NBER Working Papers by Sylvain Leduc

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Working Papers

May 2012Roads to Prosperity or Bridges to Nowhere? Theory and Evidence on the Impact of Public Infrastructure Investment
with Daniel Wilson: w18042
We examine the dynamic macroeconomic effects of public infrastructure investment both theoretically and empirically, using a novel data set we compiled on various highway spending measures. Relying on the institutional design of federal grant distributions among states, we construct a measure of government highway spending shocks that captures revisions in expectations about future government investment. We find that shocks to federal highway funding has a positive effect on local GDP both on impact and after 6 to 8 years, with the impact effect coming from shocks during (local) recessions. However, we find no permanent effect (as of 10 years after the shock). Similar impulse responses are found in a number of other macroeconomic variables. The transmission channel for these responses appe...
October 2007Optimal Monetary Policy and the Sources of Local-Currency Price Stability
with Giancarlo Corsetti, Luca Dedola: w13544
We analyze the policy trade-offs generated by local currency price stability of imports in economies where upstream producers strategically interact with downstream firms selling the final goods to consumers. We study the effects of staggered price setting at the downstream level on the optimal price (and markup) chosen by upstream producers and show that downstream price movements affect the desired markup of upstream producers, magnifying their price response to shocks. We revisit the international dimensions of optimal monetary policy, unveiling an argument in favor of consumer price stability as the main prescription for monetary policy. Since stable consumer prices feed back into a low volatility of markups among upstream producers, this contains inefficient deviations from the law of...
August 2006Productivity, External Balance and Exchange Rates: Evidence on the Transmission Mechanism Among G7 Countries
with Giancarlo Corsetti, Luca Dedola: w12483
This paper investigates the international transmission of productivity shocks in a sample of five G7 countries. For each country, using long-run restrictions, we identify shocks that increase permanently domestic labor productivity in manufacturing (our measure of tradables) relative to an aggregate of other industrial countries including the rest of the G7. We find that, consistent with standard theory, these shocks raise relative consumption, deteriorate net exports, and raise the relative price of nontradables --- in full accord with the Harrod-Balassa-Samuelson hypothesis. Moreover, the deterioration of the external account is fairly persistent, especially for the US. The response of the real exchange rate and (our proxy for) the terms of trade differs across countries: while both rela...

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