Demographics and the Evolution of Global Imbalances
Abstract: The working age share of the population has evolved, and will continue to evolve, asymmetrically across countries. I develop a dynamic, multicountry, Ricardian trade model with endogenous labor supply to quantify how these asymmetries systematically affect the pattern of trade imbalances across 28 countries from 1970-2014. Changes in both domestic and foreign working age shares impact a country's net exports directly through the demand for net saving and indirectly through relative labor supply and population growth. Counterfactually removing demographic-induced changes to saving unveils a strong negative contemporaneous relationship between net exports and productivity growth. Demographics, thus, alleviate the allocation puzzle, and do so to a greater degree than investment distortions. Neither labor market distortions nor trade distortions systematically reconcile the puzzle.
Why Haven’t Regional Wages
Jason L. Saving
Abstract: Regional wage convergence has long been predicted across the United States as barriers to factor mobility have fallen, yet there is little evidence (apart from a brief period in the 1970s and 1980s) that convergence has actually occurred. Why not? I reexamine this issue by developing a model in which fiscal policy differences across states endogenously impact labor supply across jurisdictions. I find that states whose safety nets are relatively generous will tend to drive out workers, raising wages for those who remain while also prompting net outmigration to less generous states. This suggests that regional wage convergence requires not only free factor mobility but also the coordination of fiscal policy across jurisdictions.
Industry Effects of Oil Price
Soojin Jo, Lilia Karnizova and Abeer Reza
Abstract: Sectoral responses to oil price shocks help determine how these shocks are transmitted through the economy. Textbook treatments of oil price shocks often emphasize negative supply effects on oil importing countries. By contrast, the seminal contribution of Lee and Ni (2002) has shown that almost all U.S. industries experience oil price shocks largely through a reduction in their respective demands. Only industries with very high oil intensities face a supply-driven reduction. In this paper, we re-examine this seminal findings using two additional decades of data. Further, we apply updated empirical methods, including structural factor-augmented vector autoregressions, that take into account how industries are linked among themselves and with the remainder of the macro-economy. Our results confirm the original finding of Lee and Ni that demand effects of oil price shocks dominate in all but a handful of U.S. industries.
Geographic Inequality of Economic Well-being among U.S. Cities: Evidence from Micro Panel Data
Chi-Young Choi and Alexander Chudik
Abstract: We analyze the geographic inequality of economic well-being among U.S. cities by utilizing a novel measure of quantity based product-level economic well-being, i.e., the number of goods and services that can be purchased by consumers with an average city wage. We find a considerable cross-city dispersion in the economic well-being and the geographic dispersion has been on the steady rise since the mid-1990s for most goods and services under study. Strong geographic correlations exist in the local economic well-being and our empirical analysis based on a Global VAR (GVAR) model suggests that national shocks are an important source behind it. On average, about 30-35% of the variance of local well-being is explained by common national shocks, but the impact of common national shocks varies considerably across products, albeit to a lesser extent across cities. Nationwide unemployment shock, for example, has a stronger effect in the products whose prices are adjusted more frequently and in the cities that have a larger fraction of high-skill workers. Taken together, our results indicate that the geographic inequality of economic well-being observed in the U.S. has proceeded over time mainly through the products with more flexible price adjustments and in the cities with higher concentration of skilled workers.
Does Medicaid Generosity
Affect Household Income? (Revised April 2018)
Abstract: Almost all recent literature on Medicaid and labor supply has used Affordable Care Act (ACA)-induced Medicaid eligibility expansions in various states as natural experiments. Estimated effects on employment and earnings differ widely due to differences in the scope of eligibility expansion across states and are potentially subject to biases due to policy endogeneity. Using a Regression Kink Design (RKD) framework, this paper takes a uniquely different approach to the identification of the effect of Medicaid generosity on household income. Both state-level data and March CPS data from 1980–2013 suggest that generous federal funding of state-level Medicaid costs has a negative effect on household income. The negative impact of Medicaid generosity on household income is more pronounced at the lower end of the household income distribution and on the income and earnings of female heads.
Monetary Policy Divergence, Net Capital Flows, and Exchange Rates: Accounting for Endogenous Policy Responses
Scott Davis and Andrei Zlate
Abstract: This paper measures the effect of monetary tightening in key advanced economies on net capital flows and exchange rates around the world. Measuring this effect is complicated by the fact that the domestic monetary policies of affected economies respond endogenously to the foreign tightening shock. Using a structural VAR framework with quarterly panel data we estimate the impulse responses of domestic policy variables and net capital flows to a foreign monetary tightening shock. We find that the endogenous responses of domestic monetary policy depends on each economy’s capital account openness and exchange rate regime. We develop a method to plot counter-factual impulse responses for net capital outflows under the assumption that domestic interest rates are held constant despite foreign monetary tightening. Our results suggests that failing to account for the endogenous response of domestic monetary policy biases down the estimated elasticity of net capital flows to foreign interest rates by as much as ¼ for floaters and ½ for peggers with open capital accounts.
The U.S. Shale Oil Boom, the Oil Export Ban, and the Economy: A General Equilibrium Analysis
Nida Çakır Melek, Michael Plante and Mine Yücel
Abstract: This paper examines the effects of the U.S. shale oil boom in a two-country DSGE model where countries produce crude oil, refined oil products, and a non-oil good. The model incorporates different types of crude oil that are imperfect substitutes for each other as inputs into the refining sector. The model is calibrated to match oil market and macroeconomic data for the U.S. and the rest of the world (ROW). We investigate the implications of a significant increase in U.S. light crude oil production similar to the shale oil boom. Consistent with the data, our model predicts that light oil prices decline, U.S. imports of light oil fall dramatically, and light oil crowds out the use of medium crude by U.S. refiners. In addition, fuel prices fall and U.S. GDP rises. We then use our model to examine the potential implications of the former U.S. crude oil export ban. The model predicts that the ban was a binding constraint in 2013 through 2015. We find that the distortions introduced by the policy are greatest in the refining sector. Light oil prices become artificially low in the U.S., and U.S. refineries produce inefficiently high amount of refined products, but the impact on refined product prices and GDP are negligible.
A Bias-Corrected Method of Moments Approach to Estimation of
Dynamic Short-T Panels
Alexander Chudik and M. Hashem Pesaran
Abstract: This paper contributes to the GMM literature by introducing the idea of self-instrumenting target variables instead of searching for instruments that are uncorrelated with the errors, in cases where the correlation between the target variables and the errors can be derived. The advantage of the proposed approach lies in the fact that, by construction, the instruments have maximum correlation with the target variables and the problem of weak instrument is thus avoided. The proposed approach can be applied to estimation of a variety of models such as spatial and dynamic panel data models. In this paper we focus on the latter and consider both univariate and multivariate panel data models with short time dimension. Simple Bias-corrected Methods of Moments (BMM) estimators are proposed and shown to be consistent and asymptotically normal, under very general conditions on the initialization of the processes, individual-specific effects, and error variances allowing for heteroscedasticity over time as well as cross-sectionally. Monte Carlo evidence document BMM’s good small sample performance across different experimental designs and sample sizes, including in the case of experiments where the system GMM estimators are inconsistent. We also find that the proposed estimator does not suffer size distortions and has satisfactory power performance as compared to other estimators.
Equity Regulation and U.S. Venture Capital Investment
Tyler Atkinson and John V. Duca
Abstract: There is a growing consensus that the long-run per capita growth rate of the U.S. economy has drifted lower since the early 2000s, consistent with a perceived slowdown in business dynamism. One factor that may have contributed to this is a downshift in venture capital investment and its failure to recover in line with stock prices, as pre-2003 patterns would suggest. Critics have argued that this is associated with the increased regulatory burden for publically traded firms to comply with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX). There is inconclusive evidence of SOX deterring firms from becoming publically traded as indicated by IPO activity, a proxy reflecting several factors that may not be as tied to innovation as venture capital. Earlier tests of SOX’s impact on venture capital activity, which tended to focus on cross-sectional evidence, were hampered by a short time-series sample following the Internet-stock bust of the early 2000s. Taking advantage of the large-sized rise, fall, and recovery in stock prices since then, this study assesses whether the time-series behavior of venture capital investment shifted following SOX. We find evidence of a time-series break in the middle of our sample, consistent with the passage of SOX. Estimates indicate that the slower post-SOX pace of venture capital investment is mainly attributed to a reduced elasticity of such investment with respect to stock prices rather than to a simple downshift in the level of investment. Our estimates suggest that a cost-benefit analysis of SOX could be worthwhile, especially given concerns that the long-run growth rate of U.S. productivity and GDP has been unusually sluggish and the emerging consensus that excessive debt financing—not equity financing—is more tied to the subset of financial crises associated with severe macroeconomic downturns.
Detecting Periods of Exuberance: A Look at the Role of Aggregation with an Application to House Prices (Revised July 2018)
Efthymios Pavlidis, Enrique Martinez-Garcia and Valerie Grossman
Abstract: The recently developed SADF and GSADF unit root tests of Phillips and Yu (2011) and Phillips et al. (2015a,b) have become popular in the literature for detecting exuberance in asset prices. In this paper, we examine through simulation experiments the effect of cross-sectional aggregation on the power properties of these tests. The simulation design considered is based on simulated data and actual housing data for both U.S. metropolitan areas and international housing markets and thus allows us to draw conclusions for different levels of aggregation. Our findings suggest that aggregation lowers the power of both the SADF and GSADF tests. The effect, however, is much larger for the SADF test. We also provide evidence that tests based on panel data techniques, namely the panel GSADF test recently proposed by Pavlidis et al. (2016), can perform substantially better than univariate tests applied to aggregated series. Furthermore, we also illustrate the date-stamping procedure under the univariate/panel GSADF procedure uncovering novel evidence on the role of interest rates and policy uncertainty as factors explaining episodes of widespread mildly explosive dynamics in housing markets.
Globalization and the Increasing Correlation between Capital Inflows and Outflows
J. Scott Davis and Eric van Wincoop
Abstract: The correlation between capital inflows and outflows has increased substantially over time in a sample of 128 advanced and developing countries. We provide evidence that this is a result of an increase in financial globalization (stock of external assets and liabilities). This dominates the effect of an increase in trade globalization (exports plus imports), which reduces the correlation between capital inflows and outflows. In the context of a two-country model with 14 shocks we show that the theoretical impact of financial and trade globalization on the correlation between capital inflows and outflows is consistent with the data.
Good Policies or Good Luck? New Insights on Globalization and the International Monetary Policy Transmission Mechanism
Abstract: The open-economy dimension is central to the discussion of the trade-offs that monetary policy faces in an increasingly integrated world. I investigate the monetary policy transmission mechanism in a two-country workhorse New Keynesian model where policy is set according to Taylor (1993) rules. I find that a common monetary policy isolates the effects of trade openness on the cross-country dispersion alone, and that the establishment of a currency union as a means of deepening economic integration may lead to indeterminacy. I argue that the common (coordinated) monetary policy equilibrium is the relevant benchmark for policy analysis showing that in that case open economies tend to experience lower macro volatility, a flatter Phillips curve, and more accentuated trade-offs between inflation and slack. Moreover, the trade elasticity often magnifies the effects of trade integration (globalization) beyond what conventional measures of trade openness would imply. I also discuss how other features such as the impact of a common and stronger anti-inflation bias, technological diffusion across countries, and the sensitivity of labor supply to real wages influence the quantitative effects of policy and openness in this context. Finally, I conclude that these theoretical predictions are largely consistent with the stylized facts of the Great Moderation.
Understanding the Aggregate Effects of Credit Frictions and Uncertainty
Nathan S. Balke, Enrique Martínez-García and Zheng Zeng
Abstract: This paper integrates a financial accelerator mechanism à la Bernanke et al. (1999) and time-varying uncertainty into a Dynamic New Keynesian model. We examine the extent to which uncertainty and credit conditions interact with one another. The idea is that uncertainty aggravates the information asymmetry between lenders and borrowers, and worsens credit conditions. Already poor credit conditions amplify the effect of shocks (to both the mean and variance) on the aggregate economy. In our model, uncertainty modelled as time-varying stochastic volatility emerges from monetary policy (policy uncertainty), financial risks (micro-uncertainty), and the aggregate state of the economy (macro-uncertainty). Using a third order approximation, we find that micro-uncertainty has first order effects on economic activity through its direct impact on credit conditions. We also find that if credit conditions (as measured by the endogenous risk spread) are already poor, then additional micro-uncertainty shocks have even larger real effects. In turn, shocks to aggregate uncertainty (macro- and policy-uncertainty) have relatively small direct effects on aggregate economic activity.
Estimating the Natural Rate of Interest in an Open Economy
Supplement | Codes
Mark A. Wynne and Ren Zhang
Abstract: The concept of the natural or equilibrium rate of interest has attracted a lot of attention from monetary policymakers in recent years. Most attempts to estimate the natural rate use a closed economy framework. We argue that in the face of greater integration of global product and capital markets, an open economy framework is more appropriate. We provide some initial estimates of the natural rate for the United States and Japan in a two-country framework. Our identifying assumptions include a close relationship between the time-varying natural rate of interest and the low-frequency fluctuations of potential output growth in both the home country and the foreign country. Our results suggest that the natural rates in both countries are mainly determined by their own trend growth rates of potential output. Nevertheless, the other country's trend growth plays an important role in several specific periods. The gap between the actual real interest rate and our estimated natural rate offers valuable insights into the recent stance of monetary policy in both of these two countries.
Measuring the World Natural Rate of Interest
Supplement | Codes
Mark A. Wynne and Ren Zhang
Abstract: This paper makes the first attempt to estimate the time-varying natural rate jointly with the output gap and trend potential output growth for the world as a whole using a simple unobserved components model broadly following the methodology developed by Laubach and Williams (2003). We find that the world natural rate has been trending down for the past few decades. Nearly half of the variation in the natural rate is accounted for by the trend potential output growth rate. However, the relationship between the world natural interest rate and the world trend growth is modest and not statistically significant.
Uncertainty Shocks in a Model of Effective Demand: Comment
Oliver de Groot, Alexander W. Richter and Nathaniel A. Throckmorton
Abstract: Basu and Bundick (2017) show a second moment intertemporal preference shock creates meaningful declines in output in a sticky price model with Epstein and Zin (1991) preferences. The result, however, rests on the way they model the shock. If a preference shock is included in Epstein-Zin preferences, the distributional weights on current and future utility must sum to 1, otherwise it creates an asymptote in the response to the shock with unit intertemporal elasticity of substitution. When we change the preferences so the weights sum to 1, the asymptote disappears as well as their main results—uncertainty shocks generate small increases in output and comovement with consumption and investment that is at odds with the data. We examine three changes to the model—recalibration, a risk-premium shock, and a disaster risk-type shock—to try and restore their results, but in all three cases the model is unable to match VAR evidence.
A New Way to Quantify the Effect of Uncertainty (Revised February 2018)
Alexander W. Richter and Nathaniel A. Throckmorton
Abstract: This paper develops a new way to quantify the effect of uncertainty and other higher-order moments. First, we estimate a nonlinear model using Bayesian methods with data on uncertainty, in addition to common macro time series. This key step allows us to decompose the exogenous and endogenous sources of uncertainty, calculate the effect of volatility following the cost of business cycles literature, and generate data-driven policy functions for any higher-order moment. Second, we use the Euler equation to analytically decompose consumption into several terms—expected consumption, the ex-ante real interest rate, and the ex-ante variance and skewness of future consumption, technology growth, and inflation—and then use the policy functions to filter the data and create a time series for the effect of each term. We apply our method to a familiar New Keynesian model with a zero lower bound constraint on the nominal interest rate and two stochastic volatility shocks, but it is adaptable to a broad class of models.
The Double-Edged Sword of Global Integration: Robustness, Fragility & Contagion in the International Firm Network
Everett Grant and Julieta Yung
Abstract: We estimate global inter-firm networks across all major industries from 1981 through 2016 and provide the first empirical tests for both robust (beneficial) and fragile (harmful) network behavior, relating firms' health with global integration. More connected firms are less likely to be in distress and have higher profit growth and equity returns, but are also more exposed to direct contagion from distressed neighboring firms and network level crises. Our analysis reveals the centrality of finance in the international firm network and increased globalization, with greater potential for crises to spread globally when they do occur.
New Findings on the Fiscal Impact of Immigration in the United States
Abstract: The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (2016) report on the economic and fiscal effects of immigration included the first set of comprehensive fiscal impacts published in twenty years. The estimates highlight the pivotal role of the public goods assumption. If immigrants are assigned the average cost of public goods, such as national defense and interest on the debt, then immigration’s fiscal impact is negative in both the short and long run. However, marginal cost calculations are more relevant for policy decisions, and the report shows that if immigrants are assigned the marginal cost of public goods, then the long-run fiscal impact is positive and the short-run effect is negative but very small (less negative than that of natives). Moreover, highly-educated immigrants confer large positive fiscal impacts, contributing far more in taxes than they consume in public benefits. To the extent that immigrants impose net costs, these are concentrated at the state and local level and are largely due to the costs of public schooling.
How Taxes and Required Returns Drove Commercial Real Estate Valuations over the Past Four Decades
John V. Duca, Patric H. Hendershott and David C. Ling
Published as: Duca, John V., Patric H. Hendershott, and David C. Ling (2017), “How Taxes and Required Returns Drove Commercial Real Estate Valuations over the Past Four Decades,” National Tax Journal 70 (3), 549–584.
Abstract: We document the evolution of U.S. tax law regarding commercial real estate (CRE) since 1975, noting changes in income and capital gains tax rates and tax depreciation methods. The most prominent changes were the 1981 and 1986 Tax Acts, but numerous significant changes occurred in the last dozen years. We then compute the present value of tax depreciation per dollar of acquisition price and an effective tax rate for CRE. We explain the quarterly variation in CRE capitalization rates using an error correction framework and find that the long run estimates are statistically significant in the way theory would suggest. Moreover, the required financial asset return and the tax depreciation variable temporally predict (“cause”) capitalization rates in the long run, but not vice versa.
Exploring the Nexus Between Inflation and Globalization Under Inflation Targeting Through the Lens of New Zealand’s Experience
Ayşe Kabukçuoğlu and Enrique Martínez-García and Mehmet Ali Soytaş
Abstract: We investigate empirically the inflation dynamics in New Zealand, a small open economy and a pioneer in inflation targeting, under various open-economy Phillips curve specifications. Our forecasting exercise suggests that open-economy Phillips curves under standard measures of global slack do not help forecast domestic inflation, possibly indicating measurement problems with global slack itself. In turn, under a stable inflation target we still find that (i) global inflation and (ii) global inflation and oil prices have information content for headline CPI and core CPI inflation over the 1997:Q3-2015:Q1 period and appear to be reliable proxies for global slack in forecasting inflation.
Macroeconomic Uncertainty Through the Lens of Professional Forecasters
Soojin Jo and Rodrigo Sekkel
Abstract: We analyze the evolution of macroeconomic uncertainty in the United States, based on the forecast errors of consensus survey forecasts of various economic indicators. Comprehensive information contained in the survey forecasts enables us to capture a real-time subjective measure of uncertainty in a simple framework. We jointly model and estimate macroeconomic (common) and indicator-specific uncertainties of four indicators, using a factor stochastic volatility model. Our macroeconomic uncertainty has three major spikes aligned with the 1973–75, 1980, and 2007–09 recessions, while other recessions were characterized by increases in indicator-specific uncertainties. We also show that the selection of data vintages affects the estimates and relative size of jumps in estimated uncertainty series. Finally, our macroeconomic uncertainty has a persistent negative impact on real economic activity, rather than producing “wait-and-see” dynamics.
Capital Accumulation and Dynamic Gains from Trade (Revised November 2018)
B. Ravikumar, Ana Maria Santacreu and Michael Sposi
Abstract: We compute welfare gains from trade in a dynamic, multicountry model with capital accumulation and trade imbalances. We develop a gradient-free method to compute the exact transition paths following a trade liberalization. We find that (i) larger countries accumulate a current account surplus, and financial resources flow from larger countries to smaller countries, boosting consumption in the latter, (ii) countries with larger short-run trade deficits accumulate capital faster, (iii) the gains are nonlinear in the reduction in trade costs, and (iv) capital accumulation accounts for substantial gains. The net foreign asset position before the liberalization is positively correlated with the gains. The tradables intensity in consumption goods production determines the static gains, and the tradables intensity in investment goods production determines the dynamic gains that include capital accumulation.
Unauthorized Mexican Workers in the United States: Recent Inflows and Possible Future Scenarios
Pia M. Orrenius and Madeline Zavodny
Abstract: The U.S. economy has long relied on immigrant workers, many of them unauthorized, yet estimates of the inflow of unauthorized workers and the determinants of that inflow are hard to come by. This paper provides estimates of the number of newly arriving unauthorized workers from Mexico, the principal source of unauthorized immigrants to the United States, and examines how the inflow is related to U.S. and Mexico economic conditions. Our estimates suggest that annual inflows of unauthorized workers averaged about 170,000 during 1996-2014 but were much higher before the economic downturn that began in 2007. Labor market conditions in the U.S. and Mexico play key roles in this migrant flow. The models estimated here predict that annual unauthorized inflows from Mexico will be about 100,000 in the future if recent economic conditions persist, and higher if the U.S. economy booms or the Mexican economy weakens.