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2005 Working Papers

  • WP 05-15 | Offer-Price Discount of Bank Seasoned Equity Offers: Do Voluntary and Involuntary Offers Convey Different Information?

    O. Emre Ergungor C.N.V. Krishnan Ajai Singh Allan Zebedee


    Seasoned equity offers made by undercapitalized banks (labeled involuntary offers) could be different from other seasoned equity offers because the issuer is presumably under regulatory duress to make up the shortfall in required capital. For this reason, involuntary offers may exhibit limited managerial opportunism. When a firm issues seasoned equity, investment bankers gather information about the issuer in the period between the registration of the offer and its issue date. The information gathered during the book-building process gets reflected in the offer price discount on the issue date. We find that the offer price discount appears to convey more information to investors on the issue date for the voluntary issuers. However, we find that both types of issues show signs of market timing, and that investors react negatively to both types of issuance announcements. Our results are robust to several checks. Read More

  • WP 05-14 | Swedish Intervention and the Krona Float, 1993-2002

    Owen F. Humpage Javiera Ragnartz


    Using a set of standard success criteria, we show that Riksbank foreign-exchange interventions between 1993 and 2002 lacked forecast value; that is, the observed number of successes was not significantly greater--and usually substantially smaller--than the number one would anticipate given the martingale nature of exchange-rate movements. Under some success criteria, the Riksbank exhibited negative forecast value, implying that the market could have profited by taking a position opposite that of the bank. Moreover, the likelihood of success was independent of such conditioning factors as the amount of a transaction, the time lapses between interventions, or the number of foreign currencies involved. As such, Riksbank intervention could not operate through an expectations or signaling channel. Read More

  • WP 05-13 | General Equilibrium with Nonconvexities, Sunspots, and Money

    Guillaume Rocheteau Peter Rupert Karl Shell Randall Wright


    We study general equilibrium with nonconvexities. In these economies there exist sunspot equilibria without the usual assumptions needed in convex economies, and they have good welfare properties. Moreover, in these equilibria, agents act as if they have quasi-linear utility. Hence wealth effects vanish. We use this to construct a new model of monetary exchange. As in Lagos-Wright, trade occurs in both centralized and decentralized markets, but while that model requires quasilinearity, we have general preferences. Given our specification looks much like the textbook Arrow-Debreu model, we think this constitutes progress on the classic problem of integrating money and general equilibrium theory. We also use the model to discuss another classic issue: the relation between inflation and unemployment. Read More

  • WP 05-12 | On the Recognizability of Money

    Richard Dutu Ed Nosal Guillaume Rocheteau


    This paper develops a model of currency circulation under asymmetric information. Agents are heterogeneous and trade in bilateral matches. Coins are intrinsically valuable and are available in two weights, light and heavy. We characterize the equilibrium under complete information and under imperfect information about the quality of coins. We determine a set of conditions under which the two currencies circulate and are traded according to different terms of trade. We study how output, welfare, and the velocity of currency are affected by the recognizability of coins. We show that society.s welfare increases as coins become more easily recognizable. Read More

  • WP 05-11 | Some Benefits of Cyclical Monetary Policy

    Ricardo Cavalcanti Ed Nosal


    In this paper, we present a simple random-matching model in which different seasons translate into different propensities to consume and produce. We find that the cyclical creation and destruction of money is beneficial for welfare under a wide variety of circumstances. Our model of seasons can be interpreted as providing support for the creation of the Federal Reserve System, with its mandate of supplying an elastic currency for the nation. Read More

  • WP 05-10 | Oil Prices, Monetary Policy, and Counterfactual Experiments

    Charles T. Carlstrom Timothy Fuerst


    Recessions are associated with both rising oil prices and increases in the federal funds rate. Are recessions caused by the spikes in oil prices or by the sharp tightening of monetary policy? This paper discusses the difficulties in disentangling these two effects. Read More

  • WP 05-09 | The Importance of Reallocations in Cyclical Productivity and Returns to Scale: Evidence from Plant-level Data

    Yoonsoo Lee


    Procyclical productivity plays an important role in many models of aggregate fluctuations. However, recent studies using aggregate data to directly measure technology shocks in the Solow residual find that technology shocks are not procyclical. This paper provides new evidence that, due to countercyclical composition changes between producers, the procyclicality of productivity observed in aggregate data may be understated. Using plant-level microdata, this paper finds that the reallocation of output shares across continuing plants, as well as the entry and exit of plants, creates a countercyclical component in aggregate productivity. This paper shows that such composition changes may cause a downward bias in industry-level estimates of returns to scale. The findings of this paper suggest that, without correcting for the countercyclical effects of reallocations, estimates based on aggregate data may not reflect the true cyclicality of technology shocks, which a representative agent faces over the business cycle. Read More

  • WP 05-08 | The Incidence of Nominal and Real Wage Rigidities in Great Britain: 1978-1998

    Richard Barwell Mark E. Schweitzer


    This paper analyzes the extent of rigidities in wage setting in Great Britain over the 1980s and 1990s. Our estimation strategy, which generalizes the work of Altonji and Devereux (2000), models the notional wage growth distribution--the distribution of nominal wage growth that would occur in the absence of rigidities in pay--while allowing for the presence of measurement error in the data. The model then allows for the possibility that the nominal wage growth of a fraction of the workforce may be subject to a nominal or real downward rigidity. Our model suggests that real rigidities in wage setting are more prevalent than nominal rigidities, although the incidence of these real wage rigidities has fallen gradually over time. If firms cannot cut real wages in response to negative demand shocks they may resort to laying off workers. Our results support this microfoundation of the wage-unemployment Phillips curve: Workers who are more likely to be protected from wage cuts are also more likely to lose their jobs. Read More

  • WP 05-07 | Recovering Market Expectations of FOMC Rate Changes with Options on Federal Funds Futures

    John Carlson Ben R. Craig William Melick


    This paper demonstrates how options on federal funds futures, which began trading in March 2003, can be used to recover the implied probability density function (PDF) for future Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) interest rate outcomes. The discrete nature of the choices made by the FOMC allows for a very straightforward recovery of the implied PDF using ordinary least squares (OLS) estimation. This simple recovery method stands in contrast to the relatively complicated PDF recovery techniques developed for options written on assets such as equities, foreign exchange, or commodity futures where the underlying prices are most appropriately modeled as being drawn from continuous distributions. The OLS estimation is used to recover PDFs for single FOMC meetings as well as PDFs for joint estimation of multiple FOMC meetings, and allows for the imposition of restrictions on the recovered probabilities, both within and across FOMC meetings. Finally, recovered probabilities are used to assess the impact of data releases and Fed communication on the perceived likelihood of actual policy outcomes. Read More

  • WP 05-06 | The Eurosystem Money Market Auctions: A Banking Perspective

    Nikolaus Bartzsch Ben R. Craig Falko Fecht


    This paper analyzes the individual bidding behavior of German banks in the money market auctions conducted by the ECB from the beginning of the third quarter of 2000 to the end of the first quarter of 2001. Our approach takes a variety of characteristics of the individual banks into account. In particular, we consider variables that capture the different use of liquidity and the different attitude towards liquidity risk of the individual banks. It turns out that these characteristics are reflected in the banks’ respective bidding behavior to a large extent. Thus our study contributes to a deeper understanding of the way liquidity is managed in the banking sector. Read More

  • WP 05-05 | Theory, Measurement, and Calibration of Macroeconomic Models

    Paul Gomme Peter Rupert


    Calibration has become a standard tool of macroeconomics. This paper extends and refines the calibration methodology along several important dimensions. First, accounting for home production is important both in measuring calibration targets and in organizing the data in a model-consistent fashion. For this reason, thinking about home production is important even if the model under consideration does not include home production. Second, investment-specific technological change is included because of its strong balanced growth parameter restrictions. Third, the measurement strategy is laid out as transparently as possible so that others can easily replicate the underlying calculations. The data and calculations used in this paper are available on the web. Read More

  • WP 05-04 | State-Dependent Pricing, Inflation, and Welfare in Search Economies

    Ben R. Craig Guillaume Rocheteau


    This paper investigates the welfare effects of inflation in economies with search frictions and menu costs. We first analyze an economy where there is no transaction demand for money balances: Money is a mere unit of account. We determine a condition under which price stability is optimal and a condition under which positive inflation is desirable. We relate these conditions to a standard efficiency condition for search economies. Second, we consider a related economy in which there is a transaction role for money. In the absence of menu costs, the Friedman rule is optimal. In the presence of menu costs, the optimal inflation rate is negative for all our numerical examples. A deviation from the Friedman rule can be optimal depending on the extent of the search externalities. Read More

  • WP 05-03 | SBA-Loan Guarantees and Local Economic Growth

    Ben R. Craig William Jackson III James Thomson


    Increasingly policymakers are looking to the small business sector as a potential engine of economic growth. Policies to promote small businesses include tax relief, direct subsidies, and indirect subsidies through government lending programs. Encouraging lending to small business is the primary policy objective of the Small Business Administration (SBA) loan-guarantee program. Using a panel data set of SBA-guaranteed loans we assess whether SBA-guaranteed lending has an observable impact on local and regional economic performance. Read More

  • WP 05-02 | Testing Near-Rationality Using Detailed Survey Data

    Michael Bryan Stefan Palmqvist


    This paper considers the evidence of "near-rationality," as described by Akerlof, Dickens, and Perry (2000). Using detailed surveys of household inflation expectations for the United States and Sweden, we find that the data are generally unsupportive of the near-rationality hypothesis. However, we document that household inflation expectations tend to settle around discrete and largely fixed "focal points," suggesting that both U.S. and Swedish households gauge inflation prospects in rather broad, qualitative terms. Moreover, the combination of a low-inflation environment and an inflation target in Sweden has been accompanied by a disproportionately high proportion of Swedish households expecting no inflation. However, a similar low inflation trend in the United States, which does not have an explicit inflation target, reveals no such rise in the proportion of households expecting no inflation. This observation suggests that the way the central bank communicates its inflation objective may influence inflation expectations independently of the inflation trend it actually pursues. Read More

  • WP 05-01 | Bargaining and the Value of Money

    Guillaume Rocheteau Christopher Waller


    Search models of monetary exchange have typically relied on Nash (1950) bargaining or strategic games that yield an equivalent outcome to determine the terms of trade. By considering alternative axiomatic bargaining solutions in a simple search model with divisible money, we show how this choice matters for important results such as the ability of the optimal monetary policy to generate an efficient allocation. We show that the quantities traded in bilateral matches are always inefficiently low under the Nash (1950) and Kalai-Smorodinsky (1975) solutions, whereas under strongly monotonic solutions such as the egalitarian solution (Luce and Raiffa, 1957; Kalai, 1977), the Friedman Rule achieves the first best allocation. We evaluate quantitatively the welfare cost of inflation under the different bargaining solutions, and we extend the model to allow for endogenous market composition. Read More