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  • Author: Luca Guerrieri, Dale W. Henderson, Jinill Kim
  • Publication Date: 02-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: In the last half of the 1990s, labor productivity growth rose in the U.S. and fell almost everywhere in Europe. We document changes in both capital deepening and multifactor productivity (MFP) growth in both the information and communication technology (ICT) and non-ICT sectors. We view MFP growth in the ICT sector as investment-specific productivity (ISP) growth. We perform simulations suggested by the data using a two-country DGE model with traded and nontraded goods. For ISP, we consider level increases and persistent growth rate increases that are symmetric across countries and allow for costs of adjusting capital-labor ratios that are higher in one country because of structural differences. ISP increases generate investment booms unless adjustment costs are too high. For MFP, we consider persistent growth rate shocks that are asymmetric. When such MFP shocks affect only traded goods (as often assumed), movements in 'international' variables are qualitatively similar to those in the data. However, when they also affect nontraded goods (as suggested by the data), movements in some of the variables are not. To obtain plausible results for the growth rate shocks, it is necessary to assume slow recognition.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Mark Carey, Gregory P. Nini
  • Publication Date: 08-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: We offer evidence that interest rate spreads on syndicated loans to corporate borrowers are economically significantly smaller in Europe than in the U.S., other things equal. Differences in borrower, loan and lender characteristics associated with equilibrium mechanisms suggested in the literature do not appear to explain the phenomenon. Borrowers overwhelmingly issue in their natural home market, and bank portfolios display significant home “bias.” This may explain why pricing discrepancies are not competed away, but the fundamental causes of the discrepancies remain a puzzle. Thus, important determinants of loan origination market outcomes remain to be identified, home “bias” appears to be material for pricing, and corporate financing costs differ in Europe and the U.S.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Tamim Bayoumi, Douglas Laxton, Paolo Pesenti
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: Using a general-equilibrium simulation model featuring nominal rigidities and monopolistic competition in product and labor markets, this paper estimates the macroeconomic benefits and international spillovers of an increase in competition. After calibrating the model to the euro area vs. the rest of the industrial world, the paper draws three conclusions. First, greater competition produces large effects on macroeconomic performance, as measured by standard indicators. In particular, we show that differences in competition can account for over half of the current gap in GDP per capita between the euro area and the US. Second, it may improve macroeconomic management by increasing the responsiveness of wages and prices to market conditions. Third, greater competition can generate positive spillovers to the rest of the world through its impact on the terms of trade.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Susan Athey, Andrew Atkeson, Patrick J. Kehoe
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: How much discretion should the monetary authority have in setting its policy? This question is analyzed in an economy with an agreed-upon social welfare function that depends on the randomly fluctuating state of the economy. The monetary authority has private information about that state. In the model, well-designed rules trade off society's desire to give the monetary authority discretion to react to its private information against society's need to guard against the time inconsistency problem arising from the temptation to stimulate the economy with unexpected inflation. Although this dynamic mechanism design problem seems complex, society can implement the optimal policy simply by legislating an inflation cap that specifies the highest allowable inflation rate. The more severe the time inconsistency problem, the more tightly the cap constrains policy and the smaller is the degree of discretion. As this problem becomes sufficiently severe, the optimal degree of discretion is none.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Economics, Government, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Pierpaolo Benigno, J. David Lopez-Salido
  • Publication Date: 12-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: In this paper we first present supporting evidence of the existence of heterogeneity in inflation dynamics across euro area countries. Based on the estimation of New Phillips Curves for five major countries of the euro area, we find that there is significant inertial (backward looking) behavior in inflation in four of them, while inflation in Germany has a dominant forward looking component. In the second part of the paper we present an optimizing agent model for the euro area emphasizing the heterogeneity in inflation persistence across regions. Allowing for such a backward looking component will affect the evaluation of the degree of nominal rigidities relevant for the monetary policy design. We explore the welfare implications of this circumstance by comparing the adjustment of the economies and the area as a whole in response to terms-of-trade shocks under four monetary policy rules: fully optimal, optimal inflation targeting, HICP targeting and output gap stabilization.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Fabio M. Natalucci, Federico Ravenna
  • Publication Date: 12-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: This paper examines the choice of exchange rate regime in EU candidate countries during the process of accession to the European Monetary Union (EMU). In the presence of real exchange rate appreciation due to the Balassa-Samuelson effect, candidate countries face a trade-off between trend appreciation of the nominal exchange rate and high inflation rates. In a general equilibrium model of an emerging market economy, we show that under a fixed or heavily managed exchange rate the Balassa-Samuelson effect might prevent compliance with the Maastricht inflation criterion, unless a contractionary policy is adopted. We then discuss how the real exchange rate appreciation shifts the output gap/inflation variance trade-off, increasing the cost of managing or fixing the exchange rate. As a consequence, the requirement of membership in the Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM-II) and the Maastricht inflation criterion constrain the policy choice while providing no additional benefit to countries credibly committed to joining the Euro. Finally, we show that relaxing either the exchange rate requirement or the inflation criterion has sharply different business cycle implications for the accession countries.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: John H. Rogers
  • Publication Date: 10-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: In light of 50 years of economic policies designed to integrate Europe -- culminating in the elimination of euro zone national currencies in early 2002 -- and a vast academic literature on international economic integration, it is of interest to assess how far European integration has come in practice. Using a unique data set, I document the pattern of price dispersion across European and U.S. cities from 1990 to 2001. I find a striking decline in dispersion for traded goods prices in Europe, most of which took place between 1991 and 1994. The level of traded goods price dispersion in the euro area is now quite close to that of the United States. A decline in dispersion of non-tradeables prices in Europe has also taken place, but to a smaller extent. For U.S. cities, there is no evidence of a decline in price dispersion, even for tradeables. I examine several possible explanations for the decline in European price dispersion, including harmonization of tax rates, convergence of incomes and labor costs, liberalization of trade and factor markets, and increased coherence of monetary policy. I also investigate how much of the variation in national inflation rates in Europe can be explained by price level convergence. Finally, after showing that prices in likely next-round entrants into the euro zone are well below prices in Western Europe, I discuss the potential inflationary consequences of accession into monetary union for Eastern Europe.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Carol C. Bertaut
  • Publication Date: 04-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: Although most recent empirical research regarding the size and significance of the impact of changes in wealth on consumption has looked for such effects in the United States, equity prices in the 1990s rose considerably in most other industrial countries as well. This paper investigates the strength of the wealth effect across countries. Using a variety of methods, I find evidence of significant wealth effects in the United Kingdom and Canada of a size comparable to that in the United States, reflecting the importance of equities in aggregate household wealth in these countries. A significant wealth effect is also evident in Japan, but because household wealth has changed little on balance in Japan in recent years, this channel has been less important in explaining Japanese consumption growth in the second half of the 1990s. Despite a rapid appreciation in equity prices and an increase in equity ownership in the major continental European countries since 1995, equities remain a less important form of household wealth in most of these countries, and the consumption response to changes in wealth remains limited. However, in some smaller European countries where equity issuance is more common, the emerging evidence suggests that wealth effects may be more important.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom, Europe, Canada
  • Author: Joseph E. Gagnon, Dale W. Henderson, Brian M. Doyle, Laurence H. Meyer
  • Publication Date: 04-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: In this paper we provide two building blocks for an analysis of international policy coordination: (1) a survey of models of policy coordination, and (2) an account of experience with policy coordination among the G-7 countries and within Europe since the breakdown of the Bretton Woods System. Using these building blocks, we investigate the correspondence between the models and experience and attempt to draw lessons for both the modelers and the practitioners. We find that the correspondence is close enough that the models help in analyzing several instances of actual policy coordination, but that the correspondence could be even closer. As for lessons for modelers, we suggest that they devote more attention to the analysis of information exchange, a key feature of practical policy coordination; to the coordination of different types of policies; to the ramifications of political divisions within countries; and to the implications of market irrationality and speculative bubbles. As for lessons for policy makers, we suggest that they give more consideration to the choice of their ultimate objectives, in particular to whether the current account should always be close to balance; to achieving better internal policies; and to the greater use of fiscal policy as a stabilization tool.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Ellen E. Meade, D. Nathan Sheets
  • Publication Date: 02-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: This paper looks at the monetary policy decisions of the U.S. Federal Reserve and asks whether those decisions have been influenced solely by national concerns, or whether regional factors have played a role. All of the Federal Reserve's policymakers have some regional identity, i.e., either their positions explicitly carry some regional affiliation or their region of origin is a factor that must be considered in the selection process. This research is relevant for the Fed, and it may also be relevant for Europe's fledgling central bank in Frankfurt. Critics have asserted that ECB policymakers have an incentive to base policy on national developments and respond to national political pressures. We find that Fed policymakers do take into account developments in regional unemployment when deciding monetary policy, and that these regional developments are more important for central bankers at the hub than in the spokes. These findings are robust to a variety of different specifications of the voting equation.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe