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  • Author: Dale W. Henderson, Jinill Kim
  • Publication Date: 02-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: We derive optimal monetary stabilization rules and compare them to simple rules under both full and partial information. The nominal interest rate is the instrument of monetary policy. Special attention is devoted to inflation targeting and nominal-income-growth targeting. We use an optimizing-agent model of a closed economy which features monopolistic competition in both product and labor markets. A stabilization problem exists because there are one-period nominal contracts, either for wages alone or for both wages and prices, and three shocks that are unknown when contracts are signed. In order to highlight basic theoretical results, we deliberately keep our model simple enough that we can obtain exact solutions. Optimal rules maximize the expected utility of the representative agent subject to the information set of the policymaker. A key result, possibly surprising at first, is that even with monopolistic competition, the optimal full information policy makes the economy mimic the hypothetical equilibrium with flexible prices and wages. We explain why strict versions of inflation targeting, nominal income growth targeting, and other such simple rules are suboptimal under both full and partial information and derive flexible versions that are optimal under certain partial information assumptions. Nominal income growth targeting dominates inflation targeting for plausible parameter values.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: David C. Smith, Steven Ongena, Dominik Egli
  • Publication Date: 02-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: We study the decision an entrepreneur faces in financing multiple projects and show that relationship financing will arise endogenously in an environment where strategic defaults are likely, even when firms have access to arm's-length financing. Relationship financing allows an entrepreneur to build a private reputation for repayment that reduces the cost of financing. However, in an environment where the risk of strategic default is low, the benefits from reputation building are outweighed by holdup rents extractable by the incumbent lender. Entrepreneurs then choose to finance projects from single or multiple arm's-length lenders.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: John H. Rogers, Jonathan H. Wright, Jon Faust
  • Publication Date: 08-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: We estimate a monetary policy reaction function for the Bundesbank and use it as a benchmark to assess the monetary policy of the ECB since the launch of the euro in January 1999. We find that euro interest rates are low relative to this benchmark. We consider several possible reasons for this, including the divergence between core and headline inflation, inflation having turned out to be higher than could have been foreseen by the ECB and the possibility that the ECB is focussing only on macroeconomic conditions in a subset of member countries. We argue that these potential explanations cannot account for the difference between recent interest rates and our estimated Bundesbank benchmark. Our results suggest that the reaction function of the ECB features a high weight on the output gap relative to the weight on inflation, compared to the Bundesbank.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Jane Ihrig, Joseph E. Gagon
  • Publication Date: 07-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: The pass-through of exchange rate changes into domestic inflation appears to have declined in many countries since the 1980s. We develop a theoretical model that attributes the change in the rate of pass-through to increased emphasis on inflation stabilization by many central banks. This hypothesis is tested on twenty industrial countries between 1971 and 2003. We find widespread evidence of a robust and statistically significant link between estimated rates of pass-through and inflation variability. We also find evidence that observed monetary policy behavior may be a factor in the declining rate of pass-through.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Chang-Jin Kim, Jeremy Piger, Richard Startz
  • Publication Date: 05-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: This paper investigates the relationship between permanent and transitory components of U.S. recessions in an empirical model allowing for business cycle asymmetry. Using a common stochastic trend representation for real GNP and consumption, we divide real GNP into permanent and transitory components, the dynamics of which are different in booms vs. recessions. We find evidence of substantial asymmetries in postwar recessions, and that both the permanent and transitory component have contributed to these recessions. We also allow for the timing of switches from boom to recession for the permanent component to be correlated with switches from boom to recession in the transitory component. The parameter estimates suggest a specific pattern of recessions: switches in the permanent component lead switches in the transitory component both when entering and leaving recessions.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Mexico
  • Author: Jane Haltmaier
  • Publication Date: 04-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: The paper uses capital and labor utilization rates to derive estimates of the Japanese output gap and potential output. Two techniques are used. The first uses the cyclical indicators to adjust potential output estimates derived from a Hodrick-Prescott filter over the most recent period when such estimates are generally considered to be unreliable. The second estimates equilibrium levels of the cyclical indicators and uses an Okun's Law-type relationship to derive output gaps and potential output. The second method is also applied to the components of potential output to derive a third estimate. These methods suggest that the current Japanese output gap is considerably larger than a simple Hodrick-Prescott filter would suggest.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan
  • Author: Francis E. Warnock
  • Publication Date: 04-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: The Tesar and Werner (1995) finding of very high turnover rates on foreign equity portfolios is based on an underestimation of cross-border equity positions. Foreign turnover rates calculated using information from comprehensive benchmark surveys on cross-border holdings are much lower than previously reported and comparable to domestic turnover rates. However, the basic intuition from the Tesar-Werner study, that transaction costs do not help explain the observed home bias, is confirmed using data on transaction costs in 41 markets.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Neil R. Ericsson, Esfandiar Maasoumi, Grayham E. Mizon
  • Publication Date: 03-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: This retrospective provides a biographical history of Denis Sargan's career and reviews his contributions to econometrics, emphasizing the breadth of his work in both theoretical and applied econometrics. We include a complete bibliography for Denis and a list of PhD theses that he supervised--students were a substantive facet of his professional life. Finally, two of Denis's previously unpublished manuscripts on model building now appear in print.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: John H. Rogers, Hayden P. Smith
  • Publication Date: 03-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: Using consumer price indexes from cities in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, we estimate the "border effect" on U.S.-Mexican relative prices and find that it is nearly an order of magnitude larger than for U.S.-Canadian prices. However, during a very stable sub-period in Mexico (May 1988 to November 1994), the "width" of the U.S.-Mexican border falls dramatically and becomes approximately equal to the U.S.-Canadian border. We then show that when consideration is limited to cities lying geographically very close to the U.S.-Mexican border--San Diego, Los Angeles, Houston, Dallas, Tijuana, Mexicali, Juarez, and Matamoros--the border width falls compared to that estimated with the full sample of U.S. and Mexican cities, but falls only very slightly. We also present evidence that the border effect in U.S.-Mexican prices is not primarily due to the border effect in U.S.-Mexican wages. Finally, using the prices of 276 highly dis-aggregated goods and services, we estimate the variability of relative prices of different items within Mexican cities. This measure of relative price variability declines during the stable peso sub-period, but by less than the decline in nominal and real (i.e., CPI-based) exchange rate variability. Our results are strong evidence of a "nominal border effect" in relative prices within NAFTA, but also indicate that real side influences are important.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Canada, North America, Mexico
  • Author: John H. Rogers
  • Publication Date: 03-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: If price levels are initially different across the euro area, convergence to a common level of prices would imply that inflation will be higher in countries where prices are initially low. Price level convergence thus provides a potential explanation for recent cross-country differences in European inflation, a worrisome development under the ECBs "one-size-fits-all" monetary policy. I present direct evidence on price level convergence in Europe, using a unique data set, and then investigate how much of the recent divergence of national inflation rates can be explained by price level convergence. I show that between 1990 and 1999 prices did become less dispersed in the euro area. Convergence is especially evident for traded goods, and more in the first half of the 1990s than the second half. By some measures, traded goods price dispersion across the euro area is now close to that across U.S. cities. Despite an on-going process of convergence, deviations from the law of one price are large. Finally, I find a statistically-significant and robust negative relationship between the 1999 price level and 2000 inflation rate in Europe, and that the contribution of price level convergence to explaining inflation differentials is often quite important economically. Still, factors other than price convergence explain most of the cross-country inflation differences.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe