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  • Author: Alan Sutherland
  • Publication Date: 12-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: The welfare gains from international coordination of monetary policy are analysed in a two-country model with sticky prices. The gains from coordination are compared under two alternative structures for financial markets: financial autarky and risk sharing. The welfare gains from coordination are found to be largest when there is risk sharing and the elasticity of substitution between home and foreign goods is greater than unity. When there is no risk sharing the gains to coordination are almost zero. It is also shown that the welfare gain from risk sharing can be negative when monetary policy is uncoordinated.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Welfare, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Simon Gilchrist, Jean-Olivier Hairault, Hubert Kempf
  • Publication Date: 12-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: In this paper, we consider the effect of a monetary union in a model with a significant role for financial market imperfections. We do so by introducing a financial accelerator into a stochastic general equilibrium macro model of a two country economy. We show that financial market imperfections introduce important cross-country transmission mechanisms to asymmetric shocks to supply and demand. Within this framework, we study the likely costs and benefits of monetary union. We also consider the effects of cross-country heterogeneity in financial markets. Both the presence of financial frictions and the use of a single currency have significant impacts on the international propagation of exogenous shocks. The introduction of asymmetries in the financial contract widens the difference in cyclical behavior of national economies in a monetary union, but financial integration compensates the loss of policy instruments.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • 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: Jaime Marquez
  • Publication Date: 11-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: The most widely accepted explanation for the inverse association between private investments and current accounts [Glick and Rogoff, 1995] rests on data for manufactures through 1990. Is this consensus robust to revisions to the national accounts and the expansion of information technologies since 1990? To address this question I replicate their results and I find that post 1990 developments eliminate the support for such a conclusion. I also implement alternative formulations and find, again, a lack of empirical support for their findings. Thus I examine the role of measurement errors and focus on the treatment of the manufacturing sector as representative of the whole economy and the exclusion of the contribution of capital when measuring productivity. Correcting these two measurement errors restores to Glick and Rogoff's conclusion its original strength.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States
  • 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: John H. Rogers, Jonathan H. Wright, Jon Faust, Eric Swanson
  • Publication Date: 10-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: This paper proposes a new approach to identifying the effects of monetary policy shocks in an international vector autoregression. Using high-frequency data on the prices of Fed Funds futures contracts, we measure the impact of the surprise component of the FOMC-day Federal Reserve policy decision on financial variables, such as the exchange rate and the foreign interest rate. We show how this information can be used to achieve identification without having to make the usual strong assumption of a recursive ordering.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Carlos Ó. Arteta
  • Publication Date: 09-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: The dollarization of bank deposits and credit is widespread in developing countries, resulting in varying degrees of currency mismatches in domestic financial intermediation, which in turn might accentuate bank balance sheet fragility. It is widely argued that flexible exchange rate regimes encourage banks to match dollar-denominated liabilities with a corresponding amount of dollar-denominated assets, ameliorating currency mismatches. Does the behavior of dollar deposits and credit in financially dollarized economies support that presumption? A new database on deposit and credit dollarization in developing and transition countries is assembled and used to address this question. Empirical results suggest that, if anything, floating regimes seem to exacerbate, rather than ameliorate, currency mismatches in domestic financial intermediation, as those regimes seem to encourage deposit dollarization more strongly than they encourage matching via credit dollarization.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Steven B. Kamin, Shaghil Ahmed, Christopher J. Gust, Jonathan Huntley
  • Publication Date: 09-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: According to conventional models, flexible exchange rates play an equilibrating role in open economies, depreciating in response to adverse shocks, boosting net exports, and stimulating aggregate demand. However, critics argue that, at least in developing countries, devaluations are more contractionary and more inflationary than conventional theories would predict. Yet, it is not clear whether devaluations per se have led to adverse outcomes, or rather the disruptive abandonments of pegged exchange-rate regimes associated with devaluations. To explore this hypothesis, we estimate VAR models to compare the responses to devaluation of developing economies and two types of industrial economies: those that have consistently floated, and those that have sustained fixed exchange-rate regimes as well. We find that both of these types of industrial economies exhibit conventional (i.e., expansionary) responses to devaluation shocks, compared with the contractionary responses exhibited by developing countries. This finding suggests that exchange rate movements may be more destabilizing in developing countries than in industrial countries, regardless of exchange rate regime.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance
  • Author: Steven B. Kamin
  • Publication Date: 09-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: Considerable attention has been paid to the possibility that large-scale IMF-led financing packages may have distorted incentives in international financial markets, leading private investors to provide more credit to emerging market countries, and at lower interest rates, than might otherwise have been the case. Yet, prior attempts to identify such distortions have yielded mixed evidence, at best. This paper makes three contributions to our ability to assess the empirical importance of moral hazard in international financial markets. First, it is argued that because large international "bailouts" did not commence until the 1995 Mexican crisis, financial indicators prior to that time could not have reflected a significant degree of this type of moral hazard. Therefore, one test for the existence of moral hazard is that the access of emerging markets to international credit is significantly easier than it was prior to 1995. Second, the paper argues that because private investors expect large-scale IMF-led packages to be extended primarily to economically or geo-politically important countries, moral hazard, if it exists, should lead these countries to have easier terms of access to credit than smaller, non-systemically important countries. Finally, in addition to looking at bond spreads, the focus of earlier empirical analyses of moral hazard, the paper also examines trends in capital flows to gauge the access of emerging market countries to external finance. Looking at the evidence in light of these considerations, the paper concludes that there is little support for the view that moral hazard is significantly distorting international capital markets at the present time.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance
  • Author: Mario Marazzi
  • Publication Date: 09-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: One of the most widely accepted principles of economics is the existence of gains from trade for every nation under certain conditions including perfect competition. In the last twenty years, trade economists have revolutionized the field by firmly establishing the possibility of modeling imperfectly competitive international markets. Despite this development, most still agree there are good reasons to believe that gains from trade are still present. However, we show that in the absence of international redistributions the presence of a positive profit sector in a general equilibrium model can lead to a situation in which some nations may lose from the reduction of international trade barriers.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance
  • Author: Luca Guerrieri
  • Publication Date: 08-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: One of the criticisms routinely advanced against models of the business cycle with staggered contracts is their inability to generate inflation persistence. This paper finds that staggered contracts µa la Taylor are, in fact, capable of reproducing the inflation persistence implied by U.S. data. Following Fuhrer and Moore, I capture the moments that the contract specification needs to replicate by using the correlograms from a small vector autoregression (VAR) that includes inflation among the endogenous variables. A simple structural model substitutes the inflation equation from the VAR with the contract specification. I estimate the contract parameters in the structural model by maximum likelihood. The correlogram for the endogenous variables from the estimated structural model, including that for inflation, are very close to the correlograms from the VAR (and are contained within their 90% confidence intervals). By the same metric, where Taylor contracts do not fare well is in reproducing the cross-correlations between inflation and output.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Joseph W. Gruber
  • Publication Date: 08-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: Empirical work regarding Intertemporal Current Account (ICA) models has centered around two distinct testing methodologies, present value tests and a productivity shock approach as formulated by Glick and Rogoff (1995). In previous work, Gruber (2001), I have tested and ICA model that allows for habits in aggregate consumption via the present value method. This paper applies the alternative Glick and Rogoff style approach to testing the model. The benefits of doing such are an ability to separate country-specific from worldwide output changes, a distinction of considerable importance, as well as to impose restrictions on the relationship between investment and output, neither of which are possible in the present value framework. The results of the test are supportive of the existence of habits and coincide with the results of Gruber (2001). The degree of habit persistence implied by the model is estimated for the G-7 countries. The paper also proposes habit formation as a possible solution to an empirical puzzle identified in the original Glick and Rogoff paper.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Jonathan H. Wright
  • Publication Date: 07-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: This paper proposes a new test of the null hypothesis that a generalized method of moments model is identified. The test can detect local or global underidentification, and underidentification in some or all directions. The idea of the test is to compare the volume of two confidence sets -- one that is robust to lack of identification and one that is not. Under the null hypothesis the relative volume of these two sets is Op(1), but under the alternative, the robust confidence set has high probability of being unbounded.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Trevor A. Reeve
  • Publication Date: 07-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: What determines industrial structure? Do sector-specific characteristics such as unionization, regulation, and trade policy dominate production patterns? One is inclined to believe so based on countless industry-level studies and the many political battles that are continually fought over trade and industrial policy. In contrast, standard neoclassical trade theory suggests that industrial structure is primarily driven by relative factor supplies. This paper demonstrates that aggregate factor endowments explain much of the structure of production—independent of industry idiosyncrasies—and quantifies the extent to which shifts in industrial structure in a cross section of countries are driven by the broad forces of factor accumulation. This result has important implications for policy. In particular, investment in physical capital and education may have as great an impact on the pattern of production as sector-specific trade and industrial policies. Thus, general equilibrium effects should not be ignored in efforts either to understand industrial structure or to form policies that attempt to alter it. These conclusions are reached through an empirical application of the factor proportions model of production.
  • Topic: Economics, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Beth Anne Wilson, Shaghil Ahmed, Andrew Levin
  • Publication Date: 07-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: The volatility of U.S. real GDP growth since 1984 has been markedly lower than that over the previous quarter-century. In this paper, we utilize frequency-domain and VAR methods to distinguish among several competing explanations for this phenomenon: improvements in monetary policy, better business practices, and a fortuitous reduction in exogenous disturbances. We find that reduced innovation variances account for much of the decline in aggregate output volatility. Our results support the “good-luck” hypothesis as the leading explanation for the decline in aggregate output volatility, although “good-practices” and “good-policy” are also contributing factors. Applying the same methods to consumer price inflation, we find that the post-1984 decline in inflation volatility can be attributed largely to improvements in monetary policy.
  • Topic: Economics, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Christopher J. Erceg, Andrew T. Levin
  • Publication Date: 07-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: The durable goods sector is much more interest sensitive than the non-durables sector, and these sectoral differences have important implications for monetary policy. In this paper, we perform VAR analysis of quarterly US data and find that a monetary policy innovation has a peak impact on durable expenditures that is roughly five times as large as its impact on non-durable expenditures. We then proceed to formulate and calibrate a two-sector dynamic general equilibrium model that roughly matches the impluse response functions of the data. While the social welfare function involves sector-specific output gaps and inflation rates, we find that performance of the optimal policy rule can be closely approximated by a very simple rule that targets a weighted average of aggregate wage and price inflation rates. In contrast, some commonly-prescribed policy rules (such as strict price inflation targeting and Taylor's rule) perform very poorly in terms of social welfare.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Welfare, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Philippe Bacchetta, Eric van Wincoop
  • Publication Date: 07-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: Nominal rigidities due to menu costs have become a standard element in closed economy macroeconomic modeling. The "New Open Economy Macroeconomics" literature has investigated the implications of nominal rigidities in an open economy context and found that the currency in which prices are set has significant macroeconomic and policy implications. In this paper we solve for the optimal invoicing choice by integrating this microeconomic decision at the firm level into a general equilibrium open economy model. Strategic interactions between firms play a critical role in the analysis. We find that the less competition firms face in foreign markets, as reflected in market share and product differentiation, the more likely they will price in their own currency. We also show that when a set of countries forms a monetary union, the new currency is likely to be used more extensively in trade than the sum of the currencies it replaces.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Margarida Duarte, Alexandar L. Wolman
  • Publication Date: 07-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: We develop a general equilibrium model of a two-region currency union. There are two types of goods: non-trade goods, and traded goods for which markets are segmented. Monetary policy is set by a central monetary authority and is non-neutral due to nominal price rigidities. Fiscal policy is determined at the regional level by each region's government. We find that productivity shocks alone generate significant variation in inflation across the two countries. Government spending shocks, in contrast, do not account for a significant portion of inflation variation. Varying relative country size, we find that smaller countries experience higher variability of their inflation differential in response to shocks to productivity growth. Moreover, we show that regional governments can suppress incipient inflation differentials associated with shocks to productivity growth by letting the income tax rate respond negatively to inflation differentials.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Gunter Coenen, Volker Wieland
  • Publication Date: 07-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: In this paper we estimate a small macroeconometric model of the United States, the euro area and Japan with rational expectations and nominal rigidities due to staggered contracts. Comparing three popular contracting specifications we find that euro area and Japanese inflation dynamics are best explained by Taylor-style contracts, while Buiter-Jewitt/Fuhrer- Moore contracts perform somewhat better in fitting U.S. inflation dynamics. We are unable to fit Calvo-style contracts to inflation dynamics in any of the three economies without allowing either for ad-hoc persistence in unobservables or a significant backward-looking element. The completed model matches inflation and output dynamics in the United States, the euro area and Japan quite well. We then use it to evaluate the role of the exchange rate for monetary policy. Preliminary results, which are similar across the three economies, indicate little gain from a direct policy response to the exchange rate.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, Israel
  • Author: Giancarlo Corsetti, Luca Dedola
  • Publication Date: 07-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: This paper builds a baseline two-country model of real and monetary transmission under optimal international price discrimination. Distributing traded goods to consumers requires nontradables; because of distributive trade, the price elasticity of export demand depends on the exchange rate. Profit-maximizing monopolistic firms drive a wedge between wholesale and retail prices across countries. This entails possibly large deviations from the law of one price and incomplete pass-through on import prices. Yet, consistent with expenditure-switching effects, a nominal depreciation generally worsens the terms of trade. Moreover, the exchange rate and the terms of trade can be more volatile than fundamentals. For plausible ranges of the distribution margin, there can be multiple steady states, whereas large differences in nominal and real exchange rates across equilibria translate into small differences in consumption, employment and the price level. Finally, we show that with competitive goods markets international policy cooperation is redundant even under financial autarky.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Brett Berger
  • Publication Date: 06-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: This paper describes the numerical optimization methods used in Berger (2001) to find the complete time paths of key economic variables in neoclassical vintage capital models. An interior and a non-interior point method are discussed. Both of the methods are part of the general class of “path-following” algorithms. These algorithms can be efficiently applied to convex programming problems; and due to the standard shape of production and utility functions, many economic problems can be written as convex programming problems. Vintage capital models add scale and complexity to standard growth models because one must now handle the dynamics of multiple capital stocks. This increase in complexity will often prevent the discovery (or existence) of closed form solutions, making numerical solutions of the type found in Berger (2001) necessary.
  • Topic: Economics, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Jane Haltmaier, Alan J. Ahearne, Joseph Gagnon, Steve Kamin
  • Publication Date: 06-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: This paper examines Japan's experience in the first half of the 1990s to shed some light on several issues that arise as inflation declines toward zero. Is it possible to recognize when an economy is moving into a phase of sustained deflation? How quickly should monetary policy respond to sharp declines in inflation? Are there factors that inhibit the monetary transmission mechanism as interest rates approach zero? What is the role for fiscal policy in warding off a deflationary episode? We conclude that Japan's sustained deflationary slump was very much unanticipated by Japanese policymakers and observers alike, and that this was a key factor in the authorities' failure to provide sufficient stimulus to maintain growth and positive inflation. Once inflation turned negative and short-term interest rates approached the zero-lower-bound, it became much more difficult for monetary policy to reactivate the economy. We found little compelling evidence that in the lead up to deflation in the first half of the 1990s, the ability of either monetary or fiscal policy to help support the economy fell off significantly. Based on all these considerations, we draw the general lesson from Japan's experience that when inflation and interest rates have fallen close to zero, and the risk of deflation is high, stimulus–both monetary and fiscal–should go beyond the levels conventionally implied by baseline forecasts of future inflation and economic activity.
  • Topic: Economics, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Israel
  • Author: Christopher Gust, Jaime Marquez
  • Publication Date: 05-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: While information technologies (IT) are credited with the recent acceleration in productivity in the United States, many other industrial countries have not experienced a pickup in productivity growth. To explain this productivity divergence, we use panel data from 1992 to 1999 for 13 industrial countries and find that this divergence is driven in part by differences in both the production and adoption of information technologies. Based on this finding, we proceed to investigate what factors might play a role in explaining differences in IT adoption. Our results support the view that burdensome regulatory environments and in particular regulations affecting labor market practices have impeded the adoption of information technologies and slowed productivity growth in a number of industrial countries. We then develop a theoretical model with vintage capital and labor to evaluate the effect of more stringent labor market regulations on a firm's decision to adopt new technologies. We establish conditions under which a tax on firing workers delays the adoption of IT technology. These conditions occur when technological change is skill-biased and a firm must upgrade the quality of its workforce through labor turnover. The resulting delay in adopting IT technology then has negative implications for economy-wide productivity and is largely consistent with our empirical results.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Mark Carey
  • Publication Date: 05-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: Resampling implementation of a stress-scenario approach to estimating portfolio default loss distributions is proposed as the basis for estimates of the appropriate absolute level of economic capital allocations for portfolio credit risk. Estimates are presented for stress scenarios of varying severity. Implications of use of different analysis time horizons are analyzed. Results for a numeraire portfolio are quite sensitive to such variations. Although the analysis is framed in terms of recent proposals to revise regulatory capital requirements for banks, the arguments and results are also relevant for bankers making capital structure decisions.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: David C. Smith, Allen N. Berger, Qinglei Dai, Steven Ongena
  • Publication Date: 05-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: We model two dimensions of bank globalization – bank nationality (a bank from the firm's host nation, its home nation, or a third nation) and bank reach (a global, regional, or local bank) using a two-stage nested multinomial logit model. Our data set includes over 2,000 foreign affiliates of multinational corporations operating in 20 European nations. We find that these firms frequently use host nation banks for cash management services, and that bank reach may be strongly influenced by this choice of bank nationality. Our results suggest limits to the degree of future bank globalization.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • 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: Francis E. Warnock, Chad Cleaver
  • Publication Date: 04-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: We examine an assumption common in empirical work on bilateral portfolio capital flows that the countries the flows are attributed to are also the countries of the security's issuer, seller, or ultimate buyer. We do this by estimating U.S. investors' holdings of debt and equities in over 40 countries and, for the same countries, foreign investors' holdings of U.S. debt and equities. A comparison of our estimates with data from benchmark surveys provides insight into U.S. data on international debt and equity transactions. We find that, contrary to the common assumption, the data do not track the location of U.S. investment or the location of investors in U.S. assets very well. Because the U.S. portfolio flow data collection system was designed to measure cross-border transactions with foreign counterparties who are often intermediaries, the majority of the flows are attributed to financial centers. By aggregating our country-level estimates, we find that U.S. data accurately portray net inflows into U.S. equities and net outflows into foreign bonds. However, the data substantially overcount net inflows into U.S. bonds and may undercount net outflows into foreign equities. We conclude with a discussion of the implications of our findings for research on capital flows.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • 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
  • Author: Jonathan H. Wright, Jon Faust, Eric Swanson
  • Publication Date: 02-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: Using the prices of federal funds futures contracts, we measure the impact of the surprise component of Federal Reserve policy decisions on the expected future trajectory of interest rates. We show how this information can be used to identify the effects of a monetary policy shock in a standard monetary policy VAR. This constitutes an alternative approach to identification that is quite different, and, we would argue, more plausible, than the conventional short-run restrictions. We find that the usual recursive identification of the model is rejected, but we nevertheless agree with the literature's conclusion that only a small fraction of the variance of output can be attributed to monetary policy shocks.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • 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
  • Author: Neil R. Ericsson
  • Publication Date: 02-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: This paper provides an introduction to forecast uncertainty in empirical economic modeling. Forecast uncertainty is defined, various measures of forecast uncertainty are examined, and some sources and consequences of forecast uncertainty are analyzed. Empirical illustrations with the U.S. trade balance, U.K. inflation and real national income, and the U.S./U.K. exchange rate help clarify the issues involved.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom
  • Author: Jinill Kim, Andrew Levin, Sunghyun Henry Kim
  • Publication Date: 02-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: In this paper, we investigate the welfare implications of alternative financial market structures in a two-country endowment economy model. In particular, we obtain an analytic expression for the expected lifetime utility of the representative household when sovereign bonds are the only internationally traded asset, and we compare this welfare level with that obtained under complete asset markets. The welfare cost of incomplete markets is negligible if agents are very patient and shocks are not very persistent, but this cost is dramatically larger if agents are relatively impatient and shocks are highly persistent. For realistic cases in which agents are very patient and shocks are highly persistent (that is, the discount factor and the first-order autocorrelation are both near unity), the welfare cost of incomplete markets is highly sensitive to the specific values of these parameters. Finally, using a non-linear solution algorithm, we confirm that a two-country production economy with endogenous labor supply has qualitatively similar welfare properties.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Welfare, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Publication Date: 05-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: In a recent conference, trade experts identified three primary reasons the World Trade Organization (WTO) failed to launch a new trade Round at its December 1999 Ministerial. First, leading members were unable to resolve differences on critical issues prior to the gathering. In addition, many developing countries and nongovernmental organizations were more assertive than they had been at previous conferences. Finally, in recent years, the WTO has expanded the range of issues it addresses, which has made efforts to reach a consensus on any point more difficult. According to the speakers, as a result of the acrimonious Ministerial, the WTO has suffered a substantial loss of credibility, which will impair efforts to launch a new Round in the near term. There is no immediate alternative to strong US leadership, and WTO negotiations will be more complicated because developing countries and nongovernmental organizations will be more inclined to resist trade liberalization efforts that they believe do not advance their interests. Experts at the conference offered a variety of assessments regarding the course the WTO might choose to follow this year. The majority argued that if the trade body is seeking to rebuild confidence, it could continue with scheduled meetings on agriculture and services and use the time to rebuild confidence. A minority, however, held that the forum is too fractured to make progress, thus talks would only undermine the already declining prestige of the trade body. The experts identified several long-run challenges that the WTO will probably need to address to be an effective decisionmaking institution, including: Bridging the developed-developing country gap Costa Rica, Mexico, and South Africa generally support trade liberalization and have credibility among developed and developing states; thus they are in a position to meld the interests of the two sides. Enacting institutional reforms The organization's expansive agenda and large membership require that it adopt policies that facilitate decisionmaking, especially before new members such as China and Russia join. The trade body may try to increase transparency to promote greater trust in its procedures. Also, to avoid protracted and bitter selections such as the forum suffered last year, the WTO could review its procedures for electing a new director general. Managing the backlash against globalization Supporters of freer trade could launch a massive educational program to highlight the gains for all countries from expanded trade and to counter the dire assertions made by nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Russia, China
  • Author: Ann L. Owen, Murat F. Iyigun
  • Publication Date: 05-1996
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: We show how the ability o accumulate human capital through formal education and through a learning-by-doing process that occurs on the job affects the dynamic behavior of the human capital stock under a liquidity constrained and a non-constrained case. When there are alternatives to formal schooling in the accumulation of human capital, investing resources in increasing school enrollment rates in low-income countries may not be the most efficient means of increasing the human capital stock. In addition, removal of the liquidity constraints may not be sufficient to escape a development trap.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Education, International Trade and Finance
  • Author: Neil R. Ericsson, Kari H. Eika, Ragnar Nymoen
  • Publication Date: 10-1996
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: Some recent studies have suggested constructing a Monetary Conditions Index (or MCI) to serve as an indicator of monetary policy stance. The central banks of Canada, Sweden, and Norway all construct an MCI and (to varying degrees) use it in conducting monetary policy. Empirically, an MCI is calculated as the weighted sum of changes in a short-term interest rate and the exchange rate relative to values in a baseline year. The weights aim to reflect these variables' effects on longer-term focuses of policy — economic activity and inflation. This paper derives analytical and empirical properties of MCIs in an attempt to ascertain their usefulness in monetary policy.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe, North America
  • Author: Chan Huh
  • Publication Date: 01-1996
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: This paper examines the dynamic relationship between changes in the finds rate and nonborrowed reserves within a reduced form framework that allows the relationship to have WO distinct patterns over time. A regime switching model a la Hamilton (1989) is estimated. On average, CPI inflation has been significantly higher in the regime and volatile changes in funds rate. Innovations in money growth are characterized by large associated with a strong anticipated inflation effect in this high inflation regime, and a moderate liquidity effect in the low inflation regime. Furthermore, an identical money innovation generates a much bigger increase in the interest rate during a transition period from the low to high inflation regime than during a steady high inflation period. This accords well with economic intuition since the transition period is when the anticipated inflation effect initially gets incorporated into the interest rate. The converse also holds. That is, the liquidity effect becomes stronger when the economy leaves a high inflation regime period and enters a low inflation regime period.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Author: Neil R. Ericsson, Sunil Sharma
  • Publication Date: 07-1996
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: This paper develops a constant, data-coherent, error correction model for broad money demand (M3) in Greece. This model contributes to a better understanding of the effects of monetary policy in Greece, and of the portfolio consequences of financial innovation in general. The broad monetary aggregate M3 was targeted until recently, and current monetary policy still uses such aggregates as guidelines, yet analysis of this aggregate has been dormant for over a decade.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe