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Working Papers 2010: Abstracts

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10-37: Consumption and Time Use over the Life Cycle by Michael Dotsey, Wenli Li, and Fang Yang

The authors incorporate home production in a dynamic general equilibrium model of consumption and saving with illiquid housing and a collateralized borrowing constraint. They show that the model is capable of explaining life-cycle patterns of households' time use and consumption of different categories. Specifically, households' market hours and home hours are fairly stable early in the life cycle. Market hours start to decline sharply at age 50, while home hours begin to increase at age 55. Households' consumption of the market good, home input, and housing services all exhibit hump shapes over the life cycle, with the market good having the most pronounced hump, followed by the home input, and then housing services. A plausibly parameterized version of the authors' model predicts that the interaction of the labor efficiency profile and the availability of home production technology explain households' time use over the life cycle. The resulting income profiles, the endogenous borrowing constraint and the presence of home production account for the initial hump in all three consumption goods. The consumption profiles in the second half of the life cycle are mostly driven by the complementarity of home hours, home input, and housing in home production.
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10-36: Market Run-Ups, Market Freezes, and Leverage by Philip Bond and Yaron Leitner

Superseded by Working Paper 13-14 PDF Icon (517 KB, 52 pages)

10-35/R: Effects of Extended Unemployment Insurance Benefits: Evidence from the Monthly CPS by Shigeru Fujita

This paper attempts to quantify the effects of extended unemployment insurance benefits in recent years. Using the monthly Current Population Survey, the author estimates unemployment-to-employment (UE) hazard function and unemployment-to-inactivity (UN) hazard function for male workers. The estimated hazard functions for the period of 2004-2007, during which no extended benefits were available, exhibit patterns consistent with the expiration of regular benefits at 26 weeks. These patterns largely disappear from the hazard functions for the period of 2009-2010, during which large-scale extended benefits had become available. The author conducts counterfactual experiments in which the estimated hazard functions for 2009-2010 are replaced by the counterfactual hazard functions whose patterns are inferred from those for the 2004-2007 period. The experiments suggest that extended benefits in recent years have raised male workers' unemployment rate by 1.2 percentage points with a 90 percent confidence interval of 0.8 to 1.8 percentage points. The increases in the unemployment rate largely come from the effects on the UE hazard function rather than the UN hazard function.
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10-34/R: An Empirical Analysis of On-the-Job Search and Job-to-Job Transitions by Shigeru Fujita

This paper provides a set of simple stylized facts regarding on-the-job search and job-to-job transitions using the UK Labour Force Survey (LFS). The LFS is unique in that it asks employed workers whether they search on the job and, if so, why. The author finds that workers search on the job for very different reasons, which lead to different outcomes in both mobility and wage growth. A nontrivial fraction of workers engage in on-the-job search due to a fear of losing their job. This group mimics many known features of unemployed workers, such as wage losses upon finding a job. Workers also search on the job because they are unsatisfied with their job. The unsatisfied workers are roughly equally split into “unsatisfied with pay” and “unsatisfied with other aspects.” These two groups differ significantly with respect to their wage outcome upon job-to-job transitions. These findings suggest that it is important to explicitly consider the heterogeneity of OJS for studying the aggregate wage distribution as well as the individual wage evolution.
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10-33: The Agglomeration of R&D Labs by Gerald A. Carlino, Jake Carr, Robert M. Hunt, and Tony E. Smith External Link

Superseded by Working Paper 12-22 PDF Icon (7.12 MB, 45 pages)

10-32: Payday Lending: New Research and the Big Question by John P. Caskey External Link

Payday lending is controversial. In the states that allow it, payday lenders make cash loans that are typically for $500 or less that the borrower must repay or renew on his or her next payday. The finance charge for the loan is usually 15 to 20 percent of the amount advanced, so for a typical two-week loan the annual percentage interest rate is about 400 percent. In this article, the author briefly describes the payday lending business and explains why it presents challenging public policy issues. The heart of this article, however, surveys recent research that attempts to answer what the author calls the "big question," one that is fundamental to the public policy dispute: Do payday lenders, on net, exacerbate or relieve customers' financial difficulties?
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10-31: Insuring Student Loans Against the Risk of College Failure by Satyajit Chatterjee and Felicia Ionescu External Link

Superseded by Working Paper 12-15 PDF Icon (359 KB, 30 pages)

10-30: The Emergence and Future of Central Counterparties by Thorsten V. Koeppl External Link and Cyril Monnet

The authors explain why central counterparties (CCPs) emerged historically. With standardized contracts, it is optimal to insure counterparty risk by clearing those contracts through a CCP that uses novation and mutualization. As netting is not essential for these services, it does not explain why CCPs exist. In over-the-counter markets, as contracts are customized and not fungible, a CCP cannot fully guarantee contract performance. Still, a CCP can help: As bargaining leads to an inefficient allocation of default risk relative to the gains from customization, a transfer scheme is needed. A CCP can implement it by offering partial insurance for customized contracts.
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10-29: Comment on Cavalcanti and Nosal’s "Counterfeiting as Private Money in Mechanism Design" by Cyril Monnet

In this comment, the author extends Cavalcanti and Nosal's (2010) framework to include the case of perfectly divisible money and unrestricted money holdings. He shows that when trade takes place in Walrasian markets, counterfeits circulate and the Friedman rule is still optimal.
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10-28/R: Inducing Agents to Report Hidden Trades: A Theory of an Intermediary by Yaron Leitner

When contracts are unobserved (and nonexclusive), agents can promise the same asset to multiple counterparties and subsequently default. The author shows that a central mechanism can extract all relevant information about contracts that agents enter by inducing them to report one another. The mechanism sets position limits and reveals the names of agents who hit the limits according to (voluntary) reports from their counterparties. This holds even if sending reports is costly and agents can collude. In some cases, an agent's position limit must be nonbinding in equilibrium. The mechanism has some features of a clearinghouse.
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10-27: Portage: Path Dependence and Increasing Returns in U.S. History by Hoyt Bleakley and Jeffrey Lin

Superseded by Working Paper 11-38 PDF Icon (14.8 MB, 64 pages)

10-26: Corporate Governance Structure and Mergers by Elijah Brewer III External Link, William E. Jackson III, and Julapa Jagtiani

Few transactions have the potential to generate revelations about the market value of corporate assets and liabilities as mergers and acquisitions (M&A). Corporate governance and control mechanisms such as independent directors, independent blockholders, and managerial share ownership are usually important predictors of the size and distribution of the incremental wealth generated by M&A transactions. The authors add to this literature by investigating these relationships using a sample of banking organization M&A transactions over the period 1990-2004. Unlike research on nonfinancial firms, the impact of independent directors, share ownership of the top five managers, and independent block holders on bank merger purchase premiums in this environment is likely to be measured more consistently because of industry operating standards and regulations. It is also the case that research on banks in this area has not received adequate attention. The authors model controls for risk characteristics of the target banks, the deal characteristics, and the economic environment. Their results are robust. They support the hypothesis that independent directors may provide an important internal governance mechanism for protecting shareholders' interests, especially in large-scale transactions such as mergers and takeovers. The authors also find the results to be consistent with the hypothesis that independent blockholders play an important role in the market for corporate control as does managerial share ownership. But these effects dampen the impact of independent directors on target shareholders' merger prices. Their overall findings would support policies that promote independent outside directors on the board of banking firms in order to provide protection for shareholders and investors at large.
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10-25: How Committed Are Bank Lines of Credit? Experiences in the Subprime Mortgage Crisis by Rocco Huang

Using the subprime mortgage crisis as a shock, this paper shows that commercial borrowers served by more distressed banks (as measured by recent bank stock returns or the nonperforming loan ratio) took down fewer funds from precommitted, formal lines of credit. The credit constraints affected mainly smaller, riskier (by internal loan ratings), and shorter-relationship borrowers, and depended also on the lenders' size, liquidity condition, capitalization position, and core deposit funding. The evidence suggests that credit lines provided only contingent and partial insurance during the crisis since bank conditions appeared to influence credit line utilization in the short term. It provides a new explanation as to why credit lines are not perfect substitutes for cash holdings for some (e.g., small) firms. Finally, loan level analyses show that more distressed banks charged higher credit spreads on newly negotiated loans but not on funds disbursed from precommitted, formal credit lines. The author's analyses are based on commercial loan flow data from the confidential Survey of Terms of Business Lending (STBL).
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10-24: Business Cycles in the Equilibrium Model of Labor Market Search and Self-Insurance by Makoto Nakajima

The author introduces risk-averse preferences, labor-leisure choice, capital, individual productivity shocks, and market incompleteness to the standard Mortensen-Pissarides model of search and matching and explore the model's cyclical properties. There are four main findings. First and foremost, the baseline model can generate the observed large volatility of unemployment and vacancies with a realistic replacement ratio of the unemployment insurance benefits of 64 percent. Second, labor-leisure choice plays a crucial role in generating the large volatilities; additional utility from leisure when unemployed makes the value of unemployment close to the value of employment, which is crucial in generating a strong amplification, even with the moderate replacement ratio. Besides, it contributes to the amplification through an adjustment in the intensive margin of labor supply. Third, the borrowing constraint or uninsured individual productivity shocks do not significantly affect the cyclical properties of unemployment and vacancies: Most workers are well insured only with self-insurance. Fourth, the model better replicates the business cycle properties of the U.S. economy, thanks to the co-existence of adjustments in the intensive and extensive margins of labor supply and the stronger amplification.
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10-23: Pairwise Credit and the Initial Cost of Lending by Daniel R. Sanches

Superseded by Working Paper 11-2 PDF Icon (316 KB, 43 pages)

10-22/R: Durable Financial Regulation: Monitoring Financial Instruments as a Counterpart to Regulating Financial Institutions by Leonard I. Nakamura

Superseded by Working Paper 13-2 PDF Icon (225 KB, 23 pages)

10-21: Credit Ratings and Bank Monitoring Ability by Leonard I. Nakamura and Kasper Roszbach

Superseded by Working Paper 13-21 PDF Icon (635 MB, 60 pages)

10-20: Sustainable Monetary Policy and Inflation Expectations by Roc Armenter

The author shows that the short-term nominal interest rate can anchor private-sector expectations into low inflation more precisely, into the best equilibrium reputation can sustain. He introduces nominal asset markets in an infinite horizon version of the Barro-Gordon model. The author then analyzes the subset of sustainable policies compatible with any given asset price system at date t = 0. While there are usually many sustainable inflation paths associated with a given set of asset prices, the best sustainable inflation path is implemented if and only if the short-term nominal bond is priced at a certain discount rate. His results suggest that policy frameworks must also be evaluated on their ability to coordinate expectations.
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10-19: Evaluating Real-Time VAR Forecasts with an Informative Democratic Prior by Jonathan H. Wright External Link

This paper proposes Bayesian forecasting in a vector autoregression using a democratic prior. This prior is chosen to match the predictions of survey respondents. In particular, the unconditional mean for each series in the vector autoregression is centered around long-horizon survey forecasts. Heavy shrinkage toward the democratic prior is found to give good real-time predictions of a range of macroeconomic variables, as these survey projections are good at quickly capturing endpoint-shifts.
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10-18: The Great Trade Collapse of 2008-09: An Inventory Adjustment? by George Alessandria, Joseph P. Kaboski, and Virgiliu Midrigan

This paper examines the role of inventories in the decline of production, trade, and expenditures in the U.S. in the economic crisis of late 2008 and 2009. Empirically, the authors show that international trade declined more drastically than trade-weighted production or absorption and there was a sizeable inventory adjustment. This is most clearly evident for autos, the industry with the largest drop in trade. However, relative to the magnitude of the U.S. downturn, these movements in trade are quite typical. The authors develop a two-country general equilibrium model with endogenous inventory holdings in response to frictions in domestic and foreign transactions costs. With more severe frictions on international transactions, in a downturn, the calibrated model shows a larger decline in output and an even larger decline in international trade, relative to a more standard model without inventories. The magnitudes of production, trade, and inventory responses are quantitatively similar to those observed in the current and previous U.S. recessions.
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10-17: Can Banks Circumvent Minimum Capital Requirements? The Case of Mortgage Portfolios under Basel II by Christopher Henderson and Julapa Jagtiani

The recent mortgage crisis has resulted in several bank failures as the number of mortgage defaults increased. The current Basel I capital framework does not require banks to hold sufficient amounts of capital to support their mortgage lending activities. The new Basel II capital rules are intended to correct this problem. However, Basel II models could become too complex and too costly to implement, often resulting in a trade-off between complexity and model accuracy. In addition, the variation of the model, particularly how mortgage portfolios are segmented, could have a significant impact on the default and loss estimated and, thus, could affect the amount of capital that banks are required to hold. This paper finds that the calculated Basel II capital varies considerably across the default prediction model and segmentation schemes, thus providing banks with an incentive to choose an approach that results in the least required capital for them. The authors also find that a more granular segmentation model produces smaller required capital, regardless of the economic environment. In addition, while borrowers' credit risk factors are consistently superior, economic factors have also played a role in mortgage default during the financial crisis.
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10-16: Did Bankruptcy Reform Cause Mortgage Default Rates to Rise? by Wenli Li, Michelle J. White, and Ning Zhu

This paper argues that the U.S. bankruptcy reform of 2005 played an important role in the mortgage crisis and the current recession. When debtors file for bankruptcy, credit card debt and other types of debt are discharged — thus loosening debtors' budget constraints. Homeowners in financial distress can therefore use bankruptcy to avoid losing their homes, since filing allows them to shift funds from paying other debts to paying their mortgages. But a major reform of U.S. bankruptcy law in 2005 raised the cost of filing and reduced the amount of debt that is discharged. The authors argue that an unintended consequence of the reform was to cause mortgage default rates to rise. Using a large dataset of individual mortgages, they estimate a hazard model to test whether the 2005 bankruptcy reform caused mortgage default rates to rise. Their major result is that prime and subprime mortgage default rates rose by 14 percent and 16 percent, respectively, after bankruptcy reform. The authors also use difference-in-difference to examine the effects of three provisions of bankruptcy reform that particularly harmed homeowners with high incomes and/or high assets and find that the default rates of affected homeowners rose even more. Overall, they calculate that bankruptcy reform caused the number of mortgage defaults to increase by around 200,000 per year even before the start of the financial crisis, suggesting that the reform increased the severity of the crisis when it came.
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10-15: Reading the Recent Monetary History of the U.S., 1959-2007 by Jesus Fernandez-Villaverde, Pablo Guerron-Quintana, and Juan F. Rubio-Ramirez

The authors report the results of the estimation of a rich dynamic stochastic general equilibrium model of the U.S. economy with both stochastic volatility and parameter drifting in the Taylor rule. They use the results of this estimation to examine the recent monetary history of the U.S. and to interpret, through this lens, the sources of the rise and fall of the great American inflation from the late 1960s to the early 1980s and of the great moderation of business cycle fluctuations between 1984 and 2007. PDF Icon (429 KB, 41 pages)

10-14: Fortune or Virtue: Time-Variant Volatilities Versus Parameter Drifting by Jesus Fernandez-Villaverde, Pablo Guerron-Quintana, and Juan F. Rubio-Ramirez

This paper compares the role of stochastic volatility versus changes in monetary policy rules in accounting for the time-varying volatility of U.S. aggregate data. Of special interest to the authors is understanding the sources of the great moderation of business cycle fluctuations that the U.S. economy experienced between 1984 and 2007. To explore this issue, the authors build a medium-scale dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) model with both stochastic volatility and parameter drifting in the Taylor rule and they estimate it non-linearly using U.S. data and Bayesian methods. Methodologically, the authors show how to confront such a rich model with the data by exploiting the structure of the high-order approximation to the decision rules that characterize the equilibrium of the economy. Their main empirical findings are: 1) even after controlling for stochastic volatility (and there is a fair amount of it), there is overwhelming evidence of changes in monetary policy during the analyzed period; 2) however, these changes in monetary policy mattered little for the great moderation; 3) most of the great performance of the U.S. economy during the 1990s was a result of good shocks; and 4) the response of monetary policy to inflation under Burns, Miller, and Greenspan was similar, while it was much higher under Volcker. PDF Icon (673 KB, 73 pages)

10-13: What "Triggers" Mortgage Default? by Ronel Elul, Nicholas S. Souleles, Souphala Chomsisengphet, Dennis Glennon, and Robert Hunt

This paper assesses the relative importance of two key drivers of mortgage default: negative equity and illiquidity. To do so, the authors combine loan-level mortgage data with detailed credit bureau information about the borrower's broader balance sheet. This gives them a direct way to measure illiquid borrowers: those with high credit card utilization rates. The authors find that both negative equity and illiquidity are significantly associated with mortgage default, with comparably sized marginal effects. Moreover, these two factors interact with each other: The effect of illiquidity on default generally increases with high combined loan-to-value ratios (CLTV), though it is significant even for low CLTV. County-level unemployment shocks are also associated with higher default risk (though less so than high utilization) and strongly interact with CLTV. In addition, having a second mortgage implies significantly higher default risk, particularly for borrowers who have a first-mortgage LTV approaching 100 percent. PDF Icon (114 KB, 15 pages)

10-12: Maturity, Indebtedness, and Default Risk by Satyajit Chatterjee and Burcu Eyigungor

Superseded by Working Paper 11-33 PDF Icon (532 KB, 67 pages)

10-11: Optimal Capital Income Taxation with Housing by Makoto Nakajima

This paper quantitatively investigates the optimal capital income taxation in the general equilibrium overlapping generations model, which incorporates characteristics of housing and the U.S. preferential tax treatment for owner-occupied housing. Housing tax policy is found to have a substantial effect on how capital income should be taxed. Given the U.S. preferential tax treatment for owner-occupied housing, the optimal capital income tax rate is close to zero, contrary to the high optimal capital income tax rate implied by models without housing. A lower capital income tax rate implies a narrowed tax wedge between housing and non-housing capital, which indirectly nullifies the subsidies (taxes) for homeowners (renters) and corrects the over-investment to housing.
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10-10: Do Falling Iceberg Costs Explain Recent U.S. Export Growth? by George Alessandria and Horag Choi External Link

Superseded by Working Paper 12-20 PDF Icon (414 KB, 60 pages)

10-9: A Revenue-Based Frontier Measure of Banking Competition by Santiago Carbo, David Humphrey, and Francisco Rodriguez

Measuring banking competition using the HHI, Lerner index, or H-statistic can give conflicting results. Borrowing from frontier analysis, the authors provide an alternative approach and apply it to Spain over 1992-2005. Controlling for differences in asset composition, productivity, scale economies, risk, and business cycle influences, they find no differences in competition between commercial and savings banks nor between large and small institutions, but the authors conclude that competition weakened after 2000. This appears related to strong loan demand where real loan-deposit rate spreads rose and fees were stable for activities where scale economies should have been realized.
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10-8: "Cream-Skimming" in Subprime Mortgage Securitizations: Which Subprime Mortgage Loans Were Sold by Depository Institutions Prior to the Crisis of 2007? by Paul Calem, Christopher Henderson, and Jonathan Liles

Depository institutions may use information advantages along dimensions not observed or considered by outside parties to "cream-skim," meaning to transfer risk to naïve, uninformed, or unconcerned investors through the sale or securitization process. This paper examines whether "cream-skimming" behavior was common practice in the subprime mortgage securitization market prior to its collapse in 2007. Using Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data merged with data on subprime loan delinquency by ZIP code, the authors examine the bank decision to sell (securitize) subprime mortgages originated in 2005 and 2006. They find that the likelihood of sale increases with risk along dimensions observable to banks but not likely observed or considered by investors. Thus, in the context of the subprime lending boom, the evidence supports the cream-skimming view. PDF Icon (531 KB, 51 pages)

10-7: Fraud Deterrence in Dynamic Mirrleesian Economies by Roc Armenter and Thomas M. Mertens

Social and private insurance schemes rely on legal action to deter fraud and tax evasion. This observation guides the authors to introduce a random state verification technology in a dynamic economy with private information. With some probability, an agent's skill level becomes known to the planner, who prescribes a punishment if the agent is caught misreporting. The authors show how deferring consumption can ease the provision of incentives. As a result, the marginal benefit may be below the marginal cost of investment in the constrained-efficient allocation, suggesting a subsidy on savings. They characterize conditions such that the intertemporal wedge is negative in finite horizon economies. In an infinite horizon economy, the authors find that the constrained-efficient allocation converges to a high level of consumption, full insurance, and no labor distortions for any probability of state verification. PDF Icon (328 KB, 43 pages)

10-6: Expectations and Economic Fluctuations: An Analysis Using Survey Data by Sylvain Leduc and Keith Sill

Using survey-based measures of future U.S. economic activity from the Livingston Survey and the Survey of Professional Forecasters, the authors study how changes in expectations, and their interaction with monetary policy, contribute to fluctuations in macroeconomic aggregates. They find that changes in expected future economic activity are a quantitatively important driver of economic fluctuations: a perception that good times are ahead typically leads to a significant rise in current measures of economic activity and inflation. The authors also find that the short-term interest rate rises in response to expectations of good times as monetary policy tightens. Their results provide quantitative evidence on the importance of expectations-driven business cycles and on the role that monetary policy plays in shaping them. PDF Icon (554 KB, 39 pages)

10-5: Real-Time Macroeconomic Monitoring: Real Activity, Inflation, and Interactions by S. Bora─čan Aruoba and Francis X. Diebold

The authors sketch a framework for monitoring macroeconomic activity in real-time and push it in new directions. In particular, they focus not only on real activity, which has received most attention to date, but also on inflation and its interaction with real activity. As for the recent recession, the authors find that (1) it likely ended around July 2009; (2) its most extreme aspects concern a real activity decline that was unusually long but less unusually deep, and an inflation decline that was unusually deep but brief; and (3) its real activity and inflation interactions were strongly positive, consistent with an adverse demand shock. PDF Icon (229 KB, 17 pages)

10-4: Common Factors in Small Open Economies: Inference and Consequences by Pablo A. Guerron-Quintana

Superseded by Working Paper 12-3 PDF Icon (494 KB, 46 pages)

10-3: Revisiting the Role of Home Production in Life-Cycle Labor Supply by R. Jason Faberman

This paper revisits the argument, posed by Rupert, Rogerson, and Wright (2000), that estimates of the intertemporal elasticity of labor supply that do not account for home production are biased downward. The author uses the American Time Use Survey, a richer and more comprehensive data source than those used previously, to replicate their analysis, but he also explores how other factors interact with household and market work hours to affect the elasticity of labor supply. An exact replication of their analysis yields an elasticity of about 0.4, somewhat larger than previously estimated. Once the author accounts for demographics and household characteristics, particularly the number of children in the household, the estimate is essentially zero. This is true even when accommodating extensive-margin labor adjustments. Households' biological inability to smooth childbearing over the life cycle and the resulting income effect on market work hours drive this result. PDF Icon (317 KB, 32 pages)

10-2: The Implications of Inflation in an Estimated New-Keynesian Model by Pablo A. Guerron-Quintana

This paper studies the steady state and dynamic consequences of inflation in an estimated dynamic stochastic general equilibrium model of the U.S. economy. It is found that 10 percentage points of inflation entails a steady state welfare cost as high as 13 percent of annual consumption. This large cost is mainly driven by staggered price contracts and price indexation. The transition from high to low inflation inflicts a welfare loss equivalent to 0.53 percent. The role of nominal/real frictions as well as that of parameter uncertainty is also addressed. PDF Icon (317 KB, 32 pages)

10-1: Insuring College Failure Risk by Satyajit Chatterjee and Felicia Ionescu

Superseded by Working Paper 10-31 PDF Icon (396 KB, 44 pages)