2008

0815

The Most-Favored Nation Rule in Club Enlargement Negotiation
Edwin L.C. Lai
Abstract: We study the effects of the Most-Favored Nation rule in an applicant's negotiation to join a club. When the applicant has to carry out a series of bilateral bargains with the existing members, we find that there are two effects of the MFN rule, viz. the hardened bargainer effect and the free-rider effect. The former effect tends to favor the applicant, while the latter effect tends to hurt the applicant. We find that the free-rider effect is stronger the more asymmetric are the members. The hardened bargainer effect is stronger the larger is the "size of the pie." As the number of members increase, it is more likely that the hardened bargainer effect would dominate.

0814

What Do Majority-Voting Politics Say About Redistributive Taxation of Consumption and Factor Income? Not Much.
Jim Dolmas
Abstract: Tax rates on labor income, capital income and consumption— and the redistributive transfers those taxes finances differ widely across developed countries. Can majority-voting methods, applied to a calibrated growth model, explain that variation? The answer I fund is yes, and then some. In this paper, I examine a simple growth model, calibrated roughly to U.S. data, in which the political decision is over constant paths of taxes on factor income and consumption, used to finance a lump-sum transfer. I first look at outcomes under probabilistic voting, and find that equilibria are extremely sensitive to the specification of uncertainty. I then consider other ways to restrict the range of majority-rule outcomes, looking at the model's implications for the shape of the Pareto set and the uncovered set, and the existence or non-existence of a Condorcet winner. Solving the model on discrete grid of policy choices, I find that no Condorcet winner exists and that the Pareto and uncovered sets, while small relative to the entire issue space, are large relative to the range of tax policies we see in data for a collection of 20 OECD countries. Taking that data as the issue space, I find that none of the 20 can be ruled out on efficiency grounds, and that 10 of the 20 are in the uncovered set. Those 10 encompass policies as diverse as those of the US, Norway and Austria. One can construct a Condorcet cycle including all 10 countries' tax vectors.

The key features of the model here, as compared to other models on the endogenous determination of taxes and redistribution, is that the issue space is multidimensional and, at the same time, no one voter type is sufficiently numerous to be decisive. I conclude that the sharp predictions of papers in this literature may not survive an expansion of their issue spaces or the allowance for a slightly less homogeneous electorate.

0813

Keynesian Economics without the LM and IS Curves: A Dynamic Generalization of the Taylor-Romer Model
Evan F. Koenig
Abstract: John Taylor and David Romer champion an approach to teaching undergraduate macroeconomics that dispenses with the LM half of the IS-LM model and replaces it with a rule for setting the interest rate as a function of inflation and the output gap—i.e., a Taylor rule. But the IS curve is problematic, too. It is consistent with the permanent-income hypothesis only when the interest rate that enters the IS equation is a long-term rate not the short-term rate controlled by the monetary authority. This article shows how the Taylor-Romer framework can be readily modified to eliminate this maturity mismatch. The modified model is a dynamic system in output and inflation, with a unique stable path that behaves very much like Taylor and Romer's aggregate demand (AD) schedule. Many—but not all—of the original Taylor-Romer model's predictions carry over to the new framework. It helps bridge the gap between the Taylor-Romer analysis and the more sophisticated models taught in graduate-level courses.

0812

The Elasticity of Intertemporal Substitution: New Evidence from 401(k) Participation
Gary V. Engelhardt and Anil Kumar
Published as: Engelhardt, Gary V. and Anil Kumar (2009), "The Elasticity of Intertemporal Substitution: New Evidence from 401(k) Participation," Economics Letters 103 (1): 15-17.
Abstract: A key parameter in economics is the elasticity of intertemporal substitution (EIS), which measures the extent to which consumers shift total expenditures across time in response to changes in the effective rate of return. In contrast to the previous literature, which primarily has relied on Euler equation methods and generated a wide range of estimates, we show how a life-cycle-consistent econometric specification of employee 401(k) participation along with plausibly exogenous variation in rates of return due to employer matching contributions can be used to generate new estimates of the EIS. Because firms often cap the generosity of the match, employer matching generates nonlinearities in household budget sets. We draw on non-linear budget-set estimation methods rooted in the public economics literature, and using detailed administrative contribution, earnings, and pension-plan data for a sample of 401(k)-eligible households from the Health and Retirement Study, we estimate the EIS to be 0.74 in our richest specification, with a 95% confidence interval that ranges from 0.37 to 1.21.

0811

Stationarity and the Term Structure of Interest Rates: A Characterisation of Stationary and Unit Root Yield Curves
Clive G. Bowsher and Roland Meeks
Abstract: The nature of yield curve dynamics and the determinants of the integration order of yields are investigated using a benchmark economy in which the logarithmic expectations theory holds and the regularity condition of a limiting yield and limiting term premium is satisfied. By considering a zero-coupon yield curve with a complete term structure of maturities, a linear vector autoregressive process is constructed that provides an arbitrarily accurate moving average representation of the complete yield curve as its cross-sectional dimension (n) goes to infinity. We use this to prove the following novel results. First, any I(2) component vanishes owing to the almost sure (a.s.) convergence of the innovations to yields, vt(n), as n. Second, the yield curve is stationary if and only if nvt(n) converges a.s., or equivalently the innovations to log discount bond prices converge a.s.; otherwise yields are I(1). A necessary condition for either stationarity or the absence of arbitrage is that the limiting yield is constant over time. Since the time-varying component of term premia is small in various fixed-income markets, these results provide insight into the critical determinants of the stationarity properties of the term structure.

0810

Globalization of Production and the Technology Transfer Paradox
Ferre De Graeve
Abstract: This paper develops a growth model aimed at understanding the effects of globalization of production on rate of innovation, distribution of labor income between the North and South and welfare of workers in both regions. We adopt a dynamic general equilibrium product-cycle model, assuming that the North specializes in innovation and the South specializes in imitation. Globalization of production resulting from trade liberalization and imitation of the North's technology by the South increases the rate of innovation. When the South's participation in the product cycle is not too deep, further deepening of globalization of production lowers the wage of Southern labor relative to that of its counterpart in the North. This poses a technology transfer paradox similar to that discovered by Jones and Ruffin (forthcoming, JIE): an increase in the uncompensated technology transfer from the North to the South makes the North better off. However, a point will be reached where further deepening of globalization leads to increases in relative wage of the South. For this reason, the North would eventually lose from uncompensated technology transfer as globalization deepens.

0809

The External Finance Premium and the Macroeconomy: US Post–WWII Evidence
Ferre De Graeve
Published as: De Graeve, Ferre (2008), "The External Finance Premium and the Macroeconomy: US Post–WWII Evidence," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control 32 (1): 3415-3440.
Abstract: The central variable of theories of financial frictions—the external finance premium is unobservable. This paper distills the external finance premium from a DSGE model estimated on U.S. macroeconomic data. Within the DSGE framework, movements in the premium can be given an interpretation in terms of shocks driving business cycles. A key result is that the estimates based solely on nonfinancial macroeconomic data—picks up over 70 percent of the dynamics of lower grade corporate bond spreads. The paper also identifies a gain in fitting key macroeconomic aggregates by including financial frictions in the model and documents how shock transmission is affected.

0808

On the Effectiveness of the Federal Reserve's New Liquidity Facilities
Tao Wu
Abstract: This paper examines the effectiveness of the new liquidity facilities that the Federal Reserve established in response to the recent financial crisis. I develop a no-arbitrage based affine term structure model with default risk and conduct a thorough factor analysis of the counterparty default risk among major financial institutions and the underlying mortgage default risk. The new facilities' effectiveness is examined, by first separately examining their effects in relieving financial institutions' liquidity concerns and reducing the counterparty risk premiums, and then quantifying their overall effects in reducing financial strains in the inter-bank money market.

Empirical results indicate that the Term Auction Facility (TAF) has a strong effect in reducing financial strains in the inter-bank money market, primarily through relieving financial institutions' liquidity concerns. Heightened uncertainty regarding the macroeconomy, financial markets, and mortgage default risk have significantly raised counterparty risk premiums among financial institutions, but have had little effect on their liquidity premiums. The Term Securities Lending Facility (TSLF) and the Primary Dealer Credit Facility (PDCF), however, are found to have had less discernible effects so far in relieving financial strains in the Libor market. This is consistent with market observations of a weaker interest from primary dealers in participating in the TSLF auctions than banks have shown in tapping the TAF.

0807

Regulation and the Neo-Wicksellian Approach to Monetary Policy
John V. Duca and Tao Wu
Published as: Duca, John V. and Tao Wu (2009), "Regulation and the Neo-Wicksellian Approach to Monetary Policy," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking 41 (4): 799-807.
Abstract: Laubach and Williams (2003) employ a Kalman filter approach to jointly estimate the neutral real federal funds rate and trend output growth using an IS relationship and an output gap based inflation equation. They find a positive link between these two variables, but also much error surrounding neutral real rate estimates. We modify their approach by including variables for regulations on deposit interest rates and on wages and prices. These variables are statistically significant and notably affect estimates of two policy relevant coefficients: the sensitivity of output to the real interest rate and that of inflation to the output gap.

0806

Variety, Globalization, and Social Efficiency
W. Michael Cox and Roy J. Ruffin
Published as: Cox, W. Michael and Roy J. Ruffin (2010), "Variety, Globalization, and Social Efficiency," Southern Economic Journal 76 (4): 1064-1075.
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.

0805

The Effect of Minimum Wages on Immigrants' Employment and Earnings
Pia Orrenius and Madeline Zavodny
Published as: Orrenius, Pia M. and Madeline Zavodny (2008), "The Effect of Minimum Wages on Immigrants' Employment and Earnings," Industrial and Labor Relations Review 61 (4): 544-563.
Abstract: This study examines how minimum wage laws affect the employment and earnings of low-skilled immigrants and natives in the U.S. Minimum wage increases might have larger effects among low-skilled immigrants than among natives because, on average, immigrants earn less than natives due to lower levels of education, limited English skills, and less social capital. Results based on data from the Current Population Survey for the years 1994–2005 do not indicate that minimum wages have adverse employment effects among adult immigrants or natives who did not complete high school. However, low-skilled immigrants may have been discouraged from settling in states that set wage floors substantially above the federal minimum.

0804

The Dynamics of Economic Functions: Modelling and Forecasting the Yield Curve
Clive G. Bowsher and Roland Meeks
Published as: Bowsher, Clive G. and Roland Meeks (2008), "The Dynamics of Economic Functions: Modelling and Forecasting the Yield Curve," Journal of the American Statistical Association 130 (484): 1419-1437.
Abstract: The class of Functional Signal plus Noise (FSN) models is introduced that provides a new, general method for modelling and forecasting time series of economic functions. The underlying, continuous economic function (or "signal") is a natural cubic spline whose dynamic evolution is driven by a cointegrated vector autoregression for the ordinates (or "y-values") at the knots of the spline. The natural cubic spline provides flexible cross-sectional fit and results in a linear, state space model. This FSN model achieves dimension reduction, provides a coherent description of the observed yield curve and its dynamics as the cross-sectional dimension N becomes large, and can feasibly be estimated and used for forecasting when N is large. The integration and cointegration properties of the model are derived. The FSN models are then applied to forecasting 36-dimensional yield curves for US Treasury bonds at the one month ahead horizon. The method consistently outperforms the Diebold and Li (2006) and random walk forecasts on the basis of both mean square forecast error criteria and economically relevant loss functions derived from the realised profits of pairs trading algorithms. The analysis also highlights in a concrete setting the dangers of attempts to infer the relative economic value of model forecasts on the basis of their associated mean square forecast errors.

0803

Why Stop There? Mexican Migration to the U.S. Border Region
Pia M. Orrenius, Madeline Zavodny and Leslie Lukens
Published as: Orrenius, Pia M., Madeline Zavodny and Leslie Lukens (2009), "Differences between Mexican Migration to the U.S. Border and Interior: Evidence from Mexican Survey Data," in Labor Market Issues along the U.S.-Mexico Border, ed. Marie T. Mora and Alberto Dávila (Tuscon, AZ: University of Arizona Press), 139-159.
Abstract: The transformation of the U.S. border economy since the 1980s provides a fascinating backdrop to explore how migration to the U. S. side of the Mexican border has changed vis-a-vis migration to the U.S. interior. Some long-standing patterns of border migrants remained unchanged during this period while others underwent drastic changes. For example, border migrants are consistently more likely to be female, to have migrated within Mexico, and to lack migrant networks as compared with migrants to the U.S. interior. Meanwhile, the occupational profile of border migrants has changed drastically from being predominately agricultural work to being largely made up of service-sector and sales-related work. Border migration is more sensitive to Mexican and U.S. business cycles than migration to the U.S. interior throughout the period and, while the data suggest border migrant wages may have caught up to other migrants' wages by the early 2000s, multivariate analysis indicates that border migrants who are female and/or undocumented continue to earn far less than such migrants who work in the U.S. interior.

0802

Deliverability and Regional Pricing in U.S. Natural Gas Markets
Stephen P. A. Brown and Mine K. Yücel
Published as: Brown, Stephen P.A. and Mine K. Yücel (2008), "Deliverability and Regional Pricing in U.S. Natural Gas Markets," Energy Economics 30 (5): 2441-2453.
Abstract: During the 1980s and early '90s, interstate natural gas markets in the United States made a transition away from the regulation that characterized the previous three decades. With abundant supplies and plentiful pipeline capacity, a new order emerged in which freer markets and arbitrage closely linked natural gas price movements throughout the country. After the mid-1990s, however, U.S. natural gas markets tightened and some pipelines were pushed to capacity. We look for the pricing effects of limited arbitrage through causality testing between prices at nodes on the U.S. natural gas transportation system and interchange prices at regional nodes on North American electricity grids. Our tests do reveal limited arbitrage, which is indicative of bottlenecks in the U.S. natural gas pipeline system.

0801

The Poor, the Rich and the Enforcer: Institutional Choice and Growth
Erwan Quintin, Thorsten Koeppl and Cyril Monnet
Abstract: We study economies where improving the quality of institutions—modeled as improving contract enforcement—requires resources, but enables trade that raises output by reducing the dispersion of marginal products of capital. We find that in this type of environment it is optimal to combine institutional building with endowment redistribution, and that more ex-ante dispersion in marginal products increases the incentives to invest in enforcement. In addition, we show that institutional investments lead over time to a progressive reduction in inequality. Finally, the framework we describe enables us to formalize the hypothesis formulated by Engerman and Sokoloff (2002) that the initial concentration of human and physical capital can explain the divergence of different countries' institutional history.

Globalization Institute Working Papers

Globalization Institute No. 22

The Taylor Rule and Forecast Intervals for Exchange Rates 

Jian Wang and Jason J. Wu
Published as: Wang, Jian and Jason J. Wu (2012), "The Taylor Rule and Forecast Intervals for Exchange Rates," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking 44 (1): 103-144.

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.

Globalization Institute No. 21

Vertical Specialization and International Business Cycle Synchronization 

Costas Arkolakis and Ananth Ramanarayanan
Published as: Arkolakis, Costas and Ananth Ramanarayanan (2009), "Vertical Specialization and International Business Cycle Synchronization," The Scandinavian Journal of Economics 111 (4): 655-680.

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.

Globalization Institute 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.

Globalization Institute No. 19

Default and the Maturity Structure in Sovereign Bonds 

Cristina Arellano and 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.

Globalization Institute No. 17

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

Enrique Martinez-Garcia and Jens Søndergaard
Published as: Martínez-García, Enrique and Jens Søndergaard (2013), "Investment and Real Exchange in Sticky Price Models," Macroeconomic Dynamics17 (2): 195-234.

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.

Globalization Institute 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.

Globalization Institute No. 15

Variety, Globalization, and Social Efficiency 

W. Michael Cox and Roy J. Ruffin
Published as: Cox, W. Michael and Roy J. Ruffin (2010), "Variety, Globalization, and Social Efficiency," Southern Economic Journal 76 (4): 1064-1075.

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.

Globalization Institute 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.

Globalization Institute No. 8

How Should Central Banks Define Price Stability? 

Mark A. Wynne
Published as: Wynne, Mark A. (2009), "How Should Central Banks Define Price Stability?," in Designing Central Banks, eds. David Mayes and Geoffrey Wood (London: Routledge), 107-129.

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?

Globalization Institute 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.