Abstract: We consider monetary-fiscal interactions when the monetary authority is more conservative than the fiscal. With both policies discretionary, (1) Nash equilibrium yields lower output and higher price than the ideal points of both authorities, (2) of the two leadership possibilities, fiscal leadership is generally better. With fiscal discretion, monetary commitment yields the same outcome as discretionary monetary leadership for all realizations of shocks. But fiscal commitment is not similarly negated by monetary discretion. Second-best outcomes require either joint commitment, or identical targets for both authorities -- output socially optimal and price level appropriately conservative -- or complete separation of tasks.
Abstract: This paper investigates to what extent a New Keynesian, monetary model with the addition of a microfounded, non-Walrasian labor market based on union bargaining is able to replicate key aspects of the European business cycle. The presence of a representative union permits to explain two features of the cycle. First, it generates an endogenous mechanism which produces persistent responses of the economy to both supply and demand shocks. Second, labor unionization causes a lower elasticity of marginal costs to output. This leads to lower inflation volatility. The model can replicate the negative correlation between productivity shocks and employment in the data. Model simulations show the superiority of the unionized framework to reproduce European business cycle statistics relative to a model with competitive labor market.
Abstract: This paper estimates a dynamic model of durable and non-durable consumption choice and default behavior in an economy where risky borrowing is allowed and bankruptcy protection is regulated by law. I exploit the substantial difference in the generosity of bankruptcy exemptions across the U.S. states to assess the role of durable goods as both informal collateral for unsecured debt and self-insurance against bad shocks to earnings. The model accounts for the equilibrium effects of bankruptcy protection on both consumer saving behavior and the credit market. In addition to providing reasonable estimates of the discount rate and risk aversion, I find that the generosity of bankruptcy protection does change both the incentives and the ability of households to accumulate durable wealth. The more generous the bankruptcy regulation, the lower the net durable wealth held by households in the first half of the lifecycle before retirement. In order to minimize the default rate bankruptcy protection should be removed. The optimal level of exemption is positive but low.
Abstract: We argue that the current framework for predictive ability testing (e.g.,West, 1996) is not necessarily useful for real-time forecast selection, i.e., for assessing which of two competing forecasting methods will perform better in the future. We propose an alternative framework for out-of-sample comparison of predictive ability which delivers more practically relevant conclusions. Our approach is based on inference about conditional expectations of forecasts and forecast errors rather than the unconditional expectations that are the focus of the existing literature. We capture important determinants of forecast performance that are neglected in the existing literature by evaluating what we call the forecasting method (the model and the parameter estimation procedure), rather than just the forecasting model. Compared to previous approaches, our tests are valid under more general data assumptions (heterogeneity rather than stationarity) and estimation methods, and they can handle comparison of both nested and non-nested models, which is not currently possible. To illustrate the usefulness of the proposed tests, we compare the forecast performance of three leading parameter-reduction methods for macroeconomic forecasting using a large number of predictors: a sequential model selection approach, the "diffusion indexes" approach of Stock and Watson (2002), and the use of Bayesian shrinkage estimators.
Abstract: This paper proposes a method for comparing and combining conditional quantile forecasts in an out-of-sample framework. We construct a Conditional Quantile Forecast Encompassing (CQFE) test as a Wald-type test of superior predictive ability. Rejection of CQFE provides a basis for combination of conditional quantile forecasts. Two central features of our implementation of the principle of encompassing are, first, the use of the 'tick' loss function and, second, a conditional, rather than unconditional approach to out-of-sample evaluation. Some of the advantages of the conditional approach are that it allows the forecasts to be generated by using general estimation procedures and that it is applicable when the forecasts are based on both nested and non-nested models. The test is also relatively easy to implement using standard GMM techniques. An empirical application to Value-at-Risk evaluation illustrates the usefulness of our method.
Abstract: It is known that in two-sided many-to-many matching problems, pairwise-stable matchings may not be immune to group deviations, unlike in many-to-one matching problems (Blair 1988). In this paper, we show that pairwise stability is equivalent to credible group stability when one side has responsive preferences and the other side has categorywise-responsive preferences. A credibly group-stable matching is immune to any "executable" group deviations with an appropriate definition of executability. Under the same preference restriction, we also show the equivalence between the set of pairwise-stable matchings and the set of matchings generated by coalition-proof Nash equilibria of an appropriately defined strategic-form game.
Abstract: We propose a decomposition of social welfare when consumers' preferences are described by quasi-linear utility functions. In our decomposition, social welfare is expressed as the sum of consumers' gross utilities and trade surplus of non-numeraire goods, whose consumption enters utility functions non-linearly. This decomposition is useful especially when we assess the impact of trade liberalization on individual countries. We propose a decomposition of social welfare when consumers' preferences are described by quasi-linear utility functions. In our decomposition, social welfare is expressed as the sum of consumers' gross utilities and trade surplus of non-numeraire goods, whose consumption enters utility functions non-linearly. This decomposition is useful especially when we assess the impact of trade liberalization on individual countries.
Abstract: All countries would agree to immediate global free trade if countries were compensated for any terms-of-trade losses with transfers from countries whose terms-of-trade improve, and if customs unions were required to have no effects on non-member countries. Global free trade with transfers is in the core of a Kemp-Wan-Grinols customs union game.
Abstract: Some public policies aimed at integrating welfare recipients into the world of work are predicated on the premise that getting welfare recipients to work will change their beliefs about how they will be treated in the labor market. This paper explores the rationale for these policies and concludes that a plausible argument can be made on the basis of concepts developed by social psychologists and by economists. The prediction that work affects beliefs is tested using a unique data set that allows us to estimate the causal effect. We find that exogenous increases in work induced by an experimental tax credit led to the predicted changes in self-efficacy.
Abstract: In this paper we hypothesize that greater macroeconomic uncertainty would cause firms to increasingly turn to their suppliers as a source of finance, making greater use of trade credit. We test this hypothesis using a panel of non-financial firms drawn from the annual COMPUSTAT database and show that an increase in macroeconomic uncertainty leads to a narrowing of the cross-sectional distribution of firms' trade credit-to-sales ratios.
Abstract: We develop a two-country, dynamic general equilibrium model that links cross-country differences in net foreign asset and consumption dynamics to differences in discount factors and steady-state levels of productivity. We compare the results of the model to those of VARs for the G3 economies. We identify country-specific productivity shocks by assuming that productivity does not respond contemporaneously to other variables in these VARs. We identify global productivity shocks by estimating the VARs in common trend representation after testing for and imposing model-based, long-run cointegration restrictions. We then compare the model's predictions for net foreign asset and consumption dynamics in response to productivity shocks with the estimated VAR impulse responses. We find that the two sources of heterogeneity we consider go some way toward reconciling the consumption smoothing hypothesis with the data and explaining variations in net foreign asset and consumption dynamics across countries.
Abstract: We study the implications of honesty when it requires pre-commitment. Within a two-period hidden information problem, an agent learns his match with the assigned task in period 2 and, if honest, reveals it to the principal if he has committed to it. The principal may offer a menu of contracts to screen ethics. Both honest and dishonest agents are willing to misrepresent their ethics. The principal and dishonest agents benefit from an increased likelihood of honesty as long as honesty is likely enough. Honest agents always profit from ethics uncertainty if a good match is likely. This is also true if dishonesty is likely enough, in which case an honest receives the same surplus as a dishonest.
Abstract: In this paper we re-examine commercial banks' lending behavior taking into account changes in the stance of monetary policy in conjunction with changes in financial sector uncertainty. Using a very large data set covering all banks in the US between 1986-2000, we show that financial uncertainty has an important and significant role in the monetary policy transmission mechanism that varies across bank categories and the strength of banks' balance sheets. We find support for the existence of a bank lending channel among US banks.
Abstract: This paper tracks distributional changes over the last quarter of the twentieth century. We focus on three conceptually distinct distributions: the distribution of wages, the distribution of annual earnings and the distribution of total family income adjusted for family size. We show that all three distributions became less equal during the last half of the 1970's and the 1980's. This was, however, not the case during the 1990's. Wage inequality stabilized, earnings inequality declined and family income inequality actually continued to rise. We decompose changes in family income inequality over the last quarter century and show that roughly half of the increase is accounted for by changes in the distribution of earnings. This suggests that further research on family income inequality should pay as much attention to changes in the distribution of other income sources as to factors affecting the labor market.
Abstract: Several studies have tested for long-range dependence in macroeconomic and financial time series but very few have assessed the usefulness of long-memory models as forecast generating mechanisms. This study tests for fractional differencing in the U.S. monetary indices (simple sum and divisia) and compares the out-of-sample fractional forecasts to benchmark forecasts. The long-memory parameter is estimated using Robinson's Gaussian semiparametric and multivariate log-periodogram methods. The evidence amply suggests that the monetary series possess a fractional order between one and two. Fractional out-of-sample forecasts are consistently more accurate (with the exception of the M3 series) than benchmark autoregressive forecasts but the forecasting gains are not generally statistically significant. In terms of forecast encompassing, the fractional model encompasses the autoregressive model for the divisia series but neither model encompasses the other for the simple sum series.
Abstract: We consider estimation of means of functions that are scaled by an unknown density, or equivalently, integrals of conditional expectations. The "ordered data" estimator we provide is root n consistent, asymptotically normal, and is numerically extremely simple, involving little more than ordering the data and summing the results. No sample size dependent smoothing is required. A similarly simple estimator is provided for the limiting variance. The proofs include new limiting distribution results for functions of nearest neighbor spacings. Potential applications include endogeneous binary choice, willingness to pay, selection, and treatment models.
Abstract: This paper considers identification and estimation of the marginal effect of a mismeasured binary regressor in a nonparametric regression, or the conditional average effect of a binary treatment or policy on some outcome where treatment may be misclassified. Misclassification probabilities and the true probability of treatment are also nonparametrically identified. Misclassification occurs when treatment is measured with error, that is, some units are reported to have received treatment when they actually have not, and vice versa. The identifying assumption is existence of a variable that affects the decision to treat (the binary regressor) and satisfies some conditional independence assumptions. This variable could be an instrument or a second mismeasure of treatment. Estimation is either ordinary GMM or a proposed local GMM, which can be used generally to nonparametrically estimate functions based on conditional moment restrictions. An empirical application estimating returns to schooling is provided.
Abstract: We examine the international transmission of business cycles in a two-country economy in which credit contracts are imperfectly enforceable. In our economy, foreign lenders differ from domestic lenders in their ability to recover value from borrowers' assets and, therefore, to protect themselves against contractual non-enforceability. The relative importance of domestic and foreign credit frictions changes over the cycle. This induces entrepreneurs to adjust their debt exposure and allocation of collateral between domestic and foreign lenders in response to exogenous productivity shocks. We show that such a model can explain positive output correlations across countries. The model also appears consistent with econometric evidence on asset values and domestic and foreign debt exposure.
Abstract: This paper is concerned with the application of microeconomic theory to resource allocation in the transportation sector. The basic questions it addresses are how transportation should be priced and how capacity should be determined. Three models, the traditional highway pricing and investment model, the highway bottleneck model, and the traditional model of mass transit pricing and service, are employed to develop principles common to all transportation modes. This paper has been published as a chapter with the same title in Randolph W. Hall, ed., Handbook of Transportation Science, 2nd ed., Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2002.
Abstract: This paper empirically investigates whether changes in macroeconomic volatility affect the efficient allocation of non-financial firms' liquid assets. We argue that higher uncertainty will hamper managers' ability to accurately predict firm-specific information and induce them to implement similar cash management policies. Contrarily, when the macroeconomic environment becomes more tranquil, each manager will have the latitude to behave more idiosyncratically as she can adjust liquid assets based on the specific requirements of the firm, bringing about a more efficient allocation of liquid assets. Our empirical analysis provides support for these predictions.
Abstract: This paper considers the second-best policy problem that arises when auto travel is priced below its marginal cost and there is a substitute mass transit mode. We analyze the problem by combining a model of a rail line based on Kraus and Yoshida (JUE, 2002)) with the highway bottleneck model. The model involves a transit authority which optimizes, in addition to the fare, two dimensions of transit capacity. These are (1) the number of train units serving the route and (2) the capacity of an individual train unit. Under a very weak condition, second-best optimality involves expanding both dimensions of transit capacity. The larger of the effects is on train size.