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  • Author: Steven B. Kamin
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: This paper reviews the available evidence and previous research on potential effects of financial globalization, that is, the international integration of financial markets. In particular, we address the questions: Has financial globalization materially increased the influence of external developments on domestic monetary conditions? And, has it reduced the influence of central banks over financial and economic conditions in their own country? We find that central banks with floating currencies retain the ability to independently determine short-term interest rates and thus influence broader financial conditions and macroeconomic performance in their economies. However, domestic financial conditions appear to have become more vulnerable to a wide range of external shocks, complicating the task of making appropriate monetary policy decisions. Moreover, the financial crisis has highlighted the importance of cross-border channels for the transmission of liquidity and credit shocks. With financial transactions increasingly being undertaken in vehicle currencies such as dollars and euros, the liquidity provision and the lender-of-last resort functions of many central banks are being challenged. Accordingly, international arrangements for liquidity provision may become increasingly important in the future.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, International Cooperation, Monetary Policy, Interest Rates
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Jian Wang, Jason J. Wu
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: This paper attacks the Meese-Rogoff (exchange rate disconnect) puzzle from a different perspective: out-of-sample interval forecasting. Most studies in the literature focus on point forecasts. In this paper, we apply Robust Semi-parametric (RS) interval forecasting to a group of Taylor rule models. Forecast intervals for twelve OECD exchange rates are generated and modified tests of Giacomini and White (2006) are conducted to compare the performance of Taylor rule models and the random walk. Our contribution is twofold. First, we find that in general, Taylor rule models generate tighter forecast intervals than the random walk, given that their intervals cover out-of-sample exchange rate realizations equally well. This result is more pronounced at longer horizons. Our results suggest a connection between exchange rates and economic fundamentals: economic variables contain information useful in forecasting the distributions of exchange rates. The benchmark Taylor rule model is also found to perform better than the monetary and PPP models. Second, the inference framework proposed in this paper for forecast-interval evaluation can be applied in a broader context, such as inflation forecasting, not just to the models and interval forecasting methods used in this paper.
  • Topic: Economics, Exchange Rate Policy, Models
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Joseph Gagnon
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: Sharp exchange rate depreciations, or currency crashes, are associated with poor economic outcomes in industrial countries only when they are caused by inflationary macroeconomic policies. Moreover, the poor outcomes are attributable to inflationary policies in general and not the currency crashes in particular. On the other hand, crashes caused by rising unemployment or external deficits have always had good economic consequences with stable or falling inflation rates.
  • Topic: Economics, Exchange Rate Policy, Inflation, Currency
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: David Berger, Jon Faust, John H. Rogers, Kai Steverson
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: We analyze retail prices and at-the-dock (import) prices of speciÖc items in the Bureau of Labor Statisticsí(BLS) CPI and IPP databases, using both databases simultaneously to identify items that are identical in description at the dock and when sold at retail. This identiÖcation allows us to measure the distribution wedge associated with bringing traded goods from the point of entry into the United States to their retail outlet. We Önd that overall U.S. distribution wedges are 50-70%, around 10 to 20 percentage points higher than that reported in the literature. We discuss the implications of this for measuring the size of the "pure" tradeables sector, exchange rate pass-through, and real exchange rate determination. We Önd that distribution wedges are very stable over time but there is considerable variation across items. There is some variation across the country of origin for the imported item, for our major trading partners, but not as much as the cross-item variation. We also investigate the determinants of distribution wedges, Önding that wedges do not vary systematically with exchange rates, but are related to other features of the micro data.
  • Topic: Economics, Exchange Rate Policy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Brahima Coulibaly, Trevon Logan
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: During Apartheid, there was little need for redistributional policies or to borrow for public works since the vast majority of the population was underserved. With the arrival of a representative democracy in 1994, however, South Africa faced a unique problem-- providing new and improved public services for the majority of its citizens while at the same time ensuring that filling this void would not undermine macroeconomic stability. Over the past fifteen years, policy makers have achieved macrostability, but progress on social needs has been below expectations and South Africa continues to lag behind its peers. This paper reviews the progress made so far and examines the challenges ahead for the upcoming administration. Our analysis suggest an increase in skill formation as a possible solution to the policy dilemma of fullfilling the outsized social demands while maintaining macrostability.
  • Topic: Apartheid, Economics, Political stability, Welfare
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Africa, Southern Africa
  • Author: Shaghil Ahmed
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: This paper builds a model of two types of Chinese exports, those processed and assembled laregely from imported inputs ("processed" exports) and "non- processed" exports. Based on this model, the sensitivity of Chinese exports to exchange rate changes is empirically examined. Unlike previous work, the estimation period includes the net real appreciation of the renminbi that has occurredoverthepastthreeyears. Theresultsshowthatgreaterexchangerate appreciation dampens export growth, both for non-processed and processed ex- ports, with the estimated cumulative price elasticity being substantially greater thanunity. WhenthesourceoftheincreaseintheChineserealexchangerateis appreciations against the currencies of other emerging Asian trading partners, the e§ect on processing exports is positive but insignÖcant, while the e§ect on non-processing exports is signiÖcantly negative. By contrast, when the source of the increase in the Chinese real exchange rate is appreciation against Chinaís advanced-economy trading partners, the e§ects on both types of exports are negative. These results are consistent with the predictions of the theoretical model. Counterfactualsimulationsbasedontheestimatedmodelstronglysug- gest that if the trade-weighted real renminbi had appreciated at an annual rate of 10 percent per quarter since mid-2005, Chinese real exports would have been roughly 30 percent lower today. Thus greater exchange rate áexibility could contribute to lowering Chinaís huge trade surplus through restraining growth of exports.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Exchange Rate Policy, Exports
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Emine Boz, Ceyhun Bora Durdu, Nan Li
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: This paper shows that labor markets of emerging economies are characterized by large fluctuations in wages while employment fluctuations are subdued. We find that a real business cycle model of a small open economy that embeds a Mortensen-Pissarides type of search-matching frictions can account for these aforementioned regularities. Moreover, the joint interaction of countercyclical interest rates and search-matching frictions can go a long way in accounting for higher consumption variability relative to output and countercyclical current account observed in emerging markets. Extending this baseline model to incorporate procyclical variations in the technical efficiency at which matches are generated, the model can match the unemployment variability observed in the data.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Davide Debortoli, Ricardo Nunes
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: We analyze how public debt evolves when successive policymakers have different policy goals and cannot make credible commitments about their future policies. We consider several cases to be able to disentangle and quantify the respective effects of imperfect commitment and political disagreement. Absent political turnover, imperfect commitment drives the long-run level of debt to zero. With political disagreement, debt is a sizeable fraction of GDP and increasing in the degree of polarization among parties, no matter the degree of commitment. The frequency of political turnover does not produce quantitatively relevant effects. These results are consistent with much of the existing empirical evidence. Finally, we find that in the presence of political disagreement the welfare gains of building commitment are lower.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: David M. Arseneau, Sanjay K. Chugh
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: A growing body of evidence suggests that ongoing relationships between consumers and firms may be important for understanding price dynamics. We investigate whether the existence of such customer relationships has important consequences for the conduct of both long-run and short-run policy. Our central result is that when consumers and firms are engaged in long-term relationships, the optimal rate of price inflation volatility is very low even though all prices are completely flexible. This finding is in contrast to those obtained in first-generation Ramsey models of optimal fiscal and monetary policy, which are based on Walrasian markets. Echoing the basic intuition of models based on sticky prices, unanticipated inflation in our environment causes a type of relative price distortion across markets. Such distortions stem from fundamental trading frictions that give rise to long-lived customer relationships and makes pursuing inflation stability optimal.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Houtan Bastani, Luca Guerrieri
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: A key application of automatic differentiation (AD) is to facilitate numerical optimization problems. Such problems are at the core of many estimation techniques, including maximum likelihood. As one of the first applications of AD in the field of economics, we used Tapenade to construct derivatives for the likelihood function of any linear or linearized general equilibrium model solved under the assumption of rational expectations. We view our main contribution as providing an important check on finite-difference (FD) numerical derivatives. We also construct Monte Carlo experiments to compare maximum-likelihood estimates obtained with and without the aid of automatic derivatives. We find that the convergence rate of our optimization algorithm can increase substantially when we use AD derivatives.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Stephanie E. Curcuru, Tomas Dvorak, Francis E. Warnock
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: Were the U.S. to persistently earn substantially more on its foreign investments ("U.S. claims") than foreigners earn on their U.S. investments ("U.S. liabilities"), the likelihood that the current environment of sizeable global imbalances will evolve in a benign manner increases. However, using a monthly dataset on the foreign equity and bond portfolios of U.S. investors and the U.S. equity and bond portfolios of foreign investors, we find that the returns differential for portfolio securities is near zero, far smaller than previously reported. Examining all U.S. claims and liabilities (portfolio securities as well as direct investment and banking), we find that previous estimates of large differentials are biased upward. The bias owes to computing implied returns from an internally inconsistent dataset of revised data; original data produce a much smaller differential. We also attempt to reconcile our finding of a near zero returns differential with observed patterns of cumulated current account deficits, the net international investment position, and the net income balance. Overall, we find no evidence that the U.S. can count on earning substantially more on its claims than it pays on its liabilities.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Ricardo Correa
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: This paper uses a unique database that includes deal and bank balance sheet information for 220 cross-border acquisitions between 1994 and 2003 to analyze the characteristics and performance effects of international takeovers on target banks. A discrete choice estimation shows that banks are more likely to get acquired in a cross-border deal if they are large, bad performers, in a small country, and when the banking sector is concentrated. Post-acquisition performance for target banks does not improve in the first two years relative to domestically-owned financial institutions. This result is explained by a decrease in the banks' net interest margin in developed countries and an increase in overhead costs in emerging economies.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Author: Joseph W. Gruber, Steven B. Kamin
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: This paper addresses the popular view that differences in financial development explain the pattern of global current account imbalances. One strain of thinking explains the net flow of capital from developing to industrial economies on the basis of the industrial economies' more advanced financial systems and correspondingly more attractive assets. A related view addresses why the United States has attracted the lion's share of capital flows from developing to industrial economies; it stresses the exceptional depth, breadth, and safety of U.S. financial markets.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Enrique G. Mandoza, Vivian Z. Yue
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: Models of business cycles in emerging economies explain the negative correlation between country spreads and output by modeling default risk as an exogenous interest rate on working capital. Models of strategic default explain the cyclical properties of sovereign spreads by assuming an exogenous output cost of default with special features, and they underestimate debt-output ratios by a wide margin. This paper proposes a solution to this default risk-business cycle disconnect based on a model of sovereign default with endogenous output dynamics. The model replicates observed V-shaped output dynamics around default episodes, countercyclical sovereign spreads, and high debt ratios, and it also matches the variability of consumption and the countercyclical fluctuations of net exports. Three features of the model are key for these results: (1) working capital loans pay for imported inputs; (2) imported inputs support more efficient factor allocations than when these inputs are produced internally; and (3) default on the foreign obligations of firms and the government occurs simultaneously.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Author: Ricardo Correa
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: This paper uses data on publicly-traded firms in the U.S. to analyze the effect of interstate bank integration on the financial constraints borrowers face. A firm-level investment equation is estimated in order to test if bank integration reduces the sensitivity of capital expenditures to the level of internal funds. The staggered deregulation of cross-state bank acquisitions that took place in the U.S. between 1978 and 1994 helps estimate the model. Integration decreases financing constraints for bank-dependent firms. The change in firms' access to external finance is explained by an increase in the share of locally headquartered geographically diversified banks.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Jane Haltmaier
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: Predicting cycles in economic activity is one of the more challenging but important aspects of economic forecasting. This paper reports the results from estimation of binary probit models that predict the probability of an economy being in a recession using a variety of financial and real activity indicators. The models are estimated for eight countries, both individually and using a panel regression. Although the success of the models varies, they are all able to identify a significant number of recessionary periods correctly.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets
  • Author: Emine Boz, Christian Daude, Ceyhun Bora Durdu
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: The data reveal that emerging markets do not differ from developed countries with regards to the variance of permanent TFP shocks relative to transitory. They do differ, however, in the degree of uncertainty agents face when formulating expectations. Based on these observations, we build an equilibrium business cycle model in which the agents cannot perfectly distinguish between the permanent and transitory components of TFP shocks. When formulating expectations, they assign some probability to TFP shocks being permanent even when they are purely transitory. This is sufficient for the model to produce "permanent-like" effects in response to transitory shocks. The imperfect information model calibrated to Mexico predicts a higher variability of consumption relative to output and a strongly negative correlation between the trade balance and output, without the predominance of trend shocks. The same model assuming perfect information and calibrated to Canada accounts for developed country business cycle regularities. The estimated relative variance of trend shocks in these two models is similar.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, Markets
  • Political Geography: Canada, Mexico
  • Author: Erik Hjalmarsson
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: This paper analyzes the asymptotic properties of long-horizon estimators under both the null hypothesis and an alternative of predictability. Asymptotically, under the null of no predictability, the long-run estimator is an increasing deterministic function of the short-run estimate and the forecasting horizon. Under the alternative of predictability, the conditional distribution of the long-run estimator, given the short-run estimate, is no longer degenerate and the expected pattern of coefficient estimates across horizons differs from that under the null. Importantly, however, under the alternative, highly endogenous regressors, such as the dividend-price ratio, tend to deviate much less than exogenous regressors, such as the short interest rate, from the pattern expected under the null, making it more difficult to distinguish between the null and the alternative.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Author: David M. Arseneau, Sanjay K. Chugh
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: We show how to implement a competitive search equilibrium in a fully-specified DSGE environment. Competitive search, an equilibrium concept well-understood in labor market theory, offers an alternative to the commonly-used Nash bargaining in search-based macro models. Our simulation-based results show that business cycle fluctuations under competitive search equilibrium are virtually identical to those under Nash bargaining for a broad range of calibrations of Nash bargaining power. We also prove that business cycle fluctuations under competitive search equilibrium are exactly identical to those under Nash bargaining restricted to the popularly-used Hosios condition for search efficiency. This latter result extends the efficiency properties of competitive search equilibrium to a DSGE environment. Our results thus provide a foundation for researchers interested in studying business cycle fluctuations using search-based environments to claim that the sometimes-awkward assumption of bargaining per se does not obscure interpretation of results.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets
  • Author: Francis E. Warnock, John Ammer, Sara B. Holland, David C. Smith
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: This paper investigates the underlying determinants of home bias using a comprehensive sample of U.S. investor holdings of foreign stocks. We document that U.S. cross-listings are economically important, as U.S. ownership in a foreign firm roughly doubles upon cross-listing in the United States. We explore the cross-sectional variation in this "cross-listing effect" and show that increases in U.S. investment are largest in firms from weak accounting backgrounds and in firms that are otherwise informationally opaque, indicating that U.S. investors value the improvements in disclosure associated with cross-listing. We confirm that relative equity valuations rise for cross-listed stocks, and provide evidence suggesting that valuation increases are due in part to increases in U.S. shareholder demand and in part to the fact that the equities become more attractive to non-U.S. shareholders.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Erik Hjalmarsson, Benjamin Chiquoine
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: We show that the general bias reducing technique of jackknifing can be successfully applied to stock return predictability regressions. Compared to standard OLS estimation, the jackknifing procedure delivers virtually unbiased estimates with mean squared errors that generally dominate those of the OLS estimates. The jackknifing method is very general, as well as simple to implement, and can be applied to models with multiple predictors and overlapping observations. Unlike most previous work on inference in predictive regressions, no specific assumptions regarding the data generating process for the predictors are required. A set of Monte Carlo experiments show that the method works well in finite samples and the empirical section finds that out-of-sample forecasts based on the jackknifed estimates tend to outperform those based on the plain OLS estimates. The improved forecast ability also translates into economically relevant welfare gains for an investor who uses the predictive regression, with jackknifed estimates, to time the market.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Author: Erik Hjalmarsson
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: I test for stock return predictability in the largest and most comprehensive data set analyzed so far, using four common forecasting variables: the dividend- and earnings-price ratios, the short interest rate, and the term spread. The data contain over 20,000 monthly observations from 40 international markets, including 24 developed and 16 emerging economies. In addition, I develop new methods for predictive regressions with panel data. Inference based on the standard fixed effects estimator is shown to suffer from severe size distortions in the typical stock return regression, and an alternative robust estimator is proposed. The empirical results indicate that the short interest rate and the term spread are fairly robust predictors of stock returns in developed markets. In contrast, no strong or consistent evidence of predictability is found when considering the earnings- and dividend-price ratios as predictors.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Author: Martin Bodenstein
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: The empirical literature provides a wide range of estimates for trade elasticities at the aggregate level. Furthermore, recent contributions in international macroeconomics suggest that low (implied) values of the trade elasticity of substitution may play an important role in understanding the disconnect between international prices and real variables. However, a standard model of the international business cycle displays multiple locally isolated equilibria if the trade elasticity of substitution is sufficiently low. The main contribution of this paper is to compute and characterize some dynamic properties of these equilibria. While multiple steady states clearly signal equilibrium multiplicity in the dynamic setup, this is not a necessary condition. Solutions based on log-linearization around a deterministic steady state are of limited to no help in computing the true dynamics. However, the log-linear solution can hint at the presence of multiple dynamic equilibria.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Author: Steven B. Kamin, Carol C. Bertaut, Charles P. Thomas
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: This paper addresses three questions about the prospects for the U.S. current account deficit. Is it sustainable in the long term? If not, how long will it take for measures of external debt and debt service to reach levels that could prompt some pullback by global investors? And if and when such levels are breached, how readily would asset prices respond and the current account start to narrow?
  • Topic: Economics, Foreign Exchange, Government, International Political Economy, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Enrique G. Mendoza, Marco E. Terrones
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: This paper proposes a methodology for measuring credit booms and uses it to identify credit booms in emerging and industrial economies over the past four decades. In addition, we use event study methods to identify the key empirical regularities of credit booms in macroeconomic aggregates and micro-level data. Macro data show a systematic relationship between credit booms and economic expansions, rising asset prices, real appreciations, widening external deficits and managed exchange rates. Micro data show a strong association between credit booms and firm-level measures of leverage, firm values, and external financing, and bank-level indicators of banking fragility. Credit booms in industrial and emerging economies show three major differences: (1) credit booms and the macro and micro fluctuations associated with them are larger in emerging economies, particularly in the nontradables sector; (2) not all credit booms end in financial crises, but most emerging markets crises were associated with credit booms; and (3) credit booms in emerging economies are often preceded by large capital inflows but not by financial reforms or productivity gains.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Author: Ricardo Nunes, Michael Kumhof, Irina Yakadina
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: This paper asks whether an aggressive monetary policy response to inflation is feasible in countries that suffer from fiscal dominance, as long as monetary policy also responds to fiscal variables. We find that if nominal interest rates are allowed to respond to government debt, even aggressive rules that satisfy the Taylor principle can produce unique equilibria. But following such rules results in extremely volatile inflation. This leads to very frequent violations of the zero lower bound on nominal interest rates that make such rules infeasible. Even within the set of feasible rules the optimal response to inflation is highly negative, and more aggressive inflation fighting is inferior from a welfare point of view. The welfare gain from responding to fiscal variables is minimal compared to the gain from eliminating fiscal dominance.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Political Economy
  • Author: Luca Guerrieri, Christopher Gust, David López-Salido
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: We develop and estimate an open economy New Keynesian Phillips curve (NKPC) in which variable demand elasticities give rise to changes in desired markups in response to changes in competitive pressure from abroad. A parametric restriction on our specification yields the standard NKPC, in which the elasticity is constant, and there is no role for foreign competition to influence domestic inflation. By comparing the unrestricted and restricted specifications, we provide evidence that foreign competition plays an important role in accounting for the behavior of inflation in the traded goods sector. Our estimates suggest that foreign competition has lowered domestic goods inflation about 1 percentage point over the 2000-2006 period. Our results also provide evidence against demand curves with a constant elasticity in the context of models of monopolistic competition.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Charles P. Thomas, Jaime Marquez, Sean Fahle
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: In this paper we construct a new measure of U.S. prices relative to those of its trading partners and use it to reexamine the behavior of U.S. net exports. Our measure differs from existing measures of the dollar's real effective exchange rate (REER) in that it explicitly incorporates both the difference in price levels between the United States and developing economies and the growing importance of these developing economies in world trade. Unlike existing REERs, our measure shows that relative U.S. prices have increased significantly over the past 15 years. In terms of simple correlations, the relationship between our measure of relative prices and U.S. net exports is much more coherent than that between existing REERs and net exports. To explore this relationship further, we use our measure to construct an index of foreign prices relevant for U.S. export volumes and reexamine several export equations. We find that export equations with the new index dominate those with previous measures in terms of in-sample fit, outof- sample fit, and parameter constancy. In addition, we find that with the new index of foreign prices the estimated elasticity of U.S. exports with respect to foreign income is a good bit higher than the unitary elasticity found in previous studies using other price measures. This has implications for U.S. current account adjustment.
  • Topic: Economics, Foreign Exchange, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Daniel O. Beltran, Laurie Pounder, Charles Thomas
  • Publication Date: 08-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: The financial turmoil which began in August 2007 originated, in part, because investors reassessed the quality of the assets underlying many asset-backed securities (ABS), particularly U.S. mortgages. The prominence of European banks in the early stages of the turmoil created the perception that foreigners held an outsized share of risky U.S. securities and prompted questions of why Europeans were so exposed. This paper evaluates that perception by quantifying foreign exposure to ABS with U.S. underlying collateral. Using the latest survey data on foreign portfolio holdings of U.S. securities, we find that the ultimate losses that foreigners could incur arising from U.S. underlying assets are small relative to most scale variables, although initial total mark-to-market losses are estimated to be significantly larger. Among other reasons for this difference between ultimate and initial losses, we demonstrate that the securitization chain can amplify mark-to-market price declines in the presence of uncertainty or illiquidity. Finally, we show that, relative to the size of the market, foreigners’ holdings of U.S. mortgage-backed securities do not appear to be elevated compared with their holdings of other U.S. assets.
  • Topic: Economics, Financial Crisis, Financial Markets, Mortgages
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: Martin Bodenstein, Christopher J. Erceg, Luca Guerrieri
  • Publication Date: 08-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: In a stylized DSGE model with an energy sector, the optimal policy response to an adverse energy supply shock implies a rise in core inflation, a larger rise in headline inflation, and a decline in wage inflation. The optimal policy is well-approximated by policies that stabilize the output gap, but also by a wide array of “dual mandate” policies that are not overly aggressive in stabilizing core inflation. Finally, policies that react to a forecast of headline inflation following a temporary energy shock imply markedly different effects than policies that react to a forecast of core, with the former inducing greater volatility in core inflation and the output gap.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy, Inflation, Supply
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Neil R. Ericsson, Steven B. Kamin
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: his paper assesses the empirical merits of PcGets and Autometrics–two recent algorithms for computer-automated model selection–using them to improve upon Kamin and Ericsson’s (1993) model of Argentine broad money demand. The selected model is an economically sensible and statistically satisfactory error correc- tion model, in which cointegration between money, inflation, the interest rate, and exchange rate depreciation depends on the inclusion of a “ratchet” variable that cap- tures irreversible effects of inflation. Short-run dynamics differ markedly from the long run. Algorithmically based model selection complements opportunities for the researcher to contribute value added in the empirical analysis.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Finance, Inflation
  • Political Geography: Argentina, South America
  • Author: Ceyhun Bora Durdu, Serdar Sayan
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: This paper analyzes the implications of remittance fluctuations for various macroeconomic variables and Sudden Stops. The paper employs a quantitative two-sector model of a small open economy with financial frictions calibrated to Mexican and Turkish economies, two major recipients, whose remittance receipts feature opposite cyclical characteristics. We find that remittances dampen the business cycles in Mexico, whereas they amplify the cycles in Turkey. Their quantitative effects in the long run, approximated by the stochastic steady state are mild. In the short run, however, remittances have quantitatively large impacts on the economy, when the economy is borrowing constrained. This is because agents in the economy cannot adjust their precautionary wealth to sudden tightening in credit, hence, fluctuations in remittances get magnified through an endogenous debt-deflation mechanism. Our findings suggest that procyclical (or countercyclical) remittances can play a significant deepening (or mitigating) role for Sudden Stops.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Credit
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Asia, North America, Mexico
  • Author: James M. Nason, John H. Rogers
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: Exchange rates have raised the ire of economists for more than 20 years. The problem is that few, if any, exchange rate models are known to systematically beat a naive random walk in out of sample forecasts. Engel and West (2005) show that these failures can be explained by the standard-present value model (PVM) because it predicts random walk exchange rate dynamics if the discount factor approaches one and fundamentals have a unit root. This paper generalizes the Engel and West (EW) hypothesis to the larger class of open economy dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) models. The EW hypothesis is shown to hold for a canonical open economy DSGE model. We show that all the predictions of the standard-PVM carry over to the DSGE-PVM. The DSGE-PVM also yields an unobserved components (UC) models that we estimate using Bayesian methods and a quarterly Canadian--U.S. sample. Bayesian model evaluation reveals that the data support a UC model that calibrates the discount factor to one implying the Canadian dollar--U.S. dollar exchange rate is a random walk dominated by permanent cross-country monetary and productivity shocks.
  • Topic: Economics, Finance, Exchange Rate Policy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Charles Engel, John H. Rogers
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: Survey data show that the expected growth rates of consumption across countries vary widely and are not highly correlated. This data contradicts the simplest of open-economy models in which there is a freely traded non- state-contingent bond and purchasing power parity holds. We explore two alternative explanations for the finding: that households in each country in effect face different ex ante real interest rates or that there are significant credit constraints, so that expected consumption growth rates are driven largely by expected income growth. The empirical evidence strongly supports the latter hypothesis. These findings challenge the modeling of consumption that is at the heart of many, if not most, macroeconomic models.
  • Topic: Economics, Finance, Interest Rates, Credit
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Elizabeth Demers, Clara Vega
  • Publication Date: 10-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: This paper examines whether the “soft” information contained in the text of management’s quarterly earnings press releases is incrementally informative over the company’s reported “hard” earnings news. We use Diction, a textual-analysis program, to extract various dimensions of managerial net optimism from more than 20,000 corporate earnings announcements over the period 1998 to 2006 and document that unanticipated net optimism in managers’ language affects announcement period abnormal returns and predicts post- earnings announcement drift. We find that it takes longer for the market to understand the implications of soft information than those of hard information. We also find that the market response varies by firm size, turnover, media and analyst coverage, and the extent to which the standard accounting model captures the underlying economics of the firm. We also show that the second moment of soft information, the level of certainty in the text, is an important determinant of contemporaneous idiosyncratic volatility, and it predicts future idiosyncratic volatility.
  • Topic: Economics, Finance
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Meredith Beechey, Erik Hjalmarsson, Par Osterholm
  • Publication Date: 10-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: Nominal interest rates are unlikely to be generated by unit-root processes. Using data on short and long interest rates from eight developed and six emerging economies, we test the expectations hypothesis using cointegration methods under the assumption that interest rates are near integrated. If the null hypothesis of no cointegration is rejected, we then test whether the estimated cointegrating vector is consistent with that suggested by the expectations hypothesis. The results show support for cointegration in ten of the fourteen countries we consider, and the cointegrating vector is similar across countries. However, the parameters di§er from those suggested by theory. We relate our Öndings to existing literature on the failure of the expectations hypothesis and to the role of term premia.
  • Topic: Economics, Interest Rates
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Lutz Kilian, Clara Vega
  • Publication Date: 11-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: Models that treat innovations to the price of energy as predetermined with respect to U.S. macroeconomic aggregates are widely used in the literature. For example, it is common to order energy prices first in recursively identified VAR models of the transmission of energy price shocks. Since exactly identifying assumptions are inherently untestable, this approach in practice has required an act of faith in the empirical plausibility of the delay restriction used for identification. An alternative view that would invalidate such models is that energy prices respond instantaneously to macroeconomic news, implying that energy prices should be ordered last in recursively identified VAR models. In this paper, we propose a formal test of the identifying assumption that energy prices are predetermined with respect to U.S. macroeconomic aggregates. Our test is based on regressing cumulative changes in daily energy prices on daily news from U.S. macroeconomic data releases. Using a wide range of macroeconomic news, we find no compelling evidence of feedback at daily or monthly horizons, contradicting the view that energy prices respond instantaneously to macroeconomic news and supporting the use of delay restrictions for identification.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy, Oil, Macroeconomics
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: Seth Pruitt
  • Publication Date: 12-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: An economic agent who is uncertain of her economic model learns, and this learning is sensi- tive to the presence of data measurement error. I investigate this idea in an existing framework that describes the Federal Reserve’s role in U.S. inflation. This framework successfully fits the observed inflation to optimal policy, but fails to motivate the optimal policy by the perceived Philips curve trade-off between inflation and unemployment. I modify the framework to account for data uncertainty calibrated to the actual size of data revisions. The modified framework ameliorates the existing problems by adding sluggishness to the Federal Reserve’s learning: the key point is that data uncertainty is amplified by the nonlinearity induced by learning. Conse- quently there is an explanation for the rise and fall in inflation: the concurrent rise and fall in the perceived Philips curve trade-off.
  • Topic: Economics, Inflation, Models
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: Geoffrey N. Keim, Beth Anne Wilson
  • Publication Date: 11-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: Projections of sustained strong growth in India depend importantly on the utilization of the huge increase in India's working-age population projected over the next two decades. To date, however, India's economic growth has been concentrated in high-skill and capital-intensive sectors, and has not generated strong employment growth. In this paper, we highlight the tension between India's performance in output and employment, describe the characteristics of India's demographic dividend, and discuss impediments to India's shift away from agriculture.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Markets
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Beth Anne Wilson, Jane T. Haltmaier, Shaghil Ahmed, Brahima Coulibaly, Ross Knippenberg, Sylvain Leduc, Mario Marazzi
  • Publication Date: 09-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: This paper assesses China's role in Asia as an independent engine of growth, as a conduit of demand from the industrial countries, and as a competitor for export markets. We provide both macroeconomic and microeconomic evidence. The macroeconomic analysis focuses on the impact of U.S. and Chinese demand on the output of the Asian economies by estimating growth comovements and VARs. The results suggest an increasing role of China as an independent source of growth. The microeconomic analysis decomposes trade into basic products, parts and components, and finished goods. We find a large role for parts and components trade consistent with China playing an important and increasing role as a conduit. We also estimate some regressions that show that China's increasing presence in export markets has had a negative effect on exports of some products for some other Asian economies, but not for other products, including those of the important electronic high-technology industry.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia
  • Author: Luca Guerrieri, Martin Bodenstein, Christopher J. Erceg
  • Publication Date: 06-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: This paper investigates how oil price shocks affect the trade balance and terms of trade in a two country DSGE model. We show that the response of the external sector depends critically on the structure of financial market risk-sharing. Under incomplete markets, higher oil prices reduce the relative wealth of an oil-importing country, and induce its nonoil terms of trade to deteriorate, and its nonoil trade balance to improve. The magnitude of the nonoil terms of trade response hinges on structural parameters that affect the divergence in wealth effects across oil importers and exporters, including the elasticity of substitution between oil and other inputs in production, and the discount factor. By contrast, cross-country wealth differences effectively disappear under complete markets, with the implication that oil shocks have essentially no effect on the nonoil terms of trade or the nonoil trade balance.
  • Topic: Economics, Foreign Exchange, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Oil
  • Author: Robert Vigfusson, Nathan Sheets, Joseph Gagnon
  • Publication Date: 09-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: A growing body of empirical work has found evidence of a decline in exchange rate pass-through to import prices in a number of industrial countries. Our paper complements this work by examining pass-through from the other side of the transaction; that is, we assess the exchange rate sensitivity of export prices (denominated in the exporter's currency). We first sketch out a streamlined analytical model that highlights some key factors that determine pass-through. Using this model as reference, we find that the prices charged on exports to the United States are more responsive to the exchange rate than is the case for export prices to other destinations, which is consistent with results in the literature suggesting that import price pass-through in the U.S. market is relatively low. We also find that moves in the exchange rate sensitivity of export prices over time have been significantly affected by country and region-specific factors, including the Asian financial crisis (for emerging Asia), deepening integration with the United States (for Canada), and the effects of the 1992 ERM crisis (for the United Kingdom).
  • Topic: Economics, Foreign Exchange, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Asia
  • Author: Steven B. Kamin, Trevor A. Reeve
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: In recent years, a number of studies have analyzed the experiences of a broad range of industrial economies during periods when their current account deficits have narrowed. Such studies identified systematic aspects of external adjustment, but it is unclear how good a guide the experience of other countries may be to the effects of a future narrowing of the U.S. external imbalance. In contrast, this paper focuses in depth on the historical experience of external adjustment in the United States. Using data from the past thirty-five years, we compare economic performance in episodes during which the U.S. trade balance deteriorated and episodes during which it adjusted. We find trade balance adjustment to have been generally benign: U.S. real GDP growth tended to fall, but not to a statistically significant extent; housing construction slumped; inflation generally rose modestly; and although nominal interest rates tended to rise, real interest rates fell. The paper then compares these outcomes to those in foreign industrial economies. We find that the economic performance of the United States during periods of external adjustment is remarkably similar to the foreign experience. Finally, we also examine the performance of the foreign industrial economies during the periods of U.S. deterioration and adjustment. Contrary to concerns that U.S. adjustment will prove injurious to foreign economies, our analysis suggests that the foreign economies fared reasonably well during past periods when the U.S. trade deficit narrowed: the growth of domestic demand and real GDP abroad generally strengthened during such episodes, although inflation and interest rates tended to rise as well.
  • Topic: Economics, Foreign Exchange, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Steven B. Kamin, Jaime Marquez, Jane Ihrig, Deborah Lindner
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: This paper evaluates the hypothesis that globalization has increased the role of international factors and decreased the role of domestic factors in the inflation process in industrial economies. Toward that end, we estimate standard Phillips curve inflation equations for 11 industrial countries and use these estimates to test several predictions of the globalization and inflation hypothesis. Our results provide little support for that hypothesis. First, the estimated effect of foreign output gaps on domestic consumer price inflation is generally insignificant and often of the wrong sign. Second, we find no evidence that the trend decline in the sensitivity of inflation to the domestic output gap observed in many countries owes to globalization. Finally, and most surprisingly, our econometric results indicate no increase over time in the responsiveness of inflation to import prices for most countries. However, even though we find no evidence that globalization is affecting the parameters of the inflation process, globalization may be helping to stabilize real GDP and hence inflation. Over time, the volatility of real GDP growth has declined by more than the volatility of domestic demand, suggesting that net exports increasingly are acting to buffer output from fluctuations in domestic demand.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Author: Alan J. Ahearne, John G. Fernald, John W. Schindler, Prakash Loungani
  • Publication Date: 12-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: This paper updates our earlier work (Ahearne, Fernald, Loungani and Schindler, 2003) on whether China, with its huge pool of labor and an allegedly undervalued exchange rate, is hurting the export performance of other emerging market economies in Asia. We continue to find that while exchange rates matter for export performance, the income growth of trading partners matters far more. This suggests the potential for exports of all Asian economies to grow in harmony as long as global growth is strong. We also examine changes in export shares of Asian economies to the U.S. market and find evidence that dramatic changes in shares are taking place. Many of these changes are consistent with a 'flying geese' pattern in which China moves into the product space vacated by the Asian NIEs or with greater integration of trade across Asia in the production of final goods. Nevertheless, China's dramatic gains in recent years do increase the pressure on Asian economies, particularly in ASEAN and South Asia, to seek areas of comparative advantage.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Foreign Exchange, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: China, South Asia, Asia
  • Author: Jonathan H. Wright, Joseph E. Gagnon
  • Publication Date: 11-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: This paper considers the prediction of large depreciations (both nominal and real) in a panel of industrialized countries using a probit methodology. The current account balance/GDP ratio has a modest but statistically significant effect on the estimated probability of a large depreciation, and gives slight predictive power in an outof- sample forecasting exercise. The CPI inflation rate also has a modest but statistically significant effect in predicting nominal depreciations and has slight predictive power, but this effect is not present for real exchange rates. The GDP growth rate occasionally has a significant effect. A higher current account balance (surplus) tends to reduce the probability of a sharp depreciation; a higher inflation rate tends to increase the probability of a sharp depreciation; and a higher GDP growth rate perhaps tends to reduce the probability of a sharp depreciation.
  • Topic: Economics, Foreign Exchange, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Author: Torben G. Andersen, Tim Bollerslev, Francis X. Diebold, Clara Vega
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: Using a unique high-frequency futures dataset, we characterize the response of U.S., German and British stock, bond and foreign exchange markets to real-time U.S. macroeconomic news. We find that news produces conditional mean jumps; hence high-frequency stock, bond and exchange rate dynamics are linked to fundamentals. Equity markets, moreover, react differently to news depending on the stage of the business cycle, which explains the low correlation between stock and bond returns when averaged over the cycle. Hence our results qualify earlier work suggesting that bond markets react most strongly to macroeconomic news; in particular, when conditioning on the state of the economy, the equity and foreign exchange markets appear equally responsive. Finally, we also document important contemporaneous links across all markets and countries, even after controlling for the effects of macroeconomic news.
  • Topic: Economics, Foreign Exchange, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: John H. Rogers, Charles Engel
  • Publication Date: 04-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: We investigate the possibility that the large current account deficits of the U.S. are the outcome of optimizing behavior. We develop a simple long-run world equilibrium model in which a country's current account is determined by the expected discounted present value of its future share of world GDP relative to its current share of world GDP. The model suggests that under some reasonable assumptions about future U.S. GDP growth relative to the rest of the advanced countries – more modest than the growth over the past 20 years – the current account deficit is near optimal levels. We then explore the implications for the real exchange rate. Under some plausible assumptions, the model implies little change in the real exchange rate over the adjustment path, though the conclusion is sensitive to assumptions about tastes and technology. Then we turn to empirical evidence. Two empirical analyses of current account sustainability using actual data suggest that the U.S. is not keeping on a long-run sustainable path. One is a direct test of our model, which finds that the dynamics of the U.S. current account – the increasing deficits over the past decade – are difficult to explain under a particular statistical model (Markov-switching) of expectations of future U.S. growth. But, if we use survey data on forecasted GDP growth in the G7, our very simple model appears to explain the evolution of the U.S. current account remarkably well. We conclude that expectations of robust performance of the U.S. economy relative to the rest of the advanced countries is a contender – though not the only legitimate contender – for explaining the U.S. current account deficit.
  • Topic: Economics, Foreign Exchange, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Patrick J. DeGraba
  • Publication Date: 05-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: It is widely believed that larger customers in a market can secure lower prices than smaller customers. This paper presents conditions under which risk averse sellers, who can distinguish larger customers from smaller customers, but who cannot observe customers' valuations, have an incentive to offer lower prices to larger customers. The intuition is that a single customer that demands a specific quantity represents a riskier profit source than multiple customers with independent valuations whose demands sum to that same quantity. Sellers respond to the riskier profit source by offering a lower price to reduce some of the risk.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance
  • Author: Jonathan H. Wright, David W. Berger, Alain P. Chaboud, Sergey V. Chernenko, Edward Howorka, Raj S. Iyer, David Liu
  • Publication Date: 04-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: We study the association between order flow and exchange rate returns in five years of high-frequency intraday data from the leading interdealer electronic broking system, EBS. While the association between order flow and exchange rate returns has been studied in several previous papers, these have mostly used relatively short spans of daily data from older bilateral dealing systems and, usually, transaction counts instead of actual trading volume. Using a substantially longer span of recent high-frequency data and measuring order flow as actual signed trading volume, we find a strong positive association between order flow and exchange rate returns at frequencies ranging from one minute to one day, and a more modest but still sizeable association at the monthly frequency. We find, however, no evidence that order flow has predictive power for future exchange rate movements beyond, possibly, the next minute. Focusing on the behavior of order flow and exchange rates at the time of scheduled U.S. economic data releases, we find that the surprise components of these announcements are associated with order flow at high frequency immediately after the data releases. This finding seems inconsistent with a simple efficient markets view of how a public news announcement is incorporated into prices.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States