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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