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Working Papers

Working Papers

  • WP 20-02 | Capturing Macroeconomic Tail Risks with Bayesian Vector Autoregressions


    Andrea Carriero Todd E. Clark Massimiliano Marcellino

    Abstract

    A rapidly growing body of research has examined tail risks in macroeconomic outcomes. Most of this work has focused on the risks of significant declines in GDP, and has relied on quantile regression methods to estimate tail risks. In this paper we examine the ability of Bayesian VARs with stochastic volatility to capture tail risks in macroeconomic forecast distributions and outcomes. We consider both a conventional stochastic volatility specification and a specification featuring a common volatility factor that is a function of past financial conditions. Even though the conditional predictive distributions from the VAR models are symmetric, our estimated models featuring time-varying volatility yield more time variation in downside risk as compared to upside risk—a feature highlighted in other work that has advocated for quantile regression methods or focused on asymmetric conditional distributions. Overall, the BVAR models perform comparably to quantile regression for estimating tail risks, with, in addition, some gains in standard point and density forecasts.   Read More

  • WP 19-25R | The Propagation of Monetary Policy Shocks in a Heterogeneous Production Economy


    Ernesto Pasten Raphael Schoenle Michael Weber

    Original Paper: WP 19-25

    Abstract

    Realistic heterogeneity in price rigidity interacts with heterogeneity in sectoral size and input-output linkages in the transmission of monetary policy shocks. Quantitatively, heterogeneity in price stickiness is the central driver for real effects. Input-output linkages and consumption shares alter the identity of the most important sectors to the transmission. Reducing the number of sectors decreases monetary non-neutrality with a similar impact response of inflation. Hence, the initial response of inflation to monetary shocks is not sufficient to discriminate across models and ignoring heterogeneous consumption shares and input-output linkages identifies the wrong sectors from which the real effects originate.   Read More

  • WP 20-01 | Making Friends Meet: Network Formation with Introductions


    Jan-Peter Siedlarek

    Abstract

    High levels of clustering—the tendency for two nodes in a network to share a neighbor—are ubiquitous in economic and social networks across different applications. In addition, many real-world networks show high payoffs for nodes that connect otherwise separate network regions, representing rewards for filling “structural holes” in the sense of Burt (1992) and keeping distances in networks short. This paper proposes a parsimonious model of network formation with introductions and intermediation rents that can explain both these features. Introductions make it cheaper to create connections that share a common node. They are subject to a tradeoff between gains from shorter connections with lower search cost and losses from lower intermediation rents for the central node. Stable networks are shown to have high levels of clustering at the same time that they permit substantial intermediation rents for nodes bridging structural holes.   Read More

  • WP 19-30 | Minimum Wage Increases and Vacancies


    Marianna Kudlyak Murat Tasci Didem Tüzemen

    Abstract

    We estimate the impact of minimum-wage increases on the quantity of labor demanded as measured by firms’ vacancy postings. We use propriety, county-level vacancy data from the Conference Board’s Help Wanted Online database. Our identification relies on the disproportionate effects of minimum-wage hikes on different occupations, as the wage distribution around the binding minimum wage differs by occupation. We find that minimum-wage increases during the 2005-2018 period have led to substantial declines in vacancy postings in at-risk occupations, occupations with a larger share of employment around the prevailing minimum wage. Our estimate implies that a 10 percent increase in the binding minimum- wage level reduces vacancies by 2.4 percent in this group. The negative effect is concentrated not exclusively in the routine jobs, but more in the manual occupations.   Read More

  • WP 19-29 | Sequential Bayesian Inference for Vector Autoregressions with Stochastic Volatility


    Mark Bognanni John Zito

    Abstract

    We develop a sequential Monte Carlo (SMC) algorithm for Bayesian inference in vector autoregressions with stochastic volatility (VAR-SV). The algorithm builds particle approximations to the sequence of the model’s posteriors, adapting the particles from one approximation to the next as the window of available data expands. The parallelizability of the algorithm’s computations allows the adaptations to occur rapidly. Our particular algorithm exploits the ability to marginalize many parameters from the posterior analytically and embeds a known Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) algorithm for the model as an effective mutation kernel for fighting particle degeneracy. We show that, relative to using MCMC alone, our algorithm increases the precision of inference while reducing computing time by an order of magnitude when estimating a medium-scale VAR-SV model.   Read More

  • WP 19-27 | Job-to-Job Flows and the Consequences of Job Separations


    Bruce Fallick John Haltiwanger Erika McEntarfer Matthew Staiger

    Abstract

    A substantial empirical literature documents large and persistent average earnings losses following job displacement. Our paper extends the literature on displaced workers by providing a comprehensive picture of earnings and employment outcomes for all workers who separate. We show that for workers not recalled to their previous employer, earnings losses follow separations in general, as opposed to displacements in particular. The key predictor of earnings losses is not displacement but the length of the nonemployment spell following job separation. Moreover, displaced workers are no more likely to experience a substantial spell of nonemployment than are other non-recalled separators. Our results suggest that future research on the consequences of job loss should work to disentangle the strong association between nonemployment and earnings losses, as opposed to focusing specifically on displaced workers.   Read More

  • WP 19-28 | The Macroeconomic Effects of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act


    Filippo Occhino

    Abstract

    This paper studies the macroeconomic effects of seven key TCJA provisions, including the tax cuts for individuals and businesses, the bonus depreciation of equipment, the amortization of R&D expenses, and the limits on interest deductibility. I use a dynamic general equilibrium model with interest deductibility and accelerated depreciation. I find that, initially, the tax reform had a small positive impact on output and investment. In the medium term, however, the effect on output will diminish, and the effect on investment will turn negative. The tax reform will depress investment in R&D. Government debt will surge.   Read More

  • WP 12-08R3 | Evidence of Neighborhood Effects from Moving to Opportunity: LATEs of Neighborhood Quality


    Dionissi Aliprantis Francisca Richter

    Original Paper: WP 12-08R2

    Abstract

    This paper estimates neighborhood effects on adult labor market outcomes using the Moving to Opportunity (MTO) housing mobility experiment. We propose and implement a new strategy for identifying transition-specific effects that exploits identification of the unobserved component of a neighborhood choice model. Estimated Local Average Treatment Effects (LATEs) are large, result from moves between the first and second deciles of the national distribution of neighborhood quality, and pertain to a subpopulation of nine percent of program participants.   Read More

  • WP 19-02R2 | Landlords and Access to Opportunity


    Dionissi Aliprantis Hal Martin David Phillips

    Original Paper: WP 19-02R

    Abstract

    Landlords in high-opportunity neighborhoods screen out tenants using vouchers. In our correspondence experiment, signaling voucher status cuts landlord responses in half. This voucher penalty increases with posted rent and varies little with signals of tenant quality and race. We repeat the experiment after a policy change and test how landlords respond to raising voucher payment limits by $450 per month in high-rent neighborhoods. Most landlords do not change their screening behavior; those who do respond are few and operate at small scale. Our results suggest a successful, systematic policy of moving to opportunity would require more direct engagement with landlords.   Read More

  • WP 19-26 | The Optimal Taxation of Business Owners


    Tom Phelan

    Abstract

    Business owners in the United States are disproportionately represented among the very wealthy and are exposed to substantial idiosyncratic risk. Further, recent evidence indicates business income primarily reflects returns to the human (rather than financial) capital of the owner. Motivated by these facts, this paper characterizes the optimal taxation of income and wealth in an environment where business income depends jointly on innate ability, luck, and the accumulated past effort exerted by the owner. I show that in (constrained) efficient allocations, more productive entrepreneurs typically bear more risk and that the associated stationary distributions of income, wealth, and firm size exhibit the thick right (Pareto) tails observed in the data. Finally, when owners may save in a risk-free bond and trade shares of their business, I show that the optimal linear taxes in this environment call for positive taxes on firm profits and risk-free savings, and for a tax/subsidy on wealth that may assume either sign. [Note: The final sentence of the abstract was revised for clarity two days after the paper was initially posted.]   Read More