack and Enrique Martínez-García

Abstract: We build from (mainly) publicly available national sources a database of (nominal and real) house prices—complemented with data on private disposable income (PDI)—for 19 advanced countries at a quarterly frequency, starting in the first quarter of 1975. We select a house price index for each country that is consistent with the U.S. FHFA quarterly nationwide house price index for existing single-family houses (formerly called OFHEO house price index), and extend the country series back to 1975 with available historical data whenever necessary. Each house price index is seasonallyadjusted over the entire sample period and then rebased to 2005 = 100. The house price indexes are expressed in nominal terms, and also in real terms using the personal consumption expenditure (PCE) deflator of the corresponding country. PDIs are always quoted in per capita terms using working age population of the corresponding country and can be similarly expressed in real terms with the PCE deflator. We aggregate all 19 countries in our database, weighted by their purchasing power parity-adjusted GDP shares in 2005, to compute an average (nominal and real) house price series and an average (nominal and real) per capita PDI series.

 

No. 98

Do Mood Swings Drive Business Cycles and is it Rational?
Paul Beaudry, Deokwoo Nam and Jian Wang

Abstract: This paper provides new evidence in support of the idea that bouts of optimism and pessimism drive much of US business cycles. In particular, we begin by using sign-restriction based identification schemes to isolate innovations in optimism or pessimism and we document the extent to which such episodes explain macroeconomic fluctuations. We then examine the link between these identified mood shocks and subsequent developments in fundamentals using alternative identification schemes (i.e., variants of the maximum forecast error variance approach). We find that there is a very close link between the two, suggesting that agents' feelings of optimism and pessimism are at least partially rational as total factor productivity (TFP) is observed to rise 8–10 quarters after an initial bout of optimism. While this later finding is consistent with some previous findings in the news shock literature, we cannot rule out that such episodes reflect self-fulfilling beliefs. Overall, we argue that mood swings account for over 50 percent of business-cycle fluctuations in hours and output.

 

No. 97

Immigrant Language Barriers and House Prices
Andreas M. Fischer

Abstract: Are language skills important in explaining the nexus between house prices and immigrant inflows? The language barrier hypothesis says immigrants from a non common language country value amenities more than immigrants from common language countries. In turn, immigrants from non common language countries are less price sensitive to house price changes than immigrants from a common language country. Tests of the language barrier hypothesis with Swiss house prices show that an immigration inflow from a non common language country equal to 1 percent of an area's population is coincident with an increase in prices for single-family homes of about 4.9 percent. Immigrant inflow from a common language country instead has no statistically significant impact.

 

No. 96

A Real-Time Historical Database for the OECD
Adriana Z. Fernandez, Evan F. Koenig and Alex Nikolsko-Rzhevskyy

Abstract: Ongoing economic globalization makes real-time international data increasingly relevant, though little work has been done on collecting and analyzing real-time data for economies other than the U.S. In this paper, we introduce and examine a new international real-time dataset assembled from original quarterly releases of 13 quarterly variables presented in the OECD Main Economic Indicators from 1962 to 1998 for 26 OECD countries. By merging this data with the current OECD real-time dataset, which starts in 1999, researchers get access to a standard, up-to-date resource. To illustrate the importance of using real-time data in macroeconomic analysis, we consider five economic applications analyzed from a real-time perspective.

 

No. 95

Borders and Big Macs
Anthony Landry

Abstract: I measure the extent of international market segmentation using local, national, and international Big Mac prices. I show that the bulk of time-series price volatility observed across the United States arises between neighboring locations. Using these data, I provide new estimates of border frictions for 14 countries. I find that borders generally introduce only small price wedges, far smaller than those observed across neighboring locations. When expressing these wedges in terms of distance equivalents, I find that border widths are small in relation to price variations observed across the United States. This suggests that international markets are well integrated.

 

No. 94

Product Durability and Trade Volatility
Dimitra Petropoulou and Kwok Tong Soo

Abstract: One of the main causes behind the trade collapse of 2008–09 was a significant fall in the demand for durable goods. This paper develops a small country, overlapping generations model of international trade in which goods durability gives rise to a more than proportional fall in trade volumes, as observed in 2008–09. The model has three goods—two durable, traded goods and one nondurable, nontraded good and two factors of production. The durability of goods affects consumers' lifetime wealth and their optimal consumption bundle across goods and time periods. A uniform productivity shock reduces consumers' lifetime wealth inducing a re-optimisation away from durables. This gives rise to a more than proportional effect on international trade, provided the nontraded sector is sufficiently capital intensive. The elasticity of trade flows to GDP is found to be increasing in both the degree of durability and the size of the shock. Thus the model provides microfoundations for the asymmetric shock to the demand for durable goods observed in recessions and clarifies the link between this endogenous shift in preferences and international trade flows. It also explains the observation that deeper downturns are associated with a higher elasticity of trade to GDP. Furthermore, the greater the degree of durability of traded goods, the larger is the share of domestically produced goods in consumption, for plausible factor intensities. This provides an alternative explanation for the home bias in consumption, and hence another explanation for Trefler's "missing trade."

 

No. 93

How Much Asymmetry Is There in Bond Returns and Exchange Rates?
Ippei Fujiwara, Lena Mareen Körber and Daisuke Nagakura

Abstract: We measure asymmetries in the distribution of bond returns and exchange rates and test their statistical significance. Asymmetries are sizable when measured by the coefficient of skewness, a measure that is highly affected by outliers. In contrast, robustly measured asymmetries to outliers often disagree in sign or size, implying that much of the asymmetries measured by the coefficient of skewness can be attributed to extreme observations. Asymmetries in many government bonds returns are only statistically significant according to tests based on the coefficient of skewness. On the contrary, only tests based on robust measures indicate statistically significant asymmetries in the exchanges rates of Japanese yen, a major funding currency for carry trades, as well as in New Zealand dollar and Australian dollar, major investing currencies for carry trades. This observation suggests that sources of asymmetry in carry trades and in government bond returns can be fundamentally different.

 

No. 92

Asian Financial Linkage: Macro-Finance Dissonance
Ippei Fujiwara and Koji Takahashi

Abstract: How are Asian financial markets interlinked and how are they linked to markets in developed countries? What is the main driver of fluctuations in Asian financial markets as well as real economic activities? In order to answer these questions, we estimate the spillover index proposed by Diebold and Yilmaz (2009) and gauge the degree of interactions in both financial markets and real economic activities among Asian economies. We first show that the degree of the international spillover in stock markets is like cookie-cutter products, namely, uniform, irrespective of the groups of countries, such as G3, NIEs and ASEAN4. This suggests the importance of the globally common shock in stock markets. We, then, discuss the macro-finance dissonance. In stock and bond markets, the US has been the main driver of fluctuations. Regarding real economic activities, China has emerged as an important source of fluctuations.

 

No. 91

Indeterminacy and Forecastability
Ippei Fujiwara and Yasuo Hirose

Abstract: Recent studies document the deteriorating performance of forecasting models during the Great Moderation. This conversely implies that forecastability is higher in the preceding era, when the economy was unexpectedly volatile. We offer an explanation for this phenomenon in the context of equilibrium indeterminacy in dynamic stochastic general equilibrium models. First, we analytically show that a model under indeterminacy exhibits richer dynamics that can improve forecastability. Then, using a prototypical New Keynesian model, we numerically demonstrate that indeterminacy due to passive monetary policy can yield superior forecastability as long as the degree of uncertainty about sunspot fluctuations is relatively small.

 

No. 90

A Sentiment-Based Explanation of the Forward Premium Puzzle
Jianfeng Yu

Abstract: This paper presents a sentiment-based explanation of the forward premium puzzle. Agents over- or underestimate the growth rate of the economy. All else equal, when perceived domestic growth is higher than perceived foreign growth, the domestic interest rate is higher than the foreign interest rate. At the same time, an econometrician would expect an increase in the home currency value. Together, the model with investor misperception can account for the forward premium puzzle. In addition, it helps explain the low correlation of consumption growth differentials and exchange rate growth and the high stock market correlation across countries, despite a low correlation of fundamentals. Finally, this paper provides direct empirical evidence supporting the mechanism in the sentiment-based explanation.

 

No. 89

Financial Integration and International Business Cycle Co-movement: Wealth Effects vs. Balance Sheet Effects
Scott Davis

Abstract: This paper investigates the effect of international financial integration on international business cycle co-movement. We first show with a reduced form empirical approach how capital market integration (equity) has a negative effect on business cycle co-movement while credit market integration (debt) has a positive effect. We then construct a model that can replicate these empirical results. In the model, capital market integration is modeled as crossborder equity ownership and involves wealth effects. Credit market integration is modeled as cross-border borrowing and lending between credit constrained entrepreneurs and banks, and thus involves balance sheet effects. The wealth effect tends to reduce cross-country output correlation, but balance sheet effects serve to increase correlation as a negative shock in one country causes loan losses on the balance sheets of foreign banks. In versions of the model with a financial accelerator and balance sheet effects, credit market integration has a positive effect on cyclical correlation. However, in versions of the model without the financial accelerator and balance sheet effects, credit market integration has a negative effect on cyclical correlation.

 

No. 88

Global Asset Pricing
Karen K. Lewis

Abstract: Financial markets have become increasingly global in recent decades, yet the pricing of internationally traded assets continues to depend strongly upon local risk factors, leading to several observations that are difficult to explain with standard frameworks. Equity returns depend upon both domestic and global risk factors. Further, local investors tend to overweight their asset portfolios in local equity. The stock prices of firms that begin to trade across borders increase in response to this information. Foreign exchange markets also display anomalous relationships. The forward rate predicts the wrong sign of future movements in the exchange rate, implying that traders can make profits by borrowing in lower interest rate currencies and investing in higher interest rate currencies. Furthermore, the sign of the foreign exchange premium changes over time, a fact difficult to reconcile with consumption variability. In this review, I describe the implications of the current body of research for addressing these and other global asset pricing challenges.

 

No. 87

Currency Blocs in the 21st Century
Christoph Fischer

Abstract: Based on a classification of countries and territories according to their regime and anchor currency choice, the study considers the two major currency blocs of the present world. A nested logit regression suggests that long-term structural economic variables determine a given country's currency bloc affiliation. The dollar bloc differs from the euro bloc in that there exists a group of countries that peg temporarily to the U.S. dollar without having close economic affinities with the bloc. The estimated parameters are consistent with an additive random utility model interpretation. A currency bloc equilibrium in the spirit of Alesina and Barro (2002) is derived empirically.

 

No. 86

Do Banking Shocks Matter for the U.S. Economy?
Naohisa Hirakata, Nao Sudo and Kozo Ueda

Abstract: The quantitative significance of shocks to the financial intermediary (FI) has not received much attention up to now. We estimate a DSGE model with what we describe as chained credit contracts, using Bayesian technique. In the model, credit-constrained FIs intermediate funds from investors to credit-constrained entrepreneurs through two types of credit contract. We find that the shocks to the FIs' net worth play an important role in the investment dynamics, accounting for 17 percent of its variations. In particular, in the Great Recession, they are the key determinants of the investment declines, accounting for 36 percent of the variations.

 

No. 85

Optimal Monetary Policy Under Financial Sector Risk
Scott Davis and Kevin X.D. Huang

Abstract: We consider whether or not a central bank should respond directly to financial market conditions when setting monetary policy. Specifically, should a central bank put weight on interbank lending spreads in its Taylor rule policy function? Using a model with risk and balance sheet effects in both the real and financial sectors (Davis, "The Adverse Feedback Loop and the Effects of Risk in the both the Real and Financial Sectors" Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Globalization and Monetary Policy Institute Working Paper No. 66, November 2010) we find that when the conventional parameters in the Taylor rule (the coefficients on the lagged interest rate, inflation, and the output gap) are optimally chosen, the central bank should not put any weight on endogenous fluctuations in the interbank lending spread. However, the central bank should adjust the risk free rate in response to fluctuations in the spread that occur because of exogenous financial shocks, but we find that the central bank should not be too aggressive in its easing policy. Optimal policy calls for a two-thirds of a percentage point cut in the risk free rate in response to a financial shock that causes a one percentage point increase in interbank lending spreads.

 

No. 84

Sharing the Burden: Monetary and Fiscal Responses to a World Liquidity Trap
David Cook, Michael B. Devereux

Abstract: With integrated trade and financial markets, a collapse in aggregate demand in a large country can cause "natural real interest rates" to fall below zero in all countries, giving rise to a global "liquidity trap." This paper explores the optimal policy response to this type of shock, when governments cooperate on both fiscal and monetary policy. Adjusting to a large negative demand shock requires raising world aggregate demand, as well as redirecting demand towards the source (home) country. The key feature of demand shocks in a liquidity trap is that relative prices respond perversely. A negative shock causes an appreciation of the home terms of trade, exacerbating the slump in the home country. At the zero bound, the home country cannot counter this shock. Because of this, it may be optimal for the foreign policymaker to raise interest rates. Strikingly, the foreign country may choose to have a positive policy interest rate, even though its natural real interest rate is below zero. A combination of relatively tight monetary policy in the foreign country combined with substantial fiscal expansion in the home country achieves the desired mix in terms of the level and composition of world expenditure. Thus, in response to conditions generating a global liquidity trap, there is a critical mutual interaction between monetary and fiscal policy.

 

No. 83

Price Setting in a Leading Swiss Online Supermarket
Martin Berka, Michael B. Devereux and Thomas Rudolph

Abstract: We study a newly released data set of scanner prices for food products in a large Swiss online supermarket. We find that average prices change about every two months, but when we exclude temporary sales, prices are extremely sticky, changing on average once every three years. Non-sale price behavior is broadly consistent with menu cost models of sticky prices. When we focus specifically on the behavior of sale prices, however, we find that the characteristics of price adjustment seems to be substantially at odds with standard theory.

 

No. 82

Oil Shocks through International Transport Costs: Evidence from U.S. Business Cycles
Hakan Yilmazkuday

Abstract: The effects of oil shocks on output volatility through international transport costs are investigated in an open-economy DSGE model. Two versions of the model, with and without international transport costs, are structurally estimated for the U.S. economy by a Bayesian approach for moving windows of ten years. For model selection, the posterior odds ratios of the two versions are compared for each ten-year window. The version with international transport costs is selected during periods of high volatility in crude oil prices. The contribution of international transport costs to the volatility of U.S. GDP has been estimated as high as 36 percent during periods of oil crises.

 

No. 81

Lessons for Monetary Policy: What Should the Consensus Be?
Otmar Issing

Abstract: This paper outlines important lessons for monetary policy. In particular, the role of inflation targeting, which was much acclaimed prior to the financial crisis and since then has not lost much of its endorsement, is critically reviewed. Ignoring the relation between monetary policy and asset prices, as is the case in this monetary policy approach, can lead to financial instability. In contrast, giving, inter alia, monetary factors a role in central banks' policy decisions, as is done in the ECB's encompassing approach, helps prevent these potentially harmful side effects and thus allows for fostering financial stability. Finally, this paper makes a case against increasing the central banks' inflation target.

 

No. 80

Monetary Policy, Capital Inflows, and the Housing Boom
Filipa Sá, Tomasz Wieladek

Abstract: We estimate an open economy VAR model to quantify the effect of monetary policy and capital inflows shocks on the US housing market. The shocks are identified with sign restrictions derived from a standard DSGE model. We find that monetary policy shocks have a limited effect on house prices and residential investment. In contrast, capital inflows shocks driven by an increase in foreign savings have a positive and persistent effect on both housing variables. Other sources of capital inflows shocks, such as foreign monetary expansion or an increase in aggregate demand in the US, have a more limited role.

 

No. 79

Low Interest Rates and Housing Booms: the Role of Capital Inflows, Monetary Policy and Financial Innovation
Filipa Sá, Pascal Towbin, Tomasz Wieladek

Abstract: A number of OECD countries experienced an environment of low interest rates and a rapid Increase in real house prices and residential investment during the past decade. Different explanations have been suggested for the housing boom: expansionary monetary policy, capital inflows due to a global savings glut and excessive financial innovation combined with inappropriately lax financial regulation. In this study we examine the effects of these three factors on the housing market. We estimate a panel VAR for a sample of OECD countries and identify monetary policy and capital inflows shocks using sign restrictions. To explore how the effects of these shocks change with the structure of the mortgage market and the degree of securitization, we allow the VAR coefficients to vary with mortgage market characteristics. Our results suggest that both types of shocks have a significant and positive effect on real house prices, real credit to the private sector and residential investment. The response of housing variables to both types of shocks is stronger in countries with more developed mortgage markets. The amplification effect of mortgage-backed securitization is particularly strong for capital inflows shocks.

 

No. 78

Welfare Costs of Inflation and the Circulation of U.S. Currency Abroad
Alessandro Calza and Andrea Zaghini

Abstract: Empirical studies of the "shoe-leather" costs of inflation are typically computed using M1 as a measure of money. Yet, official data on M1 includes all currency issued, regardless of the country of residence of the holder. Using monetary data adjusted for U.S. dollars abroad, we show that the failure to control for currency held by nonresidents may lead to significantly overestimating the shoe-leather costs for the domestic economy. In particular, our estimates of shoe-leather costs are minimized for a positive but moderate value of the inflation rate, thereby justifying a deviation from the Friedman rule in favor of the Fed's current policy.

 

No. 77

Export Basket and the Effects of Exchange Rates on Exports—Why Switzerland Is Special
Raphael Auer and Philip Saure

Abstract: Why has Swiss export performance been so strong during the past quarters despite the strong appreciation of the CHF? In this paper, we use historical data on exchange rates and trade at the sectoral level to document that a contributing factor behind the limited impact of the exchange rate is the unique composition of Swiss exports. In particular, we document that the Swiss export basket is heavily concentrated in price-insensitive goods such as machinery or pharmaceuticals, where prices and thus the exchange rate have relatively little importance for demand. This makes the aggregate volume of Swiss exports less responsive to exchange rate changes than exports of other OECD nations.

 

No. 76

Information Costs, Networks and Intermediation in International Trade
Dimitra Petropoulou

Abstract: This paper is motivated by the observation that intermediaries play an important role in international trade. The matching role of intermediaries is examined in a pairwise matching model with two-sided information asymmetry, where intermediaries develop contacts. Intermediation expands the set of matching technologies available to traders, while convexity in network-building costs with respect to network size gives rise to both direct and indirect trade in equilibrium. The trade pattern depends on the relative responsiveness of the direct and indirect matching technologies to information costs, which for some parameter values generates a non-monotonic relationship between information frictions and trade.

 

No. 75

International Liquidity Provision During the Financial Crisis: A View From Switzerland
Raphael Auer and Sébastien Kraenzlin

Abstract: We document the provision of CHF liquidity by the Swiss National Bank (SNB) to banks domiciled outside Switzerland during the recent financial crisis. What makes the Swiss case special is the size of this liquidity provision—making up 80 percent of all short term CHF liquidity provided by the SNB—and also the measures that were adopted to distribute this liquidity. In addition to making CHF available to other central banks via SWAP facilities, the SNB also allows banks domiciled outside Switzerland to directly participate in its REPO transactions. Although this policy was adopted for reasons that predate the financial crisis, during the crisis it proved tremendously helpful as it gave the European banking system direct access to the primary funding facility for CHF.

 

No. 74

A Redux of the Workhorse NOEM Model with Capital Accumulation and Incomplete Asset Markets
Enrique Martínez-García

Abstract: I build a symmetric two-country model that incorporates nominal rigidities, local-currency pricing and monopolistic competition distorting the goods markets. The model is similar to the framework developed in Martínez-García and Søndergaard (2008a, 2008b), but it also introduces frictions in the assets markets by restricting the financial assets available to two uncontingent nominal bonds in zero-net supply and by adding quadratic costs on international borrowing (see, e.g., Benigno and Thoenissen (2008) and Benigno (2009). The technical part of the paper contains three basic calculations. First, I derive the equilibrium conditions of the open economy model under local-currency pricing and incomplete asset markets. Second, I compute the zero-inflation (deterministic) steady state and discuss what happens with a non-zero net foreign asset position. Third, I derive the log-linearization of the equilibrium conditions around the deterministic steady state. The quantitative part of the paper aims to give a broad overview of the role that incomplete international asset markets can play in accounting for the persistence and volatility of the real exchange rate. I find that the simulation of the incomplete and complete asset markets models is almost indistinguishable whenever the business cycle is driven primarily by either nonpersistent monetary or persistent productivity (but not permanent) shocks. In turn, asset market incompleteness has more sizeable wealth effects whenever the cycle is driven by persistent (but not permanent) investment-specific technology shocks, resulting in significantly lower real exchange rate volatility.

 

No. 73

Multiproduct Firms and Price-Setting: Theory and Evidence from U.S. Producer Prices
Saroj Bhattarai and Raphael Schoenle

Abstract: In this paper, we establish three new facts about price-setting by multiproduct firms and contribute a model that can explain our findings. Our findings have important implications for real effects of nominal shocks and provide guidance for how to model pricing decisions of firms. On the empirical side, using micro-data on U.S. producer prices, we first show that firms selling more goods adjust their prices more frequently but on average by smaller amounts. Moreover, the higher the number of goods, the lower is the fraction of positive price changes and the more dispersed the distribution of price changes. Second, we document substantial synchronization of price changes within firms across products and show that synchronization plays a dominant role in explaining pricing dynamics. Third, we find that within-firm synchronization of price changes increases as the number of goods increases. On the theoretical side, we present a state-dependent pricing model where multiproduct firms face both aggregate and idiosyncratic shocks. When we allow for firm-specific menu costs and trend inflation, the model matches the empirical findings.

 

No. 72

Global Banking and International Business Cycles
Robert Kollmann, Zeno Enders and Gernot J. Müller

Abstract: This paper incorporates a global bank into a two-country business cycle model. The bank collects deposits from households and makes loans to entrepreneurs, in both countries. It has to finance a fraction of loans using equity. We investigate how such a bank capital requirement affects the international transmission of productivity and loan default shocks. Three findings emerge. First, the bank's capital requirement has little effect on the international transmission of productivity shocks. Second, the contribution of loan default shocks to business cycle fluctuations is negligible under normal economic conditions. Third, an exceptionally large loan loss originating in one country induces a sizeable and simultaneous decline in economic activity in both countries. This is particularly noteworthy, as the 2007–09 global financial crisis was characterized by large credit losses in the US and a simultaneous sharp output reduction in the U.S. and the euro Area. Our results thus suggest that global banks may have played an important role in the international transmission of the crisis.

 

No. 71

Vertical Specialization, Intermediate Tariffs, and the Pattern of Trade: Assessing the Role of Tariff Liberalization to U.S. Bilateral Trade 1989–2001
Shalah Mostashari

Abstract: How important are intermediate tariffs in determining trade patterns? Empirical work measuring the impact of tariff liberalization most commonly focuses on the effects of barriers imposed by importers, but exporter trade policy should also matter when exports are produced with imported intermediates. Guided by extensions of the Eaton and Kortum (2002) model, I study the impact of trade liberalizations on U.S. bilateral trade from 1989–2001. I estimate the impact on U.S. bilateral trade flows of both intermediate tariffs imposed by countries exporting to the United States and U.S. tariffs. My empirical estimates suggest that, especially for less developed countries, their own liberalizations have been quantitatively much more important in explaining changes in bilateral trade patterns, on average 4.2 times larger than the impact of U.S. liberalizations. For the entire sample of countries, countries' own liberalizations have been 2.2 times more important.

 

No. 70

Exchange Rate Pass-through: Evidence Based on Vector Autoregression with Sign Restrictions
Lian An and Jian Wang

Abstract: We estimate exchange rate pass-through (PT) into import, producer and consumer price indexes for nine OECD countries, using a method proposed by Uhlig (2005). In a Vector Autoregression (VAR) model, we identify the exchange rate shock by imposing restrictions on the signs of impulse responses for a small subset of variables. These restrictions are consistent with a large class of theoretical models and previous empirical findings. We find that exchange rate PT is less than one at both short and long horizons. Among three price indexes, exchange rate PT is greatest for import price index and smallest for consumer price index. In addition, greater exchange rate PT is found in an economy which has a smaller size, higher import share, more persistent exchange rate, more volatile monetary policy, higher inflation rate, and less volatile aggregate demand.

 

No. 69

What Can EMU Countries' Sovereign Bond Spreads Tell Us About Market Perceptions of Default Probabilities During the Recent Financial Crisis?
Niko Dötz and Christoph Fisher

Abstract: This paper presents a new approach to analysing recent movements of EMU sovereign bond spreads. Based on a GARCH-in-mean model originally used in the exchange rate target zone literature, spreads are decomposed into a risk premium, an expected loss component and a liquidity premium. Time-varying probabilities of default are derived. The results suggest that the rise in sovereign spreads during the recent financial crisis mainly reflects an increased expected loss component. In addition, the rescue of Bear Stearns in March 2008 seems to mark a change in market perceptions of sovereign bond risk. The government bonds of some countries lost their former role as a safe haven. While price competitiveness always helps to explain sovereign spreads, it increasingly moved into investors' focus as financial sector soundness weakened.

 

No. 68

Exchange Rate Pass-Through, Domestic Competition and Inflation: Evidence from the 2005/08 Revaluation of the Renminbi
Raphael Auer

Abstract: How important is the effect of exchange rate fluctuations on the competitive environment faced by domestic firms and the prices they charge? To answer this question, this paper examines the 17 percent appreciation of the yuan against the U.S. dollar from 2005 to 2008. In a monthly panel covering 110 sectors, a 1 percent appreciation of the Yuan increases U.S. import prices by roughly 0.8 percent. It is then shown that import prices, in turn, pass through into producer prices at an average rate of roughly 0.7, implying that a 1 percent Yuan appreciation increases the average U.S. producer price of tradable goods by 0.8 percent*0.7=0.56 percent. In contrast, exchange rate movements of other trade partners have much smaller effects on import prices and hardly any effect on producer prices. The paper next demonstrates that the pass through response into import prices is heterogeneous across sectors with different characteristics such as traded-input intensity or the shape of demand for the sector's goods. In contrast, the rate at which import prices pass through into domestic producer prices is found to be homogenous across the sectors. Finally, the insights of the analysis are employed to simulate the inflationary effect of a Yuan revaluation. For example, the relative price shock caused by a 25 percent appreciation of the Yuan spread evenly over 10 months is equivalent to a temporary increase of the U.S. PPI inflation rate by over five percentage points. Because such an appreciation would also influence the overall skewness of the distribution of price changes at the sectoral level, it would likely also impact U.S. equilibrium inflation.

 

No. 67

Teams of Rivals: Endogenous Markups in a Ricardian World

Beatriz de Blas and Katheryn Niles Russ

Abstract: We show that an ostensibly disparate set of stylized facts regarding firm pricing behavior can arise in a Ricardian model with Bertrand competition. Generalizing the Bernard, Eaton, Jenson, and Kortum (2003) model allows firms' markups over marginal cost to fall under trade liberalization, but increase with FDI, matching empirical studies in international trade. We are able to mesh this dichotomy with the existence of pricing-to-market and imperfect pass-through, as well as to capture stylized facts regarding the frequency and synchronization of price adjustment across markets. The result is a well specified distribution for markups that previously could only be seen numerically and a way to quantify endogenous pricing rigidities emerging from a market structure governed by fierce competition among rivals.

 

No. 66

The Adverse Feedback Loop and the Effects of Risk in Both the Real and Financial Sectors

Scott Davis

Abstract: Recessions that are accompanied by financial crises tend to be more severe and are followed by slower recoveries than ordinary recessions. This paper introduces a new Keynesian model with financial frictions on both the demand and supply side of the credit markets that can explain this empirical finding. Following a shock that leads to a decline in economic activity, an adverse feedback loop arises where falling profits and asset values lead to increased defaults in the real sector, and these increased defaults lead to increased loan losses in the banking sector. Following this increase in loan losses, financial frictions in the banking sector imply that the banking sector itself may face difficulty obtaining funds. This disruption in the intermediation process leads to a further decline in output and asset prices in the real sector. In simulations of the model it is found that this feedback loop operating through the balance sheets of financial intermediaries can lead to as much as a 20 percent increase in business cycle volatility, and impulse response analysis shows that in the presence of financial frictions the path back to the steady state after a shock is much slower.

 

No. 65

Globalization and Inflation in Europe

Raphael Auer, Kathrin Degen, Andreas M. Fischer

Abstract: What is the impact of import competition from other low-wage countries (LWCs) on inflationary pressure in Western Europe? This paper seeks to understand whether labor-intensive exports from emerging Europe, Asia, and other global regions have a uniform impact on producer prices in Germany, France, Italy, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. In a panel covering 110 (4-digit) NACE industries from 1995 to 2008, IV estimates predict that LWC import competition is associated with strong price effects. More specifically, when Chinese exporters capture 1 percent of European market share, producer prices decrease about 2 percent. In contrast, no effect is present for import competition from low-wage countries in Central and Eastern Europe.

 

No. 64

The Effects of News About Future Productivity on International Relative Prices: An Empirical Investigation

Deokwoo Nam and Jian Wang

Abstract: In this paper, we find that expected (news) and unexpected (contemporaneous) components of productivity changes have opposite effects on the U.S. real exchange rate. Following Barsky and Sims' (2010) identification method, we decompose U.S. total factor productivity (TFP) into news and contemporaneous productivity changes. The U.S. real exchange rate appreciates following a favorable news shock to TFP, while it depreciates in response to a positive contemporaneous shock. In addition, the identified news TFP shocks play a much more important role than the identified contemporaneous TFP shocks in driving the U.S. real exchange rate. These findings provide empirical guidance to important international macroeconomic issues, such as the international transmission of productivity shocks and the modeling of exchange rate volatility.

 

No. 63

Export Shocks and the Zero Bound Trap

Ippei Fujiwara

Abstract: When a small open economy experiences a sufficiently large negative export shock, it is vulnerable to falling into a zero bound trap. In addition, such a shock can have very large impact on the economy compared to the case when the zero bound is not a binding constraint. This could be one possible explanation as to why a country like Japan experienced much larger drop in output than the United States during the recent financial crisis.

 

No. 62

Real Exchange Rate Dynamics Revisited: A Case with Financial Market Imperfections

Ippei Fujiwara and Yuki Teranishi

Abstract: In this paper, we investigate the relationship between real exchange rate dynamics and financial market imperfections. For this purpose, we first construct a New Open Economy Macroeconomics (NOEM) model that incorporates staggered loan contracts as a simple form of the financial market imperfections. Our model with such a financial market friction replicates persistent, volatile, and realistic hump-shaped responses of real exchange rates, which have been thought very difficult to materialize in standard NOEM models. Remarkably, these realistic responses can materialize even with both supply and demand shocks, such as cost-push, loan rate and monetary policy shocks. This implies that the financial market developments is a key element for understanding real exchange rate dynamics.

 

No. 61

Understanding the Effect of Productivity Changes on International Relative Prices: The Role of News Shocks

Deokwoo Nam and Jian Wang

Abstract: The terms of trade and the real exchange rate of the U.S. appreciate when the U.S. labor productivity increases relative to the rest of the world. This finding is at odds with predictions from standard international macroeconomic models. In this paper, we find that incorporating news shocks to total factor productivity (TFP) in an otherwise standard dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) model with variable capital utilization can help the model replicate the above empirical finding. Labor productivity increases in our model after a positive news shock to TFP because of an increase in capital utilization. Under some plausible calibrations, the wealth effect of good news about future productivity can increase domestic demand strongly and induce an increase in home prices relative to foreign prices.

 

No. 60

International Real Business Cycles with Endogenous Markup Variability

Scott Davis and Kevin X.D. Huang

Abstract: The aggregate impact of decisions made at the level of the individual firm has recently attracted a lot of attention in both the macro and trade literatures. We adapt the benchmark international real business cycle model to a game-theoretic environment to add a channel for the strategic interaction among domestic and foreign firms. We show how the sum of strategic pricing decisions made at the level of the individual firm can have significant effects on the volatility and cross country co-movement of GDP and its components. Specifically we show that the addition of this one channel for strategic interaction leads to a significant increase in the cross-country co-movement of production and investment, as well as a significant decrease in the volatility of investment and the trade balance over the benchmark IRBC model.

 

No. 59

Are the Intraday Effects of Central Bank Intervention on Exchange Rate Spreads Asymmetric and State Dependent?

Rasmus Fatum, Jesper Pedersen, Peter Norman Sørensen

Abstract: This paper investigates the intraday effects of unannounced foreign exchange intervention on bid-ask exchange rate spreads using official intraday intervention data provided by the Danish central bank. Our starting point is a simple theoretical model of the bid-ask spread which we use to formulate testable hypotheses regarding how unannounced intervention purchases and intervention sales influence the market asymmetrically. To test these hypotheses we estimate weighted least squares (WLS) time-series models of the intraday bid-ask spread. Our main result is that intervention purchases and sales both exert a significant influence on the exchange rate spread, but in opposite directions: intervention purchases of the smaller currency, on average, reduce the spread while intervention sales, on average, increase the spread. We also show that intervention only affects the exchange rate spread when the state of the market is not abnormally volatile. Our results are consistent with the notion that illiquidity arises when traders fear speculative pressure against the smaller currency and confirms the asymmetry hypothesis of our theoretical model.

 

No. 58

Banking Globalization and International Business Cycles

Kozo Ueda

Abstract: This paper constructs a two-country DSGE model to study the nature of the recent financial crisis and its effects that spread immediately throughout the world owing to the globalization of banking. In the model, financial intermediaries (FIs) enter into chained credit contracts at home and abroad, engaging in cross-border lending to entrepreneurs by undertaking crossborder borrowing from investors. The FIs as well as the entrepreneurs in two countries are credit constrained, so all of their net worths matter. Our model reveals that under FIs' globalization, adverse shocks that hit one country affect the other, yielding business-cycle synchronization on both the real and financial sides. It also suggests that the FIs' globalization, net worth shock, and credit constraints are key to understanding the recent financial crisis.

 

No. 57

Foreign Exchange Intervention When Interest Rates Are Zero: Does the Portfolio Balance Channel Matter After All?

Rasmus Fatum

Abstract: The Japanese zero-interest rate period provides a "natural experiment" for investigating the effectiveness and transmission channels of sterilized intervention when traditional monetary policy options are constrained. This paper takes advantage of the fact that all interventions in the JPY/USD market during the zero-interest rate period are sterilized sales of JPY and, therefore, none of these interventions can signal a future interest rate decrease. In order to further assess through which transmission channel these interventions work, the analysis integrates official daily Japanese intervention data with a comprehensive set of rumors data that capture interventions of which the market is aware. Market awareness is a necessary condition for intervention to disseminate information and work through channels other than the portfolio balance channel. The results of the time series analysis show that intervention, on average, induces a statistically and economically significant same-day depreciation of the JPY. Market awareness is shown to be unimportant. Consequently, the effects of Japanese interventions during the zero-interest rate period are consistent only with the portfolio balance channel. This is a remarkable finding, demonstrating that sterilized intervention is, in principle, an independent policy instrument.

 

No. 56

Global Liquidity Trap

Ippei Fujiwara, Nao Sudo, Tomoyuki Nakajima, Yuki Teranishi

Abstract: In this paper we consider a two-country New Open Economy Macroeconomics model, and analyze the optimal monetary policy when countries cooperate in the face of a "global liquidity trap"— i.e., a situation where the two countries are simultaneously caught in liquidity traps. The notable features of the optimal policy in the face of a global liquidity trap are history dependence and international dependence. The optimality of history dependent policy is confirmed as in local liquidity trap. A new feature of monetary policy in global liquidity trap is whether or not a country's nominal interest rate is hitting the zero bound affects the target inflation rate of the other country. The direction of the effect depends on whether goods produced in the two countries are Edgeworth complements or substitutes. We also compare several classes of simple interest-rate rules. Our finding is that targeting the price level yields higher welfare than targeting the inflation rate, and that it is desirable to let the policy rate of each country respond not only to its own price level and output gap, but also to those in the other country.

 

No. 55

Income Differences and Prices of Tradables

Ina Simonovska

Abstract: This paper presents novel evidence of price discrimination, using prices of identical goods in 28 countries. I explain the observed phenomenon via non-homothetic preferences, in a model of trade with product differentiation and firm productivity heterogeneity. The model brings theory and data closer along a key dimension: it generates positively related prices of tradables and income, while preserving exporter behavior and trade flows of existing frameworks. It further captures observations that richer countries buy more per product and consume more diverse bundles. Quantitatively, the model suggests that variable markups account for 80 percent of the positive price-income relationship across 123 countries.

 

No. 54

Some Alternative Perspectives on Macroeconomic Theory and Some Policy Implications

William R. White

Published as "The Mayekawa Lecture: Some Alternative Perspectives on Macroeconomic Theory and Some Policy Implications" in Monetary and Economic Studies, Vol. 28, November 2010, Pages 35–58.

Abstract: The macroeconomic theories and models favoured by academics, as well as those used more commonly by policymakers, effectively rule out by assumption economic and financial crises of the sort we are living through. In particular, the longer run dangers posed by the rapid expansion of credit and resulting private sector balance sheet developments were inadequately appreciated. As a result, the current crisis was neither anticipated nor prepared for, and the crisis was also less well managed than it might have been. At the level of macroeconomic theory and modelling, this experience suggests that basic Keynesian insights need to be complemented by some insights from the Austrian school as well as those of Minsky. Demand factors are important, but so too are supply side and financial considerations. Such a synthesis provides a reasonable explanation of the crisis and points to some of the difficulties likely to be faced in emerging from it. As for the policy implications in current circumstances, it needs to be better recognized that policies with positive short run effects can have negative effects over a longer time period. If, as a result, fiscal and monetary expansion have now reached their limits in some countries, supply side policies must be given greater emphasis. These would include measures to encourage investment, both private and public, as well as other structural measures to raise the potential growth rate of the economy. Such measures, along with more decisive efforts to reduce the "headwinds" of over indebtedness, should with time provide the foundations for a sustainable economic recovery.

 

No. 53

Trends in U.S. Hours and the Labor Wedge

Simona E. Cociuba and Alexander Ueberfeldt

Abstract: From 1980 until 2007, U.S. average hours worked increased by 13 percent, due to a large increase in female hours. At the same time, the U.S. labor wedge, measured as the discrepancy between a representative household's marginal rate of substitution between consumption and leisure and the marginal product of labor, declined substantially. We examine these trends in a model with heterogeneous households: married couples, single males and single females. Our quantitative analysis shows that the shrinking gender wage gaps and increasing labor income taxes observed in U.S. data are key determinants of hours and the labor wedge. Changes in our model's labor wedge are driven by distortionary taxes and non-distortionary factors, such as cross-sectional differences in households' labor supply and productivity. We conclude that the labor wedge measured from a representative household model partly reflects imperfect household aggregation.

 

No. 52

Financial Globalization, Financial Frictions and Optimal Monetary Policy

Ester Faia and Eleni Iliopulos

Abstract: How should monetary policy be optimally designed in an environment with high degrees of financial globalization? To answer this question we lay down an open economy model where net lending toward the rest of the world is constrained by a collateral constraint motivated by limited enforcement. Borrowing is secured by collateral in the form of durable goods whose accumulation is subject to adjustment costs. We demonstrate that, although this economy can generate persistent current account deficits, it can also deliver a stationary equilibrium. The comparison between different monetary policy regimes (floating versus pegged) shows that the impossible trinity is reversed: a higher degree of financial globalization, by inducing more persistent and volatile current account deficits, calls for exchange rate stabilization. Finally, we study the design of optimal (Ramsey) monetary policy. In this environment the policy maker faces the additional goal of stabilizing exchange rate movements, which exacerbate fluctuations in the wedges induced by the collateral constraint. In this context optimality requires deviations from price stability and calls for exchange rate stabilization.

 

No. 51

The Fiscal Multiplier and Spillover in a Global Liquidity Trap

Ippei Fujiwara and Kozo Ueda

Abstract: We consider the fiscal multiplier and spillover in an environment in which two countries are caught simultaneously in a liquidity trap. Using an optimizing two-country sticky price model, we show that the fiscal multiplier and spillover are contrary to those predicted in textbook economics. For the country with government expenditure, the fiscal multiplier exceeds one, the currency depreciates, and the terms of trade worsen. The fiscal spillover is negative if the intertemporal elasticity of substitution in consumption is less than one and positive if the parameter is greater than one. Incomplete stabilization of marginal costs due to the existence of the zero lower bound is a crucial factor in understanding the effects of fiscal policy in open economies.

 

No. 50

Measuring Business Cycles by Saving for a Rainy Day

Mario J. Crucini and Mototsugu Shintani

Abstract: We propose a simple saving-based measure of the cyclical component in GDP. The measure is motivated by the prediction that the representative consumer changes savings in response to temporary deviations of income from its stochastic trend, while satisfying a present-value budget constraint. To evaluate our procedure, we employ the bivariate error correction model of Cochrane (1994) to the member countries of the G-7 and Australia. Our estimates reveal, that to a close approximation, the stochastic trend component of GDP is consumption and the transitory component is the error correction term, which justifies the use of our saving-based measure.

 

No. 49

Asymmetries and State Dependence: The Impact of Macro Surprises on Intraday Exchange Rates

Rasmus Fatum, Michael Hutchison and Thomas Wu

Abstract: The impact of news surprises on exchange rates depends in principle upon a number of factors including the state of the economy, institutional setting and nature of the expected policy response. These characteristics may lead to state-contingent asymmetric responses to news. In this paper we investigate the possible asymmetric response of intraday exchange rates (5-minute intraday JPY/USD) to macroeconomic news announcements during a very unusual period—Japan during 1999–2006 when the money market interest rate was effectively zero. We may think of this period as a "natural experiment" consisting of an institutional setting when interest rates may rise but not decline, thereby constraining both endogenous policy reactions to news and private market expectations. Asymmetric responses to news, to the extent that they are important in exchange rate markets as they are in equity markets, would seem particularly likely to be evident during this period. We consider several ways asymmetric responses may be manifested and linked to macroeconomic news during the zero-interest rate period. We assess whether the intraday exchange rate responds differently depending on whether the news is emanating from Japan or the U.S.; we consider the state of the business cycle; and we distinguish between "good" and "bad" news.

 

No. 48

Does Foreign Exchange Reserve Decumulation Lead to Currency Appreciation?

Kathryn M.E. Dominguez, Rasmus Fatum and Pavel Vacek

Abstract: Many developing countries have increased their foreign reserve stocks dramatically in recent years, often motivated by the desire for precautionary self-insurance. One of the negative consequences of large accumulations for these countries is the risk of valuation losses. In this paper we examine the implications of systematic reserve decumulation by the Czech authorities aimed at mitigating valuation losses on euro-denominated assets. The policy was explicitly not intended to influence the value of the koruna relative to the euro. Initially the timing and size of reserve sales was not predictable, eventually sales occurred on a daily basis (in three equal installments within the day). This project examines whether these reserve sales, both during the regime of discretionary timing as well as when sales occurred every day, had unintended consequences for the domestic currency. Our findings using intraday exchange rate data and time-stamped reserve sales indicate that when decumulation occurred every day these sales led to significant appreciation of the koruna. Overall, our results suggest that the manner in which reserve sales are carried out matters for whether reserve decumulation influences the relative value of the domestic currency.

 

No. 47

The Quantitative Role of Capital-Goods Imports in U.S. Growth

Michele Cavallo and Anthony Landry

Published in American Economic Review, 100(2), May 2010, 78–82.

Abstract: Over the last 40 years, an increasing share of U.S. aggregate E&S investment expenditure has been allocated to capital-goods imports. While capital-goods imports were only 3.5 percent of E&S investment in 1967, by 2008 their share had risen tenfold to 36 percent. The goal of this paper is to measure the contribution of capital-goods imports to growth in U.S. output per hour using a simple growth accounting exercise. We find that capital-goods imports have contributed 20 to 30 percent to growth in U.S. output per hour between 1967 and 2008. More importantly, we find that capital-goods imports have been an increasing source of growth for the U.S. economy: the average contribution of capital-goods imports to growth in U.S. output per hour has increased noticeably since 1967.

 

No. 46

What Determines European Real Exchange Rates?

Martin Berka and Michael B. Devereux

Abstract: We study a newly constructed panel data set of relative prices of a large number of consumer goods among 31 European countries. We find that there is a substantial and nondiminishing deviation from PPP at all levels of aggregation, even among euro zone members. However, real exchange rates are very closely tied to relative GDP per capita within Europe, both across countries and over time. This relationship is highly robust at all levels of aggregation. We construct a simple two-sector endowment economy model of real exchange rate determination. Simulating the model using the historical relative GDP per capita for each country, we find that for most (but not all) countries there is a very close fit between the actual and simulated real exchange rate.

 

No. 45

Leverage Constraints and the International Transmission of Shocks

Michael B. Devereux and James Yetman

Published in Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Vol. 42, Pages 71–105.

Abstract: Recent macroeconomic experience has drawn attention to the importance of interdependence among countries through financial markets and institutions, independently of traditional trade linkages. This paper develops a model of the international transmission of shocks due to interdependent portfolio holdings among leverage-constrained investors. In our model, without leverage constraints on investment, financial integration itself has no implication for international macro co-movements. When leverage constraints bind however, the presence of these constraints in combination with diversified portfolios introduces a powerful financial transmission channel which results in a positive comovement of production, independently of the size of international trade linkages. In addition, the paper shows that, with binding leverage constraints, the type of financial integration is critical for international co-movement. If international financial markets allow for trade only in non-contingent bonds, but not equities, then the international comovement of shocks is negative. Thus, with leverage constraints, moving from bond trade to equity trade reverses the sign of the international transmission of shocks.

 

No. 44

Fiscal Deficits, Debt, and Monetary Policy in a Liquidity Trap

Michael B. Devereux

Abstract: The macroeconomic response to the economic crisis has revived old debates about the usefulness of monetary and fiscal policy in fighting recessions. Without the ability to further lower interest rates, policy authorities in many countries have turned to expansionary fiscal policies. Recent literature argues that government spending may be very effective in such environments. But a critical element of the stimulus packages in all countries was the use of deficit financing and tax reductions. This paper explores the role of government debt and deficits in an economy constrained by the zero bound on nominal interest rates. Given that the liquidity trap is generated by a large increase in the desire to save on the part of the private sector, the wealth effects of government deficits can provide a critical macroeconomic response to this. Government spending financed by deficits may be far more expansionary than that financed by tax increases in such an environment. In a liquidity trap, tax cuts may be much more effective than during normal times. Finally, monetary policies aimed at directly increasing monetary aggregates may be effective, even if interest rates are unchanged.

 

No. 43

Transitional Dynamics of Output and Factor Income Shares: Lessons from East Germany

Simona E. Cociuba

Abstract: I evaluate the quantitative implications of technology change and government policies for output and factor income shares during East Germany's transition since 1990. I model an economy that gains access to a high productivity technology embodied in new plants. As existing low productivity plants decrease production, the capital income share varies due to variation in the profit share of these plants. Two policies—transfers and governmentmandated wage increases—have opposite effects on output growth, but both contribute to reducing the capital share during the transition. The model's output and capital share line up with counterparts in East German data.

 

No. 42

Size and Composition of the Central Bank Balance Sheet: Revisiting Japan's Experience of the Quantitative Easing Policy

Shigenori Shiratsuka

Published as "Size and Composition of the Central Bank Balance Sheet: Revisiting Japan's Experience of the Quantitative Easing Policy" in Monetary and Economic Studies, Vol. 28, November 2010, Pages 79–105

Abstract: This paper re-examines Japan's experience of the quantitative easing policy in light of the policy responses against the current financial and economic crisis. Central banks use various unconventional measures in the range of financial assets being purchased and in the scale of such purchases. As the scope of such unconventional measures expands, it is often emphasized that the U.S. Federal Reserve policy reactions focus more on the asset side of its balance sheet, the so-called credit easing. By contrast, the Bank of Japan's quantitative easing policy from 2001 to 2006 set a target for the current account balances, the liability side of its balance sheet. It is crucial to understand that central banks combine the two elements of their balance sheets, size and composition, to enhance the overall effects of unconventional policy measures, given constraints on policy implementation.

 

No. 41

Limited Asset Market Participation and the Consumption-Real Exchange Rate Anomaly

Robert Kollmann

Abstract: Under efficient consumption risk sharing, as assumed in standard international business cycle models, a country's aggregate consumption rises relative to foreign consumption, when the country's real exchange rate depreciates. Yet, empirically, relative consumption and the real exchange rate are essentially uncorrelated. I show that this "consumption-real exchange rate anomaly" can be explained by a simple model in which a subset of households trade in complete financial markets, while the remaining households lead hand-to-mouth (HTM) lives. HTM behavior also generates greater volatility of the real exchange rate and of net exports, which likewise brings the model closer to the data.

 

No. 40

Business Cycles and Remittances: Can the Beveridge-Nelson Decomposition Provide New Evidence?

Roberto Coronado

Abstract: In this paper, I analyze the business cycle properties of remittances and output series for three pairs of countries: United States–Mexico, United States–El Salvador, and Germany–Turkey. Using an unobserved components state-space model (via the Beveridge-Nelson decomposition), I decompose the remittances and output series into stochastic permanent and cyclical components. I then use the resulting stationary cyclical components to estimate co-movements between remittances and output series. Empirical results indicate that remittances are countercyclical with all the home countries: Mexico, El Salvador, and Turkey. With respect to source countries, remittances to Mexico are countercyclical with the United States business cycle, while remittances from the United States to El Salvador and remittances from Germany to Turkey are strongly procyclical with output fluctuations in the source country. The contribution of this paper to the literature is twofold: (1) I use high-frequency data (quarterly) for a relatively long period of time; and (2) I employ more recent and sophisticated econometric techniques in the decomposition of the series into stochastic permanent and cyclical components. The existing literature lacks both of these important aspects of my analysis. I show that once both of these factors are incorporated into the analysis, empirical results are more aligned to those predicted by economic theory.

 

No. 39

State-Dependent Pricing, Local-Currency Pricing, and Exchange Rate Pass-Through

Anthony Landry

Published as State-Dependent Pricing, Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Vol. 34, Issue 10, October 2010, Pages 1859–71.

Abstract: This paper presents a two-country DSGE model with state-dependent pricing as in Dotsey, King, and Wolman (1999) in which firms price-discriminate across countries by setting prices in local currency. In this model, a domestic monetary expansion has greater spillover effects to foreign prices and foreign economic activity than an otherwise identical model with time-dependent pricing. In addition, the predictions of the state-dependent pricing model match the business-cycle moments better than the predictions of the time-dependent pricing model when driven by monetary policy shocks.

 

No. 38

A Model of International Cities: Implications for Real Exchange Rates

Mario J. Crucini and Hakan Yilmazkuday

Abstract: We develop a model of cities each inhabited by two agents, one specializing in manufacturing, the other in retail distribution. The distribution sector represents the physical transformation of all internationally traded goods from the factory gate to the final consumer. Using a panel of micro-prices at the city level, we decompose the cross-sectional variance of long-run LOP deviations into the fraction due to distribution costs, trade costs and a residual. For the median good, trade costs account for 50 percent of the variance, distribution costs account for 10 percent with 40 percent of the variance unexplained. Since the sample of items in the data are heavily skewed toward traded goods, we also decompose the variance based on the median good on an expenditure-weighted basis. Now the tables turn, with distribution costs accounting for 43 percent, trade costs 36 percent and 21 percent of the variance unexplained.

 

No. 37

Global, Local, and Contagious Investor Sentiment

Malcolm Baker, Jeffrey Wurgler and Yu Yuan

Abstract: We construct indexes of investor sentiment for six major stock markets and decompose them into one global and six local indexes. Relative market sentiment is correlated with the relative prices of dual-listed companies, validating the indexes. Both global and local sentiment are contrarian predictors of the time series of major markets' returns. They are also contrarian predictors of the time series of cross-sectional returns within major markets: When sentiment from either global or local sources is high, future returns are low on various categories of difficult to arbitrage and difficult to value stocks. Sentiment appears to be contagious across markets based on tests involving capital flows, and this presumably contributes to the global component of sentiment.

 

No. 36

Can Long-Horizon Forecasts Beat the Random Walk Under the Engel-West Explanation?

Charles Engel, Jian Wang and Jason Wu

Abstract: Engel and West (EW, 2005) argue that as the discount factor gets closer to one, present-value asset pricing models place greater weight on future fundamentals. Consequently, current fundamentals have very weak forecasting power and exchange rates appear to follow approximately a random walk. We connect the Engel-West explanation to the studies of exchange rates with long-horizon regressions. We find that under EW's assumption that fundamentals are I(1) and observable to the econometrician, long-horizon regressions generally do not have significant forecasting power. However, when EW's assumptions are violated in a particular way, our analytical results show that there can be substantial power improvements for long-horizon regressions, even if the power of the corresponding shorthorizon regression is low. We simulate population Rsquared for long-horizon regressions in the latter setting, using Monetary and Taylor Rule models of exchange rates calibrated to the data. Simulations show that long-horizon regression can have substantial forecasting power for exchange rates.

 

No. 35

European Hoarding: Currency Use Among Immigrants in Switzerland

Andreas M. Fischer

Abstract: Do immigrants have a higher demand for large denominated banknotes than natives? This study examines whether cash orders for CHF 1000 notes, a banknote not used for daily transactions, is concentrated in Swiss cities with a high foreign-to-native ratio. Controlling for a range of socio-economic indicators across 250 Swiss cities, European immigrants in Switzerland are found to hoard less CHF 1000 banknotes than natives. A 1 percent increase in the immigrant-to-native ratio leads to a reduction in currency orders by CHF 4000. This negative correlation between immigrant-to-native ratio and currency orders for CHF 1000 notes holds irrespective of the European immigrants' country of origin. Hoarding of large denominated banknotes by natives is attributed tax avoidance.

 

No. 34

Should Monetary Policy "Lean or Clean"?

William R. White

Abstract: It has been contended by many in the central banking community that monetary policy would not be effective in "leaning" against the upswing of a credit cycle (the boom) but that lower interest rates would be effective in "cleaning" up (the bust) afterwards. In this paper, these two propositions (can't lean, but can clean) are examined and found seriously deficient. In particular, it is contended in this paper that monetary policies designed solely to deal with short term problems of insufficient demand could make medium term problems worse by encouraging a buildup of debt that cannot be sustained over time. The conclusion reached is that monetary policy should be more focused on "preemptive tightening" to moderate credit bubbles than on "preemptive easing" to deal with the after effects. There is a need for a new macrofinancial stability framework that would use both regulatory and monetary instruments to resist credit bubbles and thus promote sustainable economic growth over time.

 

No. 33

Global Slack and Domestic Inflation Rates: A Structural Investigation for G-7 Countries

Fabio Milani

Published as "Global Slack and Domestic Inflation Rates: A Structural Investigation for G-7 Countries" in Journal of Macroeconomics, Volume 32, Issue 4, December 2010, Pages. 968–81.

Abstract: Recent papers have argued that one implication of globalization is that domestic inflation rates may have now become more a function of "global," rather than domestic, economic conditions, as postulated by closed-economy Phillips curves. This paper aims to assess the empirical importance of global output in determining domestic inflation rates by estimating a structural model for a sample of G-7 economies. The model can capture the potential effects of global output fluctuations on both the aggregate supply and the aggregate demand relations in the economy and it is estimated using full-information Bayesian methods. The empirical results reveal a significant effect of global output on aggregate demand in most countries. Through this channel, global economic conditions can indirectly affect inflation. The results, instead, do not seem to provide evidence in favor of altering domestic Phillips curves to include global slack as an additional driving variable for inflation.

 

No. 32

Has Globalization Transformed U.S. Macroeconomic Dynamics?

Fabio Milani

Abstract: This paper estimates a structural New Keynesian model to test whether globalization has changed the behavior of U.S. macroeconomic variables. Several key coefficients in the model—such as the slopes of the Phillips and IS curves, the sensitivities of domestic inflation and output to "global" output, and so forth—are allowed in the estimation to depend on the extent of globalization (modeled as the changing degree of openness to trade of the economy), and, therefore, they become time-varying. The empirical results indicate that globalization can explain only a small part of the reduction in the slope of the Phillips curve. The sensitivity of U.S. inflation to global measures of output may have increased over the sample, but it remains very small. The changes in the IS curve caused by globalization are similarly modest. Globalization does not seem to have led to an attenuation in the effects of monetary policy shocks. The nested closed economy specification still appears to provide a substantially better fit of U.S. data than various open economy specifications with timevarying degrees of openness. Some time variation in the model coefficients over the postwar sample exists, particularly in the volatilities of the shocks, but it is unlikely to be related to globalization.

 

No. 31

Fiscal Stabilization with Partial Exchange Rate Pass-Through

Erasmus K. Kersting

Abstract: This paper examines the role of fiscal stabilization policy in a two-country framework that allows for a general degree of exchange rate pass-through. I derive analytical solutions for optimal monetary and fiscal policy which are shown to depend on the degree of pass-through. In the case of partial pass-through, an optimizing policy maker uses countercyclical fiscal stabilization in addition to monetary stabilization. However, in the extreme cases of complete or zero pass-through, the fiscal stabilization instrument is not employed. There is also no additional gain from the fiscal instrument in the case of coordination between the two countries. These results are due to the specific way the optimal fiscal policy rule affects marginal costs: Rather than being a substitute for monetary policy, fiscal policy complements it by increasing the correlation of the marginal cost terms within and across countries. This in turn makes monetary policy more effective at stabilizing them.

 

No. 30

Insulation Impossible: Fiscal Spillovers in a Monetary Union

Russell Cooper, Hubert Kempf and Dan Peled

Abstract: This paper studies the effects of monetary policy rules in a monetary union. The focus of the analysis is on the interaction between the fiscal policy of member countries (regions) and the central monetary authority. When capital markets are integrated, the fiscal policy of one country will influence equilibrium wages and interest rates. Thus there are fiscal spillovers within a federation. The magnitude and direction of these spillovers, in particular the presence of a crowding out effect, can be influenced by the choice of monetary policy rules. We find that there does not exist a monetary policy rule which completely insulates agents in one region from fiscal policy in another. Some familiar policy rules, such as pegging an interest rate, can provide partial insulation.

 

No. 29

Monetary Policy Strategy in a Global Environment

Philippe Moutot and Giovanni Vitale

Published as "Monetary Policy Strategy in a Global Environment" European Central Bank Occasional Paper, No. 106, August 2009.

Abstract: Since the mid-1980s the world economy has gone through profound transformations of which the sources and effects are probably not yet completely understood. The process of continuous integration in trade, production and financial markets across countries and economic regions—which is what is generally defined as "globalisation"—affects directly the conduct of monetary policy in a variety of respects. The aim of this paper is to present an overview of the structural implications of globalisation for the domestic economies of developed countries and to deduct from these implications lessons for the conduct of monetary policy, and in particular the assessment of risks to price stability.

 

No. 28

Investment and Trade Patterns in a Sticky-Price, Open-Economy Model

Enrique Martínez-García and Jens Søndergaard

Published in The Economics of Imperfect Markets: The Effect of Market Imperfections on Economic Decision-Making, Giorgio Calcagnini and Enrico Saltari (eds.), Springer, 2009

Abstract: This paper develops a tractable two-country DSGE model with sticky prices à la Calvo (1983) and local-currency pricing. We analyze the capital investment decision in the presence of adjustment costs of two types, the capital adjustment cost (CAC) specification and the investment adjustment cost (IAC) specification. We compare the investment and trade patterns with adjustment costs against those of a model without adjustment costs and with (quasi-) flexible prices. We show that having adjustment costs results into more volatile consumption and net exports, and less volatile investment. We document three important facts on U.S. trade: a) the S-shaped cross-correlation function between real GDP and the real net exports share, b) the J-curve between terms of trade and net exports, and c) the weak and S-shaped cross-correlation between real GDP and terms of trade. We find that adding adjustment costs tends to reduce the model's ability to match these stylized facts. Nominal rigidities cannot account for these features either.

 

No. 27

International Portfolios, Capital Accumulation and Foreign Assets Dynamics

Nicolas Coeurdacier, Robert Kollmann and Philippe Martin

Published in Journal of International Economics, Vol. 80, Issue 1, January 2010, Pages 100–12.

Abstract: Despite the liberalization of capital flows among OECD countries, equity home bias remains sizable. We depart from the two familiar explanations of equity home bias: transaction costs that impede international diversification, and terms of trade responses to supply shocks that provide risk sharing, so that there is little incentive to hold diversified portfolios. We show that the interaction of the following ingredients generates a realistic equity home bias: capital accumulation, shocks to the efficiency of physical investment, as well as international trade in stocks and bonds. In our model, domestic stocks are used to hedge fluctuations in local wage income. Terms of trade risk is hedged using bonds denominated in local goods and in foreign goods. In contrast to related models, the low level of international diversification does not depend on strongly countercyclical terms of trade. The model also reproduces the cyclical dynamics of foreign asset positions and of international capital flows.

 

No. 26

Monthly Pass-Through Ratios

Marlene Amstad and Andreas M. Fischer

Published in Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Volume 34, Issue 7, July 2010, pp. 1202–13.

Abstract: This paper estimates monthly pass-through ratios from import prices to consumer prices in real time. Conventional time series methods impose restrictions to generate exogenous shocks on exchange rates or import prices when estimating pass-through coefficients. Instead, a natural experiment based on data releases defines our shock to foreign prices. Our estimation strategy follows an event-study approach based on monthly releases in import prices. Projections from a dynamic common factor model with daily panels before and after monthly releases of import prices define the shock. This information shock allows us to recover a monthly pass-through ratio. We apply our identification procedure to Swiss prices and find strong evidence that the monthly pass-through ratio is around 0.3. Our real-time estimates yield higher pass-through ratios than time series estimates.

 

No. 25

Do China and Oil Exporters Influence Major Currency Configurations?

Marcel Fratzscher and Arnaud Meh

Published in Journal of Comparative Economics, Vol. 37, Issue 3, September 2009, Pages 335–58.

Abstract: This paper analyses the impact of the shift away from a U.S. dollar focus of systemically important emerging market economies (EMEs) on configurations between the U.S. dollar, the euro and the yen. Given the difficulty that fixed or managed U.S. dollar exchange rate regimes remain pervasive and reserve compositions mostly kept secret, the identification strategy of the paper is to analyse the market impact on major currency pairs of official statements made by EME policy-makers about their exchange rate regime and reserve composition. Developing a novel database for 18 EMEs, we find that such statements not only have a statistically but also an economically significant impact on the euro, and to a lesser extent the yen against the U.S. dollar. The findings suggest that communication hinting at a weakening of EMEs' U.S. dollar focus contributed substantially to the appreciation of the euro against the U.S. dollar in recent years. Interestingly, EME policy-makers appear to have become more cautious in their communication more recently. Overall, the results underscore the growing systemic importance of EMEs for global exchange rate configurations.

 

No. 24

How Successful Is the G7 in Managing Exchange Rates?

Marcel Fratzscher

Published in the Journal of International Economics, Vol 79, Issue 1, 2009, Pages. 78–88

Abstract: The paper assesses the extent to which the Group of Seven (G7) has been successful in its management of major currencies since the 1970s. Using an event-study approach, the paper finds evidence that the G7 has been overall effective in moving the U.S. dollar, yen and euro in the intended direction at horizons of up to three months after G7 meetings, but not at longer horizons. While the success of the G7 is partly dependent on the market environment, it is also to a significant degree endogenous to the policy process itself. The findings indicate that the reputation and credibility of the G7, as well as its ability to form and communicate a consensus among individual G7 members, are important determinants for the G7's ability to manage major currencies. The paper concludes by analyzing the factors that help the G7 build reputation and consensus, and by discussing the implications for global economic governance.

 

No. 23

Exchange Rate Pass-Through in a Competitive Model of Pricing-to-Market

Raphael Auer and Thomas Chaney

Published in Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Supplement to Vol. 41, No. 1, 2009, Pages 151–75.

Abstract: This paper extends the Mussa and Rosen (1978) model of quality-pricing under perfect competition. Exporters sell goods of different qualities to consumers who have heterogeneous preferences for quality. Production is subject to decreasing returns to scale and, therefore, supply and the toughness of competition react to cost changes brought about by exchange rate fluctuations. First, we predict that exchange rate shocks are imperfectly passed through into prices. Second, prices of low quality goods are more sensitive to exchange rate shocks than prices of high quality goods. Third, in response to an exchange rate appreciation, the composition of exports shifts towards higher quality and more expensive goods. We test these predictions using highly disaggregated price and quantity U.S. import data. We find evidence that in response to an exchange rate appreciation, the composition of exports shifts towards high unit price goods. Therefore, exchange rate passthrough rates that are measured using aggregate data will tend to overstate the actual extent of pass-through.

 

No. 22

The Taylor Rule and Forecast Intervals for Exchange Rates

Jian Wang and Jason J. Wu

Abstract: This paper attacks the Meese-Rogoff (exchange rate disconnect) puzzle from a different perspective: out-of-sample interval forecasting. Most studies in the literature focus on point forecasts. In this paper, we apply Robust Semi-parametric (RS) interval forecasting to a group of Taylor rule models. Forecast intervals for twelve OECD exchange rates are generated and modified tests of Giacomini and White (2006) are conducted to compare the performance of Taylor rule models and the random walk. Our contribution is twofold. First, we find that in general, Taylor rule models generate tighter forecast intervals than the random walk, given that their intervals cover out-of-sample exchange rate realizations equally well. This result is more pronounced at longer horizons. Our results suggest a connection between exchange rates and economic fundamentals: economic variables contain information useful in forecasting the distributions of exchange rates. The benchmark Taylor rule model is also found to perform better than the monetary and PPP models. Second, the inference framework proposed in this paper for forecast-interval evaluation can be applied in a broader context, such as inflation forecasting, not just to the models and interval forecasting methods used in this paper.

 

No. 21

Vertical Specialization and International Business Cycle Synchronization

Costas Arkolakis and Ananth Ramanarayanan

Abstract: We explore the impact of vertical specialization—trade in goods across multiple stages of production—on the relationship between trade and international business cycle synchronization. We develop a model in which the degree of vertical specialization is endogenously determined by comparative advantage across heterogeneous goods and varies with trade barriers between countries. We show analytically that fluctuations in measured productivity in our model are not linked across countries through trade, despite the greater transmission of technology shocks implied by higher degrees of vertical specialization. In numerical simulations, we find this transmission is insufficient in generating substantial dependence of business cycle synchronization on trade intensity.

 

No. 20

An International Perspective on Oil Price Shocks and U.S. Economic Activity

Nathan S. Balke, Stephen P. A. Brown and Mine K. Yücel

Abstract: The effect of oil price shocks on U.S. economic activity seems to have changed since the mid-1990s. A variety of explanations have been offered for the seeming change—including better luck, the reduced energy intensity of the U.S. economy, a more flexible economy, more experience with oil price shocks and better monetary policy. These explanations point to a weakening of the relationship between oil prices shocks and economic activity rather than the fundamentally different response that may be evident since the mid-1990s. Using a dynamic stochastic general equilibrium model of world economic activity, we employ Bayesian methods to assess how economic activity responds to oil price shocks arising from supply shocks and demand shocks originating in the United States or elsewhere in the world. We find that both oil supply and oil demand shocks have contributed significantly to oil price fluctuations and that U.S. output fluctuations are derived largely from domestic shocks.

 

No. 19

Default and the Maturity Structure in Sovereign Bonds

Cristina Arellano, Ananth Ramanarayanan

Abstract: This paper studies the maturity composition and the term structure of interest rate spreads of government debt in emerging markets. We document that in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, and Russia, when interest rate spreads rise, debt maturity shortens and the spread on short-term bonds is higher than on long-term bonds. To account for this pattern, we build a dynamic model of international borrowing with endogenous default and multiple maturities of debt. Short-term debt can deliver higher immediate consumption than long-term debt; large longterm loans are not available because the borrower cannot commit to save in the near future towards repayment in the far future. However, issuing long-term debt can insure against the need to roll-over short-term debt at high interest rate spreads. The trade-off between these two benefits is quantitatively important for understanding the maturity composition in emerging markets. When calibrated to data from Brazil, the model matches the dynamics in the maturity of debt issuances and its comovement with the level of spreads across maturities.

 

No. 18

Some Preliminary Evidence on the Globalization-Inflation Nexus

Sophie Guilloux, Enisse Kharroubi

Abstract: The aim of this paper is to evaluate the impact of globalization, if any, on inflation and the inflation process. We estimate standard Phillips curve equations on a panel of OECD countries over the last 25 years. While recent papers have concluded that globalization has had no significant impact, this paper highlights that trying to capture globalization effects through simple measures of import prices and/or imports to GDP ratios can be misleading. To do so, we try to extend the analysis following two different avenues. We first separate between commodity and non-commodity imports and show that the impact on inflation of commodity import price inflation is qualitatively different from the impact of noncommodity import price inflation, the former depending on the volume of commodity imports while the latter being independent of the volume of non-commodity imports. This first piece of evidence highlights the role of contestability and the insufficiency of trade volume statistics to properly describe the impact of globalization. This leads us to adopt a more systematic approach to capture the contents and not only the volume of trade. Focusing on the role of intra-industry trade, we provide preliminary evidence that this variable can account (i) for the low pass-through of import price to consumer price and (ii) for the flattening of the Phillips curve, i.e. the lower sensitivity of inflation to changes in output gap. We hence conclude that different facets of globalization, especially changes in the nature of goods traded, can be an important channel through which globalization affects the inflation process.

 

No. 17

The Real Exchange Rate in Sticky Price Models: Does Investment Matter?

Enrique Martinez-Garcia and Jens Søndergaard

Abstract: This paper re-examines the ability of sticky-price models to generate volatile and persistent real exchange rates. We use a DSGE framework with pricing-to-market akin to those in Chari, et al. (2002) and Steinsson (2008) to illustrate the link between real exchange rate dynamics and what the model assumes about physical capital. We show that adding capital accumulation to the model facilitates consumption smoothing and significantly impedes the model's ability to generate volatile real exchange rates. Our analysis, therefore, caveats the results in Steinsson (2008) who shows how real shocks in a sticky-price model without capital can replicate the observed real exchange rate dynamics. Finally, we find that the CKM (2002) persistence anomaly remains robust to several alternative capital specifications including set-ups with variable capital utilization and investment adjustment costs (see, e.g., Christiano, et al., 2005). In summary, the PPP puzzle is still very much alive and well.

 

No. 16

Technical Note on 'The Real Exchange Rate in Sticky Price Models: Does Investment Matter?'

Enrique Martinez-Garcia and Jens Søndergaard

Abstract: This technical note is developed as a mathematical companion to the paper "The Real Exchange Rate in Sticky Price Models: Does Investment Matter?" (Institute working paper no. 17). It contains three basic calculations. First, we derive the equilibrium conditions of the model. Second, we compute the zero-inflation, zero-trade balance (deterministic) steady state. Third, we describe the log-linearization of the equilibrium conditions around the deterministic steady state. Simultaneously, we explain the system of equations that constitutes the basis for the paper to broaden its scope. Commentary is provided whenever necessary to complement the model description and to place into context the assumptions embedded in our DSGE framework.

 

No. 15

Variety, Globalization, and Social Efficiency

W. Michael Cox and Roy J. Ruffin

Abstract: This paper puts recent work on the benefits of variety into the context of a more complete quantitative analysis of the Dixit-Stiglitz-Krugman model of monopolistic competition. We show how the gains from globalization are reflected in the increase in variety and the exploitation of economies of scale, and that the social efficiency question is quantitatively insignificant. These results follow from examining a Bertrand-Nash equilibrium that allows for a finite number of varieties to affect the elasticity of demand facing each firm. We develop a precise expression for per capita real income with any number of sectors where globalization increases productivity through economies of scale.

 

No. 14

The Effect of Trade with Low-Income Countries on U.S. Industry

Raphael Auer and Andreas M. Fischer

Published as "The Effect of Low-Wage Import Competition on U.S. Inflationary Pressure" in Journal of Monetary Economics 57(4), 491–503.

Abstract: When labor-abundant nations grow, their exports increase more in labor-intensive sectors than in capital-intensive sectors. We utilize this sectoral difference in how exports are affected by growth to identify the causal effect of trade with low-income countries (LICs) on U.S. industry. Our framework relates differences in sectoral inflation rates to differences in comparative advantageinduced import growth rates and abstracts from aggregate fluctuations and sector specific trends. In a panel covering 325 manufacturing industries from 1997 to 2006, we find that LIC exports are associated with strong downward pressure on U.S. producer prices and a large effect on productivity. When LIC exporters capture 1% U.S. market share, producer prices decrease by 3.1%, which is nearly fully accounted by a 2.4% increase in productivity and a 0.4% decrease in markups. We also document that while LICs on average find it easier to penetrate sectors with elastic demand, the price and productivity response to import competition is much stronger in industries with inelastic demand. Overall, between 1997 and 2006, the effect of LIC trade on manufacturing PPI inflation was around two percentage points per year, far too large to be neglected in macroeconomic analysis.

 

No. 13

Globalisation, Domestic Inflation and Global Output Gaps: Evidence from the Euro Area

Alessandro Calza

Abstract: This paper tests whether the proposition that globalisation has led to greater sensitivity of domestic inflation to the global output gap (the "global output gap hypothesis") holds for the euro area. The empirical analysis uses quarterly data over the period 1979–2003. Measures of the global output gap using two different weighting schemes (based on PPPs and trade data) are considered. We find little evidence that global capacity constraints have either explanatory or predictive power for domestic consumer price inflation in the euro area. Based on these findings, the prescription that central banks should specifically react to developments in global output gaps does not seem to be justified for the euro area.

 

No. 12

Financial Globalization, Governance, and the Evolution of the Home Bias

Bong-Chan Kho, René M. Stulz, and Francis E. Warnock

Published in Journal of Accounting Research, Vol. 47 Issue 2: 597–635.

Abstract: Standard portfolio theories of the home bias are disconnected from corporate finance theories of insider ownership. We merge the two into what we call the optimal ownership theory of the home bias. The theory has the following components. In countries with poor governance, it is optimal for insiders to own large stakes in corporations and for large shareholders to monitor insiders. Foreign portfolio investors will exhibit a large home bias against such countries because their investment is limited by the shares held by insiders (the "direct effect" of poor governance) and domestic monitoring shareholders ("the indirect effect"). Foreigners can also enter as foreign direct investors; if they are from countries with good governance, they have a comparative advantage as insider monitors in countries with poor governance, so that the relative importance of foreign direct investment in total foreign equity investment is negatively related to the quality of governance. Using two datasets, we find strong evidence that the theory can help explain the evolution of the home bias. Using country-level U.S. data, we find that on average the home bias of U.S. investors towards the 46 countries with the largest equity markets did not fall over the past decade, but it decreased the most towards countries in which the ownership by corporate insiders decreased, and the importance of foreign direct investment fell in countries in which ownership by corporate insiders fell. Using firm-level data for Korea, we find evidence of the additional indirect effect of poor governance on portfolio equity investment by foreign investors.

 

No. 11

Globalization and Monetary Policy: An Introduction

Enrique Martinez-Garcia

Abstract: Greater openness has become an almost universal feature of modern, developed economies. This paper develops a workhorse international model, and explores the role of standard monetary policy rules applied to an open economy. For this purpose, I build a two-country DSGE model with monopolistic competition, sticky prices, and pricing-to-market. I also derive the steady state and a log-linear approximation of the equilibrium conditions. The paper provides a lengthy explanation of the steps required to derive this benchmark model, and a discussion of: (a) how to account for certain well-known anomalies in the international literature, and (b) how to start "thinking" about monetary policy in this environment.

 

No. 10

Vehicle Currency

Michael B. Devereux and Shouyong Shi

Abstract: While in principle, international payments could be carried out using any currency or set of currencies, in practice, the U.S. dollar is predominant in international trade and financial flows. The dollar acts as a "vehicle currency" in the sense that agents in nondollar economies will generally engage in currency trade indirectly using the U.S. dollar rather than using direct bilateral trade among their own currencies. Indirect trade is desirable when there are transactions costs of exchange. This paper constructs a dynamic general equilibrium model of a vehicle currency. We explore the nature of the efficiency gains arising from a vehicle currency, and show how this depends on the total number of currencies in existence, the size of the vehicle currency economy, and the monetary policy followed by the vehicle currency's government. We find that there can be very large welfare gains to a vehicle currency in a system of many independent currencies. But these gains are asymmetry weighted towards the residents of the vehicle currency country. The survival of a vehicle currency places natural limits on the monetary policy of the vehicle country.

 

No. 9

Country Portfolios in Open Economy Macro Models

Michael B. Devereux and Alan Sutherland

Published as Country Portfolio Dynamics in Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Volume 34, Issue 7, July 2010, pp. 1325–42.

Abstract: This paper develops a simple approximation method for computing equilibrium portfolios in dynamic general equilibrium open economy macro models. The method is widely applicable, simple to implement, and gives analytical solutions for equilibrium portfolio positions in any combination or types of asset. It can be used in models with any number of assets, whether markets are complete or incomplete, and can be applied to stochastic dynamic general equilibrium models of any dimension, so long as the model is amenable to a solution using standard approximation methods. We first illustrate the approach using a simple two-asset endowment economy model, and then show how the results extend to the case of any number of assets and general economic structure.

 

No. 8

How Should Central Banks Define Price Stability?

Mark A. Wynne

Published in Designing Central Banks, David Mayes and Geoffrey Wood, eds., London: Routledge, 2009.

Abstract: It is now generally accepted that the primary objective of central banks should be the maintenance of price stability. This paper considers the question of how central banks should define price stability. I address three specific questions. First, should central banks target broad or narrow measures of inflation? Second, should central banks target headline or core measure of inflation? And third, should central banks define price stability as prevailing at some positive measured rate of inflation?

 

No. 7

Accounting for Persistence and Volatility of Good-Level Real Exchange Rates: The Role of Sticky Information

Mario J. Crucini, Mototsugu Shintani and Takayuki Tsuruga

Published in Journal of International Economics, Vol. 81, Issue 1, May 2010, Pages 48-60.

Abstract: Volatile and persistent real exchange rates are observed not only in aggregate series but also on the individual good level data. Kehoe and Midrigan (2007) recently showed that, under a standard assumption on nominal price stickiness, empirical frequencies of micro price adjustment cannot replicate the time-series properties of the law-of-one-price deviations. We extend their sticky price model by combining good specific price adjustment with information stickiness in the sense of Mankiw and Reis (2002). Under a reasonable assumption on the money growth process, we show that the model fully explains both persistence and volatility of the good-level real exchange rates. Furthermore, our framework allows for multiple cities within a country. Using a panel of U.S.-Canadian city pairs, we estimate a dynamic price adjustment process for each 165 individual goods. The empirical result suggests that the dispersion of average time of information update across goods is comparable to that of average time of price adjustment.

 

No. 6

Driving Forces of the Canadian Economy: An Accounting Exercise

Simona E. Cociuba and Alexander Ueberfeldt

Abstract: This paper analyzes the Canadian economy for the post-1960 period. It uses an accounting procedure developed in Chari, Kehoe, and McGrattan (2006). The procedure identifies accounting factors that help align the predictions of the neoclassical growth model with macroeconomic variables observed in the data. The paper finds that total factor productivity and the consumption-leisure trade-off—the productivity and labor factors—are key to understanding the changes in output, labor supply and labor productivity observed in the Canadian economy. The paper performs a decomposition of the labor factor for Canada and the United States. It finds that the decline in the gender wage gap is a major driving force of the decrease in the labor market distortions. Moreover, the milder reduction in the labor market distortions observed in Canada, compared to the U.S., is due to a relative increase in effective labor taxes in Canada.

 

No. 5

Production Sharing and Real Business Cycles in a Small Open Economy

José Joaquín López

Abstract: Production sharing and vertical specialization account for a significant share of trade between developed and developing countries. The Mexican maquiladora industry provides an ideal example of production sharing in a small open economy. The typical "maquila" imports most of its inputs from and exports all its output to the United States. This article tries to determine to what extent production sharing, as in the Mexican maquiladora, can serve as a transmission mechanism of business cycles in small open economies. We utilize a simple two-sector small open economy model of real business cycles that incorporates production sharing in the traded sector. The transmission channel of business cycles is introduced in the model via demand shocks to the traded sector, originated in the United States' manufacturing sector. The model is successful in replicating real business cycles statistics for the maquiladora sector, as well as some of the characteristics of the nontraded sector.

 

No. 4

Cross-Border Returns Differentials

Stephanie E. Curcuru, Tomas Dvorak and Francis E. Warnock

Published as "Cross Border Returns Differentials" in Quarterly Journal of Economics, Volume 123, Issue 4, November 2008

Abstract: Were the U.S. to persistently earn substantially more on its foreign investments ("U.S. claims") than foreigners earn on their U.S. investments ("U.S. liabilities"), the likelihood that the current environment of sizeable global imbalances will evolve in a benign manner increases. However, we find that the returns differential of U.S. claims over U.S. liabilities is far smaller than previously reported and, importantly, is near zero for portfolio equity and debt securities. For portfolio securities, we confirm our finding using a separate dataset on the actual foreign equity and bond portfolios of U.S. investors and the U.S. equity and bond portfolios of foreign investors; in the context of equity and bond portfolios we find no evidence that the U.S. can count on earning more on its claims than it pays on its liabilities. Finally, we reconcile our finding of a near zero returns differential with observed patterns of cumulated current account deficits, the net international investment position, and the net income balance.

 

No. 3

International Trade in Durable Goods: Understanding Volatility, Cyclicality, and Elasticities

Charles Engel and Jian Wang

Published in Journal of International Economics. In press, corrected proof, 2010, doi:10.1016/j.jinteco.2010.08.007.

Abstract: Data for OECD countries document: 1. imports and exports are about three times as volatile as GDP; 2. imports and exports are pro-cyclical, and positively correlated with each other; 3. net exports are counter-cyclical. Standard models fail to replicate the behavior of imports and exports, though they can match net exports relatively well. Inspired by the fact that a large fraction of international trade is in durable goods, we propose a two-country two-sector model, in which durable goods are traded across countries. Our model can match the business cycle statistics on the volatility and comovement of the imports and exports relatively well. In addition, the model with trade in durables helps to understand the empirical regularity noted in the trade literature: home and foreign goods are highly substitutable in the long run, but the short-run elasticity of substitution is low. We note that durable consumption also has implications for the appropriate measures of consumption and prices to assess risk-sharing opportunities, as in the empirical work on the Backus-Smith puzzle. The fact that our model can match data better in multiple dimensions suggests that trade in durable goods may be an important element in open-economy macro models.

 

No. 2

A Monetary Model of the Exchange Rate with Informational Frictions
Technical Appendix (For code and dataset files, contact the author )

Enrique Martinez-Garcia

Published in The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, vol. 10, no. 1 (Contributions), Article 2

Abstract: Data for the U.S. and the Euro area during the post-Bretton Woods period shows that nominal and real exchange rates are more volatile than consumption, very persistent, and highly correlated with each other. Standard models with nominal rigidities match reasonably well the volatility and persistence of the nominal exchange rate, but require an average contract duration above 4 quarters to approximate the real exchange rate counterparts. I propose a two-country model with financial intermediaries and argue that: First, sticky and asymmetric information introduces a lag in the consumption response to currently unobservable shocks, mostly foreign. Accordingly, the real exchange rate becomes more volatile to induce enough expenditure-switching across countries for all markets to clear. Second, differences in the degree of price stickiness across markets and firms weaken the correlation between the nominal exchange rate and the relative CPI price. This correlation is important to match the moments of the real exchange rate. The model suggests that asymmetric information and differences in price stickiness account better for the stylized facts without relying on an average contract duration for the U.S. larger than the current empirical estimates.

 

No. 1

Is Openness Inflationary? Imperfect Competition and Monetary Market Power
Dataset Stata data file | Code (Fig. 1) Stata do file | Code (Fig.2) matlab file

Richard W. Evans

Abstract: Much empirical work has documented a negative correlation between different measures of globalization or openness and inflation levels across countries and across time. However, there is much less work exploring this relationship through structural international models based on explicit microeconomic foundations. This paper asks the question of how the degree of openness of an economy affects the equilibrium inflation level in a simple two-country OLG model with imperfect competition in which the monetary authority in each country chooses the money growth rate to maximize the welfare of its citizens. I find that a higher degree of openness in a country is associated with a higher equilibrium inflation rate. This result is driven by the fact that the monetary authority enjoys a degree of monopoly power in international markets as Foreign consumers have some degree of inelasticity in their demand for goods produced in the Home country. The decision of the monetary authority is then to balance the benefits of increased money growth that come from the open economy setting with the well-known consumption tax costs of inflation. In addition, I find that the level of imperfect competition among producers within a country is a perfect substitute for the international market power of the monetary authority in extracting the monopoly rents available in this international structure.

 

 

 

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