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  • Author: Davide Debortoli, Ricardo Nunes
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • 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: U.S. Government
  • 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: U.S. Government
  • 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: U.S. Government
  • 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: U.S. Government
  • 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: U.S. Government
  • 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: U.S. Government
  • 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: U.S. Government
  • 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: U.S. Government
  • 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: U.S. Government
  • 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: U.S. Government
  • 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: U.S. Government
  • 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: U.S. Government
  • 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: U.S. Government
  • 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: U.S. Government
  • 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: U.S. Government
  • 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: U.S. Government
  • 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: U.S. Government
  • 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: U.S. Government
  • 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: U.S. Government
  • 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: U.S. Government
  • 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: Geoffrey N. Keim, Beth Anne Wilson
  • Publication Date: 11-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • 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: U.S. Government
  • 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: U.S. Government
  • 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: U.S. Government
  • 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: U.S. Government
  • 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: U.S. Government
  • 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: U.S. Government
  • 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: U.S. Government
  • 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: U.S. Government
  • 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: U.S. Government
  • 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: U.S. Government
  • 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: U.S. Government
  • 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
  • Author: John W. Schindler, Dustin H. Beckett
  • Publication Date: 04-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: Hong Kong plays a prominent role as a re-exporter of a large percentage of trade bound for or coming from China. Current reporting practices in China and its trading partners do not fully reflect this role and therefore provide a misleading picture of the origin or ultimate destination of Chinese exports and imports. We adjust bilateral trade data for both China and its trading partners to correct for this problem. We also correct for differences due to markups in Hong Kong and different standards for reporting trade (c.i.f. versus f.o.b.). For 2003, we estimate that China's overall trade surplus was between $53 billion and $126 billion, larger than that reported in official Chinese data, but smaller than that reported by China's trading partners. We also provide evidence that, in general, the actual origin of a good that is transshipped through Hong Kong is correctly reported by the importing country, but the final destination of such goods is not correctly reported by the exporting country.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Hong Kong
  • Author: Jaime Marquez, Mario Marazzi, Nathan Sheets, Joseph Gagnon, Robert J. Vigfusson, Jon Faust, Robert F. Martin, Trevor Reeve, John Rogers
  • Publication Date: 04-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: This paper documents a sustained decline in exchange rate pass-through to U.S. import prices, from above 0.5 during the 1980s to somewhere in the neighborhood of 0.2 during the last decade. This decline in the pass-through coefficient is robust to the measure of foreign prices that is included in the regression (i.e., CPI versus PPI), whether the estimation is done in levels or differences, and whether U.S. prices are included as an explanatory variable. Notably, the largest estimates of pass-through are obtained when commodity prices are excluded from the regression. In this case, the pass-through coefficient captures both the direct effect of the exchange rate on import prices and an indirect effect operating through changes in commodity prices. Our work indicates that an increasing share of exchange rate pass-through has occurred through this commodity-price channel in recent years. While the source of the decline in passthrough is difficult to pin down with certainty, our work points to several factors, including the reduced share of (commodity-intensive) industrial supplies in U.S. imports and the increased presence of Chinese exporters in U.S. markets. We detect a particular step down in the passthrough coefficient around the time of the Asian financial crisis and document a shift in the export pricing behavior of emerging Asian firms around that time.
  • Topic: Economics, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Rosa M. Abrantes-Metz, Luke M. Froeb, John F. Geweke, Charles T. Taylor
  • Publication Date: 03-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: In this paper, we examine price movements over time around the collapse of a bid-rigging conspiracy. While the mean decreased by sixteen percent, the standard deviation increased by over two hundred percent. We hypothesize that conspiracies in other industries would exhibit similar characteristics and search for "pockets" of low price variation as indicators of collusion in the retail gasoline industry in Louisville. We observe no such areas around Louisville in 1996-2002.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance
  • Author: Sanjay Chugh
  • Publication Date: 03-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: Ramsey models of fiscal and monetary policy with perfectly-competitive product markets and a fixed supply of capital predict highly volatile inflation with no serial correlation. In this paper, we show that an otherwise-standard Ramsey model that incorporates capital accumulation and habit persistence predicts highly persistent inflation. The result depends on increases in either the ability to smooth consumption or the preference for doing so. The effect operates through the Fisher relationship: a smoother profile of consumption implies a more persistent real interest rate, which in turn implies persistent optimal inflation. Our work complements a recent strand of the Ramsey literature based on models with nominal rigidities. In these models, inflation volatility is lower but continues to exhibit very little persistence. We quantify the effects of habit and capital on inflation persistence and also relate our findings to recent work on optimal fiscal policy with incomplete markets.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance
  • Author: Luca Guerrieri, Dale W. Henderson, Jinill Kim
  • Publication Date: 02-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: In the last half of the 1990s, labor productivity growth rose in the U.S. and fell almost everywhere in Europe. We document changes in both capital deepening and multifactor productivity (MFP) growth in both the information and communication technology (ICT) and non-ICT sectors. We view MFP growth in the ICT sector as investment-specific productivity (ISP) growth. We perform simulations suggested by the data using a two-country DGE model with traded and nontraded goods. For ISP, we consider level increases and persistent growth rate increases that are symmetric across countries and allow for costs of adjusting capital-labor ratios that are higher in one country because of structural differences. ISP increases generate investment booms unless adjustment costs are too high. For MFP, we consider persistent growth rate shocks that are asymmetric. When such MFP shocks affect only traded goods (as often assumed), movements in 'international' variables are qualitatively similar to those in the data. However, when they also affect nontraded goods (as suggested by the data), movements in some of the variables are not. To obtain plausible results for the growth rate shocks, it is necessary to assume slow recognition.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Steven B. Kamin, Sylvain Leduc, Hilary Croke
  • Publication Date: 02-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: Much has been written about prospects for U.S. current account adjustment, including the possibility of what is sometimes referred to as a “disorderly correction”: a sharp fall in the exchange rate that boosts interest rates, depresses stock prices, and weakens economic activity. This paper assesses some of the empirical evidence bearing on the likelihood of the disorderly correction scenario, drawing on the experience of previous current account adjustments in industrial economies. We examined the paths of key economic performance indicators before, during, and after the onset of adjustment, building on the analysis of Freund (2000).
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Sylvain Leduc, Giancarlo Corsetti, Luca Dedola
  • Publication Date: 02-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: A central puzzle in international finance is that real exchange rates are volatile and, in stark contradiction to efficient risk-sharing, negatively correlated with cross-country consumption ratios. This paper shows that a standard international business cycle model with incomplete asset markets augmented with distribution services can account quantitatively for these properties of real exchange rates. Distribution services, intensive in local inputs, drive a wedge between producer and consumer prices, thus lowering the impact of terms-of-trade changes on optimal agents' decisions. This reduces the price elasticity of tradables separately from assumptions on preferences.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Alain P. Chaboud, Owen Humpage
  • Publication Date: 01-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: We analyze the short-term price impact of Japanese foreign exchange intervention operations between 1991 and 2004, using official data from Japan's Ministry of Finance. Over the period as a whole, we find some evidence of a modest "against the wind" effect, but interventions do not have value as a forecast that the exchange rate will move in a direction consistent with the operations. Interventions conducted between 1995 and 2002, which were large and infrequent, met with a much higher degree of success. For the most recent episode of intervention, in 2003 and 2004, despite the record size and frequency of the overall episode, it is difficult to statistically distinguish the pattern of exchange rate movements on intervention days from that of all the days in that particular subperiod, showing little effectiveness. Still, while the evidence of Japanese intervention effectiveness is modest overall, it appears to be stronger than that found using similar techniques for U.S. intervention operations conducted in the 1980s and 1990s.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Japan, Israel
  • Publication Date: 01-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: On December 26, 2004, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake off the west coast of Northern Sumatra, Indonesia, triggered a tsunami—a series of giant waves—that inundated coastal areas of Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, India, and Malaysia, as well as Indian Ocean islands and parts of East Africa.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Economics, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, East Africa
  • Author: Luca Guerrieri, Christopher Gust, Christopher Erceg
  • Publication Date: 01-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: In this paper, we use an open economy DGE model (SIGMA) to assess the quantitative effects of fiscal shocks on the trade balance in the United States. We examine the effects of two alternative fiscal shocks: a rise in government consumption, and a reduction in the labor income tax rate. Our salient finding is that a fiscal deficit has a relatively small effect on the U.S. trade balance, irrespective of whether the source is a spending increase or tax cut. In our benchmark calibration, we find that a rise in the fiscal deficit of one percentage point of GDP induces the trade balance to deteriorate by less than 0.2 percentage point of GDP. Noticeably larger effects are only likely to be elicited under implausibly high values of the short-run trade price elasticity.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Fang Cai, Francis E. Warnock
  • Publication Date: 12-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: We analyze foreigners' and domestic institutional investors' positions in U.S. equities. Controlling for many factors, we uncover a common preference for large firms and firms that are diversified internationally. The domestic preference for internationally diversified firms implies that investors might obtain substantial international diversification by investing at home. Using an international factor model, we show that exposure to foreign equity markets is indeed greater for domestic firms that are more diversified internationally, suggesting that at least some of the home-grown foreign exposure translates into international diversification benefits. After accounting for home-grown foreign exposure, the share of 'foreign' equities in investors' portfolios nearly doubles, reducing (but not eliminating) the observed home bias.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Jonathan H. Wright, Alain P. Chaboud, Edward Howorka, David Liu, Sergey Chernenko, Raj S. Krishnasami Iyer
  • Publication Date: 11-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: We introduce a new high-frequency foreign exchange dataset from EBS (Electronic Broking Service) that includes trading volume in the global interdealer spot market, data not previously available to researchers. The data also gives live transactable quotes, rather than the indicative quotes that have been used in most previous high frequency foreign exchange analysis. We describe intraday volume and volatility patterns in euro-dollar and dollar-yen trading. We study the effects of scheduled U.S. macroeconomic data releases, first confirming the finding of recent literature that the conditional mean of the exchange rate responds very quickly to the unexpected component of data releases. We next study the effects of data releases on trading volumes. News releases cause volume to rise, and to remain elevated for a longer period. However, in contrast to the result for the level of the exchange rate, even if the data release is entirely in line with expectations, we find that there is still typically a large pickup in trading volume.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Joseph E. Gagnon
  • Publication Date: 11-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: Fast-growing countries tend to experience rapid export growth with little secular change in their terms of trade. This contradicts the standard Armington trade model, which predicts that fast-growing countries can experience rapid export growth only to the extent that they accept declining terms of trade. This paper generalizes the monopolistic competition trade model of Helpman and Krugman (1985), providing a basis for growth-led exports without declining terms of trade. The key mechanism behind this result is that fast-growing countries are able to develop new varieties of products that can be exported without pushing down the prices of existing products. There is strong support for the new model in long-run export growth of many countries in the post-war era.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Luca Guerrieri, Christopher Gust, Christopher J. Erceg
  • Publication Date: 10-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: Gali's innovative approach of imposing long-run restrictions on a vector autoregression (VAR) to identify the effects of a technology shock has become widely utilized. In this paper, we investigate its reliability through Monte Carlo simulations using calibrated business cycle models. We find it encouraging that the impulse responses derived from applying the Gali methodology to the artificial data generally have the same sign and qualitative pattern as the true responses. However, we find considerable estimation uncertainty about the quantitative impact of a technology shock on macroeconomic variables, and little precision in estimating the contribution of technology shocks to business cycle fluctuations. More generally, our analysis emphasizes that the conditions under which the methodology performs well appear considerably more restrictive than implied by the key identifying assumption, and depend on model structure, the nature of the underlying shocks, and variable selection in the VAR. This cautions against interpreting responses derived from this approach as model-independent stylized.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Science and Technology
  • Author: Mark Carey
  • Publication Date: 10-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: This introductory note summarizes and draws together the work reported in eight research papers written by staff economists of the Board's Division of International Finance as part of a project on global financial integration. The eight papers are also International Discussion Finance Discussion Papers (IFDPs), the numbers of which are specified on the table of contents that appears herein. When viewing this introduction online, the paper titles appearing on the table-of-contents page are web links that may be used to navigate directly to each paper's on-line file.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Gregory P. Nini
  • Publication Date: 09-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: Empirical estimates of the benefit of financial intermediation are constructed by examining the role played by local banks in facilitating syndicated loans to borrowers in emerging market countries. Assuming that local banks possess a superior monitoring ability, the market is ideal for studying the value of intermediation since cross-border lending into emerging markets is plagued by particularly high information and agency costs and the supply of local bank capital is in limited short run supply. Using variation in the propensity of local banks to participate in foreign arranged syndicates, there are two economically important results. First, local banks are much more likely to participate in unconditionally riskier loans. Second, after controlling for borrower characteristics, loan characteristics, and the endogeneity of the local bank lending decision, loans with local bank participation have spreads that are 10 percent lower (29 basis points) than otherwise similar loans. Combined, the results support the conclusion that local banks, a particularly special type of financial intermediary, provide value by considerably reducing financing costs, especially for riskier borrowers.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Carol C. Bertaut, Linda S. Kole
  • Publication Date: 09-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: Using data from the IMF Coordinated Portfolio Investment Surveys conducted in 2001, we analyze the determinants of 31 countries' international equity holdings. We show that investors in all countries underweight U.S. equities in their portfolios, many by more than they underweight foreign equities in general. Such behavior is surprising given the common perception of the United States as a desirable investment destination due to its well-developed legal and regulatory environment. Instead we find that investors in some countries are overweight in equities from other countries with which they have close regional or political ties. Such ties, along with distance, trade, issuance of U.S. ADRs or cross-listing on the London Stock exchange, market concentration, and estimated betas help explain patterns of diversification. However, even when all these variables are included, we find significant fixed effects for most countries, suggesting that a considerable amount of cross-country variation in investment positions and in home bias remains to be explained. Our work confirms previous findings and extends results most completely documented for the United States to other major investor countries. But it also suggests caution should be used when interpreting results derived from studies of one or a few countries.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, London