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Working Papers

Working Papers

  • WP 19-08 | Asymptotically Valid Bootstrap Inference for Proxy SVARs


    Carsten Jentsch Kurt G. Lunsford

    Abstract

    Proxy structural vector autoregressions identify structural shocks in vector autoregressions with external variables that are correlated with the structural shocks of interest but uncorrelated with all other structural shocks. We provide asymptotic theory for this identification approach under mild α-mixing conditions that cover a large class of uncorrelated, but possibly dependent innovation processes, including conditional heteroskedasticity. We prove consistency of a residual-based moving block bootstrap for inference on statistics such as impulse response functions and forecast error variance decompositions. Wild bootstraps are proven to be generally invalid for these statistics and their coverage rates can be badly and persistently mis-sized.   Read More

  • WP 19-10 | Multiperiod Loans, Occasionally Binding Constraints, and Monetary Policy: A Quantitative Evaluation


    Kristina Bluwstein Michał Brzoza-Brzezina Paolo Gelain Marcin Kolasa

    Abstract

    We study the implications of multiperiod mortgage loans for monetary policy, considering several realistic modifications—fixed interest rate contracts, a lower bound constraint on newly granted loans, and the possibility of the collateral constraint to become slack—to an otherwise standard DSGE model with housing and financial intermediaries. We estimate the model in its nonlinear form and argue that all these features are important to understand the evolution of mortgage debt during the recent US housing market boom and bust. We show how the nonlinearities associated with the two constraints make the transmission of monetary policy dependent on the housing cycle, with weaker effects observed when house prices are high or start falling sharply. We also find that higher average loan duration makes monetary policy less effective and may lead to asymmetric responses to positive and negative monetary shocks.   Read More

  • WP 19-09 | Variation in the Phillips Curve Relation across Three Phases of the Business Cycle


    Richard Ashley Randal J. Verbrugge

    Abstract

    We use recently developed econometric tools to demonstrate that the Phillips curve unemployment rate–inflation rate relationship varies in an economically meaningful way across three phases of the business cycle. The first (“bust phase”) relationship is the one highlighted by Stock and Watson (2010): A sharp reduction in inflation occurs as the unemployment rate is rising rapidly. The second (“recovery phase”) relationship occurs as the unemployment rate subsequently begins to fall; during this phase, inflation is unrelated to any conventional unemployment gap. The final (“overheating phase”) relationship begins once the unemployment rate drops below its natural rate. We validate our findings in a forecasting exercise and find statistically significant episodic forecast improvement. Our analysis allows us to provide a unified explanation of many prominent findings in the literature.   Read More

  • WP 17-06R | Firms, Skills, and Wage Inequality


    Roberto Pinheiro Murat Tasci

    Original Paper: WP 17-06

    Abstract

    We present a model with search frictions and heterogeneous agents that allows us to decompose the overall increase in US wage inequality in the last 30 years into its within- and between-firm and skill components. We calibrate the model to evaluate how much of the overall rise in wage inequality and its components is explained by different channels. Output distribution per firm-skill pair more than accounts for the observed increase over this period. Parametric identification implies that the worker-specific component is responsible for 85 percent of this, compared to 15 percent that is attributable to firm-level productivity shifts.   Read More

  • WP 19-07 | The Informational Effect of Monetary Policy and the Case for Policy Commitment


    Chengcheng Jia

    Abstract

    I explore how asymmetric information between the central bank and the private sector changes the optimal conduct of monetary policy. I build a New Keynesian model in which private agents have imperfect information about underlying shocks, while the central bank has perfect information. In this environment, private agents extract information about the underlying shocks from the central bank’s interest-rate decisions. This informational effect weakens the direct effect of monetary policy: When the central bank adjusts the interest rate to offset the effects of underlying shocks, the interest rate also reveals information about the realization of underlying shocks. Because private agents have more precise information about the shocks and consequently react more aggressively to it, the economy becomes harder to stabilize with monetary policy. I show that committing to the optimal state-contingent policy rule alleviates this problem by controlling the information revealed through the interest rate.   Read More

  • WP 19-06 | On the Heterogeneous Welfare Gains and Losses from Trade


    Daniel R. Carroll Sewon Hur

    Abstract

    How are the gains and losses from trade distributed across individuals within a country? First, we document that tradable goods constitute a larger fraction of expenditures for poor households. Second, we build a trade model with nonhomothetic preferences—to generate the documented relationship between tradable expenditure shares, income, and wealth—and uninsurable earnings risk—to generate heterogeneity in income and wealth. Third, we use the calibrated model to quantify the differential welfare gains and losses from trade along the income and wealth distribution. In a numerical exercise, we permanently reduce trade costs so as to generate a rise in import share of GDP commensurate with that seen in the data from 2001 to 2014. We find that households in the lowest wealth decile experience welfare gains over the transition, measured by permanent consumption equivalents, that are 67 percent larger than those in the highest wealth decile.   Read More

  • WP 18-07R | Opioids and the Labor Market


    Dionissi Aliprantis Kyle Fee Mark E. Schweitzer

    Abstract

    This paper studies the relationship between local opioid prescription rates and labor market outcomes. We improve the joint measurement of labor market outcomes and prescription rates in the rural areas where nearly 30 percent of the US population lives. We find that increasing the local prescription rate by 10 percent decreases the prime-age employment rate by 0.50 percentage points for men and 0.17 percentage points for women. This effect is larger for white men with less than a BA (0.70 percentage points) and largest for minority men with less than a BA (1.01 percentage points). Geography is an obstacle to giving a causal interpretation to these results, especially since they were estimated in the midst of a large recession and recovery that generated considerable cross-sectional variation in local economic performance. We show that our results are not sensitive to most approaches to controlling for places experiencing either contemporaneous labor market shocks or persistently weak labor market conditions. We also present evidence on reverse causality, finding that a short-term unemployment shock did not increase the share of people abusing prescription opioids. Our estimates imply that prescription opioids can account for 44 percent of the realized national decrease in men’s labor force participation between 2001 and 2015.   Read More

  • WP 19-05 | The Unintended Consequences of Employer Credit Check Bans for Labor Markets


    Kristle Cortés Andrew Glover Murat Tasci

    Abstract

    Over the last decade, 11 states have restricted employers’ access to the credit reports of job applicants. We document a significant decline in county-level vacancies after these laws were enacted: Job postings fall by 5.5 percent in affected occupations relative to exempt occupations in the same county and the same occupation nationwide. Cross-sectional heterogeneity in the estimated effects suggests that employers use credit reports as signals: Vacancies fall more in counties with a large share of subprime residents, while they fall less in occupations with other commonly available signals.   Read More

  • WP 19-03 | Firm Entry and Exit and Aggregate Growth


    Jose Asturias Sewon Hur Timothy Kehoe Kim Ruhl

    Abstract

    Applying the Foster, Haltiwanger, and Krizan (FHK) (2001) decomposition to plant-level manufacturing data from Chile and Korea, we find that the entry and exit of plants account for a larger fraction of aggregate productivity growth during periods of fast GDP growth. Studies of other countries confirm this empirical relationship. To analyze this relationship, we develop a simple model of firm entry and exit based on Hopenhayn (1992) in which there are analytical expressions for the FHK decomposition. When we introduce reforms that reduce entry costs or reduce barriers to technology adoption into a calibrated model, we find that the entry and exit terms in the FHK decomposition become more important as GDP grows rapidly, just as they do in the data from Chile and Korea.   Read More

  • WP 19-04 | Job Heterogeneity and Aggregate Labor Market Fluctuations


    Pawel Krolikowski

    Abstract

    This paper disciplines a model with search over match quality using microeconomic evidence on worker mobility patterns and wage dynamics. In addition to capturing these individual data, the model provides an explanation for aggregate labor market patterns. Poor match quality among first jobs implies large fluctuations in unemployment due to a responsive job destruction margin. Endogenous job destruction generates a burst of layoffs at the onset of a recession and, together with on-the-job search, generates a negative comovement between unemployment and vacancies. A significant job ladder, consistent with the empirical wage dispersion, provides ample scope for the propagation of vacancies and unemployment.   Read More