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Working Papers 2017: Abstracts

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17-44/R: The Paper Trail of Knowledge Spillovers: Evidence from Patent Interferences by Ina Ganguli, Jeffrey Lin, and Nicholas Reynolds

We show evidence of localized knowledge spillovers using a new database of U.S. patent interferences terminated between 1998 and 2014. Interferences resulted when two or more independent parties submitted identical claims of invention nearly simultaneously. Following the idea that inventors of identical inventions share common knowledge inputs, interferences provide a new method for measuring knowledge spillovers. Interfering inventors are 1.4 to 4 times more likely to live in the same local area than matched control pairs of inventors. They are also more geographically concentrated than citation-linked inventors. Our results emphasize geographic distance as a barrier to tacit knowledge flows.
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17-43: Incumbency Disadvantage in U.S. National Politics: The Role of Policy Inertia and Prospective Voting by Satyajit Chatterjee and Burcu Eyigungor

Superseded by Working Paper 19-40.
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17-42: The Trade-Comovement Puzzle by Lukasz A. Drozd, Sergey Kolbin and Jaromir B. Nosal

Superseded by Working Paper 20-01.
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17-41: Model Secrecy and Stress Tests by Yaron Leitner and Basil Williams

Conventional wisdom holds that the models used to stress test banks should be kept secret to prevent gaming. The authors show instead that secrecy can be suboptimal, because although it deters gaming, it may also deter socially desirable investment. When the regulator can choose the minimum standard for passing the test, the authors show that secrecy is suboptimal if the regulator is sufficiently uncertain regarding bank characteristics. When failing the bank is socially costly, then under some conditions, secrecy is suboptimal when the bank's private cost of failure is either sufficiently high or sufficiently low.
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17-40: The Aggregate Effects of Labor Market Frictions by Michael W. L. Elsby, Ryan Michaels, and David Ratner

Labor market frictions are able to induce sluggish aggregate employment dynamics. However, these frictions have strong implications for the source of this propagation: They distort the path of aggregate employment by impeding the flow of labor across firms. For a canonical class of frictions, the authors show how observable measures of such flows can be used to assess the effect of frictions on aggregate employment dynamics. Application of this approach to establishment microdata for the United States reveals that the empirical flow of labor across firms deviates markedly from the predictions of canonical labor market frictions. Despite their ability to induce persistence in aggregate employment, firm-size flows in these models are predicted to respond aggressively to aggregate shocks but react sluggishly in the data. This paper therefore concludes that the propagation mechanism embodied in standard models of labor market frictions fails to account for the sources of observed employment dynamics.
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17-39: Stuck in Subprime? Examining the Barriers to Refinancing Mortgage Debt by Lauren Lambie-Hanson and Carolina Reid

Despite falling interest rates and major federal policy intervention, many borrowers who could financially gain from refinancing have not done so. The authors investigate the rates at which, relative to prime borrowers, subprime borrowers seek and take out refinance loans, conditional on not experiencing mortgage default. They find that starting in 2009, subprime borrowers are about half as likely as prime borrowers to refinance, although they still shop for mortgage credit, indicating their interest in refinancing. The disparity in refinancing is driven in part by the tightened credit environment post-financial crisis, along with the fact that many subprime borrowers are ineligible for the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), which is the major policy initiative designed to assist borrowers in refinancing their mortgages. The authors argue that these barriers to refinancing for subprime borrowers have long-term implications for social stratification and wealth building. These concerns are exacerbated by an additional finding of our work that refinance rates have been significantly lower for black and Hispanic borrowers, even after controlling for borrower credit status.
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17-38: Strategic Default Among Private Student Loan Debtors: Evidence from Bankruptcy Reform by Rajeev Darolia and Dubravka Ritter

Bankruptcy reform in 2005 restricted debtors’ ability to discharge private student loan debt. The reform was motivated by the perceived incentive of some borrowers to file bankruptcy under Chapter 7 even if they had, or expected to have, sufficient income to service their debt. Using a national sample of credit bureau files, the authors examine whether private student loan borrowers distinctly adjusted their Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing behavior in response to the reform. The authors do not find evidence to indicate that the moral hazard associated with dischargeability appreciably affected the behavior of private student loan debtors prior to the policy.
Supersedes Working Paper 15-17/R.
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17-37: Measuring the “Free” Digital Economy Within the GDP and Productivity Accounts by Leonard Nakamura, Jon Samuels, and Rachel Soloveichik

The authors develop an experimental methodology that values ”free” digital content through the lens of a production account and is consistent with the framework of the national accounts. The authors build upon the work in Nakamura, et al. (2016) by combining marketing- and advertising-supported content and find that the impact of ”free” digital content on U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) has accelerated in recent years, particularly since 2005. However, the explosion in ”free” digital content is partially offset by a decrease in ”free” print content like newspapers. Including these, real GDP growth would grow at 1.53 percent a year from 2005 to 2015 rather than the official growth rate of 1.42 percent, a tenth of a percent faster. Thus, there is a substantive impact on 2005 to 2015 real growth, even when we do not measure the full consumer surplus benefits of free goods. In addition, from 1995 to 2005, real GDP growth, including ”free” content, would grow 0.07 percentage point faster, and in the earlier period, from 1929 to 1995, 0.01 percentage point faster. The authors further find that the personal consumption expenditures (PCE) and core PCE deflators would have risen about 0.1 percentage point more slowly from 2005 to 2015. To analyze the impact of ”free” content on measured private business total factor productivity (TFP) growth, the authors account for inputs of ”free” content used in production. They find that TFP would grow faster by 0.07 percentage point per year from 2005 to 2014 and faster by 0.07 percentage point from 1995 to 2005.
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17-36: First-Time Homebuyers: Toward a New Measure by Arthur Acolin, Paul Calem, Julapa Jagtiani, and Susan Wachter 

Existing data sources show divergent estimates of the number of homes purchased by first-time homebuyers as a share of all home purchases. In this paper, the authors use a new data set to construct a time series of the share of first-time homebuyers. This series, based on the Federal Reserve Bank of New York Equifax Consumer Credit Panel (CCP), shows a significant decline in this share, particularly for young households, which is consistent with the decline in homeownership in this age cohort since the early 2000s.
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17-35: Screening and Adverse Selection in Frictional Markets by Benjamin Lester, Ali Shourideh, Venky Venkateswaran, and Ariel Zetlin-Jones

The authors incorporate a search-theoretic model of imperfect competition into a standard model of asymmetric information with unrestricted contracts. They characterize the unique equilibrium, and use their characterization to explore the interaction between adverse selection, screening, and imperfect competition. The authors show that the relationship between an agent’s type, the quantity he trades, and the price he pays is jointly determined by the severity of adverse selection and the concentration of market power. Therefore, quantifying the effects of adverse selection requires controlling for market structure. The authors also show that increasing competition and reducing informational asymmetries can decrease welfare.
Supersedes Working Paper 16-10.
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17-34: Spatial Commitment Devices and Addictive Goods: Evidence from the Removal of Slot Machines from Bars by Vyacheslav Mikhed, Barry Scholnick, and Hyungsuk Byun

Commitment device theory suggests that temptations to consume addictive goods could be reduced by the regulatory removal of geographically close environmental cues. The authors provide new evidence on this hypothesis using a quasi-natural experiment, in which gambling regulators removed slot machines from some, but not all, neighborhood bars. The authors find that the removal of slot machines reduced personal bankruptcies of close neighbors (within 100 meters) but not neighbors slightly farther away. This is consistent with the removal of neighborhood slots serving as an effective spatial commitment device, which reduced close neighbors' temptation to gamble, thus allowing them to avoid bankruptcy.
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17-33/R: Land-Use Regulations, Property Values, and Rents: Decomposing the Effects of the California Coastal Act by Christopher Severen and Andrew J. Plantinga

Land-use regulations can lower real estate prices by imposing costs on property owners, but may raise prices by restricting supply and generating amenities. We study the effects of the California Coastal Act, one of the nation’s most stringent land-use regulations, on the price and rental income of multifamily housing. The Coastal Act applies to a narrow section of the California coast, allowing us to compare properties on either side of the jurisdictional boundary. The Coastal Act offers several advantages for measuring the effects of land-use regulations, including plausible exogeneity of the boundary location, which we confirm using historical data on boundary placement, and orthogonality of the boundary to other jurisdictional divisions. Extending previous studies, we decompose the effects of the regulation into a local effect, the net price effect of restrictions on the subject property and its immediate neighbors, and an external effect, the value of amenities generated by restrictions on all properties within the regulated area. Data on rental income are used to isolate the effect of restrictions on adjacent properties (the neighbor effect). Our analysis of multifamily housing prices reveals local and external effects of approximately +6% and +13%, respectively. The rent analysis indicates a zero neighbor effect. Together with the positive local effect on price, this suggests that the protections the Coastal Act affords property owners from undesirable development on adjacent properties have not yet resulted in material differences, but are expected to in the future. This interpretation is supported by additional evidence on building ages and assessed building and land values, and emphasizes important dynamic effects of land-use regulation.
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17-32: Localized Knowledge Spillovers: Evidence from the Spatial Clustering of R&D Labs and Patent Citations by Kristy Buzard, Gerald A. Carlino, Robert M. Hunt, Jake K. Carr, and Tony E. Smith

Superseded by Working Paper 19-42.
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17-31/R: The Role of Startups for Local Labor Markets by Gerald Carlino and Thorsten Drautzburg

There are substantial differences in startup activity across U.S. local labor markets. We study the causes and consequences of these differences. Startup productivity shocks are found to drive much of these cross-city differences in startup activity: They explain half of the forecast error variance of startup job creation, accounting for 40% of population growth and long-run changes in employment. Shocks to barriers to firm entry have economy-wide effects similar to those of startup productivity shocks but operate largely through the number of startups, rather than their size. We use a novel spatial panel VAR, identifying shocks using shift-share external instruments.
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17-30: Do Non-Compete Covenants Influence State Startup Activity? Evidence from the Michigan Experiment by Gerald A. Carlino

This paper examines how the enforceability of employee non-compete agreements affects the entry of new establishments and jobs created by these new firms. The author uses a panel of startup activity for the U.S. states for the period 1977 to 2013. He exploits Michigan’s inadvertent policy reversal in 1985 that transformed the state from a non-enforcing to an enforcing state as a quasi-natural experiment to estimate the causal effect of enforcement on startup activity. His findings offer little support for the widely held view that enforcement of non-compete agreements negatively affects the entry rate of new firms or the rate of jobs created by new firms. In a difference-in-difference analysis, the author finds that a 10 percent increase in enforcement led to an increase of about 1 percent to about 3 percent in the startup job creation rate in Michigan and, in general, to essentially no change in the startup entry rate. Extending his analysis to consider the effect of increased enforcement on patent activity, the author finds that enforcement had differential effects across technological classifications. Importantly, increased enforcement had a positive and significant effect on the number of quality-adjusted mechanical patents in Michigan, the most important patenting classification in that state.
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17-29: Recall and Unemployment by Shigeru Fujita and Giuseppe Moscarini

The authors document in the Survey of Income and Program Participation covering 1990-2013 that a surprisingly large share of workers return to their previous employer after a jobless spell and experience very different unemployment and employment outcomes than job switchers. The probability of recall is much less procyclical and volatile than the probability of finding a new employer. The authors add to a quantitative, and otherwise canonical, search-and-matching model of the labor market a recall option, which can be activated freely following aggregate and job-specific productivity shocks. Recall and search effort significantly amplify the cyclical volatility of new job-finding and separation probabilities.
Supersedes Working Paper 14-3/R.
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17-28/R: Stress Tests and Information Disclosure by Itay Goldstein and Yaron Leitner

We study an optimal disclosure policy of a regulator that has information about banks (e.g., from conducting stress tests). In our model, disclosure can destroy risk-sharing opportunities for banks (the Hirshleifer effect). Yet, in some cases, some level of disclosure is necessary for risk sharing to occur. We provide conditions under which optimal disclosure takes a simple form (e.g., full disclosure, no disclosure, or a cutoff rule). We also show that, in some cases, optimal disclosure takes a more complicated form (e.g., multiple cutoffs or nonmonotone rules), which we characterize. We relate our results to the Bayesian persuasion literature.
Supersedes Working Paper 15-10/R.
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17-27: Credit Enforcement Cycles by Lukasz A. Drozd and Ricardo Serrano-Padial

Empirical evidence suggests that widespread financial distress, by disrupting enforcement of credit contracts, can be self-propagatory and adversely affect the supply of credit. The authors propose a unifying theory that models the interplay between enforcement, borrower default decisions, and the provision of credit. The central tenets of their framework are the presence of capacity constrained enforcement and borrower heterogeneity. The authors show that, despite heterogeneity, borrowers tend to coordinate their default choices, leading to fragility and to credit rationing. Their model provides a rationale for the comovement of enforcement, default rates and credit seen in the data.
Supersedes Working Paper 16-1.
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17-26: Do Phillips Curves Conditionally Help to Forecast Inflation? by Michael Dotsey, Shigeru Fujita, and Tom Stark

This paper reexamines the forecasting ability of Phillips curves from both an unconditional and conditional perspective by applying the method developed by Giacomini and White (2006). The authors find that forecasts from their Phillips curve models tend to be unconditionally inferior to those from their univariate forecasting models. Significantly, the authors also find conditional inferiority, with some exceptions. When the authors do find improvement, it is asymmetric — Phillips curve forecasts tend to be more accurate when the economy is weak and less accurate when the economy is strong. Any improvement they find, however, vanished over the post-1984 period.
Supersedes Working Paper 15-16.
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17-25: Bargaining Shocks and Aggregate Fluctuations by Thorsten Drautzburg, Jesus Fernandez-Villaverde, and Pablo Guerron-Quintana

Superseded by Working Paper 20-11.
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17-24/R: Accounting for Growth in the Age of the Internet: The Importance of Output-Saving Technical Change by Charles Hulten and Leonard Nakamura

We extend the conventional neoclassical production and growth framework, with its emphasis on total factor productivity as the primary macroeconomic mechanism of innovation, to allow for technical change that affects consumer welfare directly. Our model is based on Lancaster’s “New Approach to Consumer Theory,” in which there is a separate consumption technology that transforms goods, measured at production cost, into utility. This technology can shift over time, allowing consumers to make more efficient use of each dollar of income. This is an output-saving technical change, in contrast to the resource-saving technical change of the TFP residual. The output-saving formulation is a natural way to think about the free information goods available over the Internet, which bypass GDP and go directly to the consumer. It also leads to the concept of expanded GDP (EGDP), the sum of conventional supply-side GDP and a willingness-to-pay metric of the value of output-saving innovation to consumers. This alternative concept of GDP is linked to output-saving technical change and incorporates the value of those technology goods that have eluded the traditional concept. It thus provides a potentially more accurate representation of the economic progress occurring during the digital revolution. One implication of our model is that living standards, as measured by EGDP, can rise at a faster rate than real GDP growth, which may shed light on the question of how the latter can decline in an era of rapid innovation.
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17-23: Appraising Home Purchase Appraisals by Paul S. Calem, Lauren Lambie-Hanson, and Leonard I. Nakamura

Superseded by Working Paper 18-28.
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17-22: Concentration of Control Rights in Leveraged Loan Syndicates by Mitchell Berlin, Greg Nini, and Edison G. Yu

Superseded by Working Paper 19-41.
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17-21: Household Credit and Local Economic Uncertainty by Marco Di Maggio, Amir Kermani, Rodney Ramcharan, and Edison Yu

This paper investigates the impact of uncertainty on consumer credit outcomes. The authors develop a local measure of economic uncertainty capturing county-level labor market shocks. They then exploit microeconomic data on mortgages and credit-card balances together with the cross-sectional variation provided by their uncertainty measure to show strong borrower-specific heterogeneity in response to changes in uncertainty. Among high risk borrowers or areas with more high risk borrowers, increased uncertainty is associated with housing market illiquidity and a reduction in leverage. For low risk borrowers, these effects are absent and the cost of mortgage credit declines, suggesting that lenders reallocate credit towards safer borrowers when uncertainty spikes. A similar pattern is observed in the unsecured credit market. Taken together, local uncertainty might independently affect aggregate economic activity through consumer credit markets and could engender greater inequality in consumption and housing wealth accumulation across households.
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17-20: Banking Panics and Output Dynamics by Daniel Sanches

This paper develops a dynamic general equilibrium model with an essential role for an illiquid banking system to investigate output dynamics in the event of a banking crisis. In particular, it considers the ex-post efficient policy response to a banking crisis as part of the dynamic equilibrium analysis. It is shown that the trajectory of real output following a panic episode crucially depends on the cost of converting long-term assets into liquid funds. For small values of the liquidation cost, the recession associated with a banking panic is protracted as a result of the premature liquidation of a large fraction of productive banking assets to respond to a panic. For intermediate values, the recession is more severe but short-lived. For relatively large values, the contemporaneous decline in real output in the event of a panic is substantial but followed by a vigorous rebound in real activity above the long-run level.
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17-19: Not in My Backyard? Not So Fast. The Effect of Marijuana Legalization on Neighborhood Crime by Jeffrey Brinkman and David Mok-Lamme

This paper studies the effects of marijuana legalization on neighborhood crime using unique geospatial data from Denver, Colorado. We construct a highly local panel data set that includes changes in the location of marijuana dispensaries and changes in neighborhood crime. To account for endogenous retail dispensary locations, we use a novel identification strategy that exploits exogenous changes in demand across different locations. The change in geographic demand arises from the increased importance of access to external markets caused by a change in state and local policy. The results imply that retail dispensaries lead to reduced crime in the neighborhoods where they are located. Reductions in crime are highly localized, with no evidence of benefits for adjacent neighborhoods. The spatial extent of these effects are consistent with a policing or security response, and analysis of detailed crime categories provides indirect evidence that the reduction in crime arises from a disruption of illicit markets.
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17-18: The Agglomeration of American Research and Development Labs by Kristy Buzard, Gerald A. Carlino, Robert M. Hunt, Jake K. Carr and Tony E. Smith

The authors employ a unique data set to examine the spatial clustering of about 1,700 private research and development (R&D) labs in California and across the Northeast corridor of the United States. Using these data, which contain the R&D labs’ complete addresses, the authors are able to more precisely locate innovative activity than with patent data, which only contain zip codes for inventors’ residential addresses. The authors avoid the problems of scale and borders associated with using fixed spatial boundaries, such as zip codes, by developing a new point pattern procedure. Our multiscale core-cluster approach identifies the location and size of significant R&D clusters at various scales, such as a half mile, one mile, five miles, and more. Our analysis identifies four major clusters in the Northeast corridor (one each in Boston, New York–Northern New Jersey, Philadelphia–Wilmington, and Washington, D.C.) and three major clusters in California (one each in the Bay Area, Los Angeles, and San Diego).
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17-17: Fintech Lending: Financial Inclusion, Risk Pricing, and Alternative Information by Julapa Jagtiani and Catharine Lemieux

Superseded by Working Papers 18-13 and 18-15.
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17-16: Positive Trend Inflation and Determinacy in a Medium-Sized New Keynesian Model by Jonas E. Arias, Guido Ascari, Nicola Branzoli, and Efrem Castelnuovo

This paper studies the challenge that increasing the inflation target poses to equilibrium determinacy in a medium-sized New Keynesian model without indexation fitted to the Great Moderation era. For moderate targets of the inflation rate, such as 2 or 4 percent, the probability of determinacy is near one conditional on the monetary policy rule of the estimated model. However, this probability drops significantly conditional on model-free estimates of the monetary policy rule based on real-time data. The difference is driven by the larger response of the federal funds rate to the output gap associated with the latter estimates.
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17-15: “Don't Know What You Got Till It’s Gone” — The Community Reinvestment Act in a Changing Financial Landscape by Lei Ding and Leonard Nakamura

Superseded by Working Paper 20-08.
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17-14: Reorganization or Liquidation: Bankruptcy Choice and Firm Dynamics by Dean Corbae and Pablo D’Erasmo

In this paper, the authors ask how bankruptcy law affects the financial decisions of corporations and its implications for firm dynamics. According to current U.S. law, firms have two bankruptcy options: Chapter 7 liquidation and Chapter 11 reorganization. Using Compustat data, the authors first document capital structure and investment decisions of non-bankrupt, Chapter 11, and Chapter 7 firms. Using those data moments, they then estimate parameters of a firm dynamics model with endogenous entry and exit to include both bankruptcy options in a general equilibrium environment. Finally, the authors evaluate a bankruptcy policy change recommended by the American Bankruptcy Institute that amounts to a "fresh start" for bankrupt firms. The authors find that changes to the law can have sizable consequences for borrowing costs and capital structure, which via selection affects productivity (allocative efficiency rises by 2.58%) and welfare (rises by 0.54%).
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17-13: Fiscal Surprises at the FOMC by Dean Croushore and Simon van Norden

This paper provides a detailed examination of a new set of fiscal forecasts for the U.S. assembled by Croushore and van Norden (2017) from FOMC briefing books. The data are of particular interest because (1) they afford a look at fiscal forecasts over six complete business cycles and several fiscal policy regimes, covering both peacetime and several wars, (2) the forecasts were precisely those presented to monetary policymakers, (3) they include frequently updated estimates of both actual and cyclically adjusted deficits, (4) unlike most other U.S. fiscal forecasts, they were neither partisan nor constrained by unrealistic assumptions about future fiscal policy, and (5) forecasts for other variables (GDP growth, inflation) from the same forecasters are known to compare favorably with most other available forecasts.

The authors detail the performance of forecast federal expenditures, revenues, surpluses, and structural surpluses in terms of accuracy, bias, and efficiency. They find that (1) fiscal forecast errors can be economically large, even at relatively short forecast horizons, (2) while the accuracy of unemployment rate forecast errors improved after 1990, that of most fiscal variables deteriorated considerably, (3) there is limited evidence of forecast bias, and most of this evidence is confined to the period before 1993, (4) the forecasts appear to be efficient with respect to both the fed funds rate and CBO projections, and (5) cyclically adjusted deficit forecasts appear to be over-optimistic around both business cycle peaks and troughs.
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17-12: Where Do Students Go When For-Profit Colleges Lose Federal Aid? by Stephanie R. Cellini, Rajeev Darolia, and Lesley J. Turner

Recent federal investigations and new regulations have resulted in restrictions on for-profit institutions' access to federal student aid. The authors examine the enrollment effects of similar restrictions imposed on over 1,200 for-profit colleges in the 1990s. Using variation in regulations linked to student loan default rates, the authors estimate the impact of the loss of federal aid on the enrollment of Pell Grant recipients in sanctioned institutions and their local competitors. Enrollment in a sanctioned for-profit college declines by 53 percent in the five years following a sanction. For-profit sanctions result in negative spillovers on unsanctioned competitor for-profit colleges in the same county, which experience modest enrollment declines. These enrollment losses in the for-profit sector are offset by gains in enrollment in local community colleges, suggesting that the loss of federal student aid for poor-performing for-profit colleges does not reduce overall college-going but instead shifts students across higher education sectors. Finally, the authors provide suggestive evidence that students induced to enroll in community colleges following a for-profit competitor’s sanction are less likely to default on their federal loans.
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17-11: Identification Through Heterogeneity by Pooyan Amir-Ahmadi and Thorsten Drautzburg

The authors analyze set identification in Bayesian vector autoregressions (VARs). Because set identification can be challenging, they propose to include micro data on heterogeneous entities to sharpen inference. First, the authors provide conditions when imposing a simple ranking of impulse-responses sharpens inference in bivariate and trivariate VARs. Importantly, they show that this set reduction also applies to variables not subject to ranking restrictions. Second, the authors develop two types of inference to address recent criticism: (1) an efficient fully Bayesian algorithm based on an agnostic prior that directly samples from the admissible set and (2) a prior-robust Bayesian algorithm to sample the posterior bounds of the identified set. Third, they apply our methodology to U.S. data to identify productivity news and defense spending shocks. The authors find that under both algorithms, the bounds of the identified sets shrink substantially under heterogeneity restrictions relative to standard sign restrictions.
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17-10: The Impacts of Financial Regulations: Solvency and Liquidity in the Post-crisis Period by Colleen Baker, Christine Cumming, and Julapa Jagtiani

This paper discusses the new financial regulations in the post–financial crisis period, focusing on capital and liquidity regulations. Basel III and the capital stress tests introduced new requirements and new definitions while retaining the structure of the pre-2010 requirements. The total number of requirements increased, making it difficult to determine which constraints are binding. The authors find that the new common equity tier 1 (CET1) and Level 1 high-quality liquid assets (HQLAs) are the binding constraints at large U.S. banks, especially for banks that are active in capital markets activities. Banks have been holding more CET1 and a larger share of Level 1 HQLAs since the financial crisis of 2007 to 2009. The authors also find that the market pricing of bank debt appears to have responded to changes in liquidity measures, especially at large capital markets banks. The Basel III regulatory capital ratios appear to have little direct influence on spreads.
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17-09: Endogenous/Exogenous Segmentation in the A-IRB Framework and the Pro-cyclicality of Capital: An Application to Mortgage Portfolios by José J. Canals-Cerdá

This paper investigates the pro-cyclicality of capital in the advanced internal ratings-based (A-IRB) Basel approach for retail portfolios and identifies the fundamental assumptions required for stable A-IRB risk weights over the economic cycle. Specifically, it distinguishes between endogenous and exogenous segmentation risk drivers and, through application to a portfolio of first mortgages, shows that risk weights remain stable over the economic cycle when the segmentation scheme is derived using exogenous risk drivers, while segmentation schemes that include endogenous risk drivers are highly pro-cyclical. Also analyzed is the sensitivity of the A-IRB framework to model risk resulting from the selection, at the quantification stage, of a data sample period that does not include a period of significant economic downturn. The analysis illustrates important limitations and sensitivities of the A-IRB framework and sheds light on the implicit restrictions embedded in recent regulatory guidance that underscore the importance of rating systems that remain stable over time and throughout business cycles.
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17-08: Regime Shift and the Post-crisis World of Mortgage Loss Severities by Xudong An and Larry Cordell

Superseded by Working Paper 19-19.
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17-07: Self-Fulfilling Debt Crises, Revisited: The Art of the Desperate Deal by Mark Aguiar, Satyajit Chatterjee, Harold Cole, and Zachary Stangebye

The authors revisit self-fulfilling rollover crises by introducing an alternative equilibrium selection that involves bond auctions at depressed but strictly positive equilibrium prices, a scenario in line with observed sovereign debt crises. They refer to these auctions as "desperate deals," the defining feature of which is a price schedule that makes the government indifferent to default or repayment. The government randomizes at the time of repayment, which the authors show can be implemented in pure strategies by introducing stochastic political payoffs or external bailouts. Quantitatively, auctions at fire-sale prices are crucial for generating realistic spread volatility.
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17-06/R: How Data Breaches Affect Consumer Credit by Vyacheslav Mikhed and Michael Vogan

The authors use the 2012 South Carolina Department of Revenue data breach as a natural experiment to study how data breaches and news coverage about them affect consumers' interactions with the credit market and their use of credit. They find that some consumers directly exposed to the breach protected themselves against potential losses from future fraudulent use of stolen information by monitoring their files and freezing access to their credit reports. However, these consumers continued their regular use of existing credit cards and did not switch lenders. The response of consumers exposed to the news about the breach only was negligible.
Supersedes Working Paper 15-42.
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17-05: Market Discipline in the Secondary Bond Market: The Case of Systemically Important Banks by Elyas Elyasiani and Jason M. Keegan

The authors investigate the association between the yields on debt issued by U.S. systemically important banks (SIBs) and their idiosyncratic risk factors, macroeconomic factors, and bond features in the secondary market. Although greater SIB risk levels are expected to increase debt yields (Evanoff and Wall, 2000), prevalence of government safety nets complicates the market discipline mechanism, rendering the issue an empirical exercise. Their main objectives are twofold. First, they study how bond buyers reacted to elevation of SIB-specific and macroeconomic risk factors over the recent business cycle. Second, they investigate the degree to which the proportion of variance in yields explained by SIB and macroeconomic risk factors changed across the phases of the cycle. Their data include over 8 million bond trades across 26 SIBs. The authors divide their sample period into the pre-crisis (2003:Q1 to 2007:Q3), crisis (2007:Q4 to 2009:Q2), and post-crisis (2009:Q3 to 2014:Q3) sub-periods to contrast the findings. They obtain several results. First, bond buyers do react to changes in the SIB-specific risk factors (leverage, credit risk, inefficiency, lack of profitability, illiquidity, and interest rate risk) by demanding higher yields. Second, bond buyers’ responses to risk factors are sensitive to the phase of the business cycle. Third, the proportion of variance in yields driven by SIB-specific and bond-specific risk factors increased from 23 percent in the pre-crisis period to 47 percent and 73 percent, respectively, during the crisis and post-crisis periods. These findings indicate that the force of market discipline improved greatly during the crisis and post-crisis periods, at the expense of macroeconomic factors. The strengthening of market discipline in the crisis and post-crisis periods, despite the unprecedented regulatory intervention in the form of quantitative easing programs, the Troubled Asset Relief Program, large bailouts, and generally accommodative fiscal and monetary policies adopted during these periods, demonstrates that regulatory intervention and market discipline can work in tandem.
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17-04: History Remembered: Optimal Sovereign Default on Domestic and External Debt by Pablo D’Erasmo and Enrique G. Mendoza

Superseded by Working Paper 19-31.
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17-03: Natural Amenities, Neighborhood Dynamics, and Persistence in the Spatial Distribution of Income by Sanghoon Lee and Jeffrey Lin

The authors present theory and evidence highlighting the role of natural amenities in neighborhood dynamics, suburbanization, and variation across cities in the persistence of the spatial distribution of income. Their model generates three predictions that they confirm using a novel database of consistent-boundary neighborhoods in U.S. metropolitan areas, 1880-2010, and spatial data for natural features such as coastlines and hills. First, persistent natural amenities anchor neighborhoods to high incomes over time. Second, naturally heterogeneous cities exhibit persistent spatial distributions of income. Third, downtown neighborhoods in coastal cities were less susceptible to the widespread decentralization of income in the mid-20th century and experienced an increase in income more quickly after 1980.
Supersedes Working Paper 15-46.
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17-02: Modeling the Revolving Revolution: Debt Collection Channel by Lukasz A. Drozd and Ricardo Serrano-Padial

The authors investigate the role of information technology (IT) in the collection of delinquent consumer debt. They argue that the widespread adoption of IT by the debt collection industry in the 1990s contributed to the observed expansion of unsecured risky lending such as credit cards. The authors' model stresses the importance of delinquency and private information about borrower solvency. The prevalence of delinquency implies that the costs of debt collection must be borne by lenders to sustain incentives to repay debt. IT mitigates informational asymmetries, allowing lenders to concentrate collection efforts on delinquent borrowers who are more likely to repay.
Supersedes Working Paper 13-12.
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17-01: Endogenous Political Turnover and Fluctuations in Sovereign Default Risk by Satyajit Chatterjee and Burcu Eyigungor

A sovereign default model in which the sovereign derives private benefits from public office and contests elections to stay in power is developed. The economy’s growth process is modeled as a Markov switching regime, which is shown to be a better description of the data for the authors' set of emerging economies. In the model, consistent with evidence, the sovereign is less likely to be reelected if economic growth is weak. In the low-growth regime, there is higher probability of loss of private benefits due to turnover, which makes the sovereign behave more myopically. This growth-linked variation in effective discount factor is shown to be important in generating volatility in sovereign spreads.
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  • Last update: December 20, 2017