National Bureau of Economic Research Working PapersThe Latest NBER Working Papers
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Unprecedented Actions: The Federal Reserve's Response to the Global Financial Crisis in Historical Perspective -- by Frederic S. Mishkin, Eugene N. WhiteInterventions by the Federal Reserve during the financial crisis of 2007-2009 were generally viewed as unprecedented and in violation of the rules--notably Bagehot's rule--that a central bank should follow to avoid the time-inconsistency problem and moral hazard. Reviewing the evidence for central banks' crisis management in the U.S., the U.K. and France from the late nineteenth century to the end of the twentieth century, we find that there were precedents for all of the unusual actions taken by the Fed. When these were successful interventions, they followed contingent and target rules that permitted pre-emptive actions to forestall worse crises but were combined with measures to mitigate moral hazard.
http://papers.nber.org/papers/w20737#fromrss
http://papers.nber.org/papers/w20737#fromrssSign Restrictions, Structural Vector Autoregressions, and Useful Prior Information -- by Christiane Baumeister, James D. HamiltonThis paper makes the following original contributions to the literature. (1) We develop a simpler analytical characterization and numerical algorithm for Bayesian inference in structural vector autoregressions that can be used for models that are overidentified, just-identified, or underidentified. (2) We analyze the asymptotic properties of Bayesian inference and show that in the underidentified case, the asymptotic posterior distribution of contemporaneous coefficients in an n-variable VAR is confined to the set of values that orthogonalize the population variance-covariance matrix of OLS residuals, with the height of the posterior proportional to the height of the prior at any point within that set. For example, in a bivariate VAR for supply and demand identified solely by sign restrictions, if the population correlation between the VAR residuals is positive, then even if one has available an infinite sample of data, any inference about the demand elasticity is coming exclusively from the prior distribution. (3) We provide analytical characterizations of the informative prior distributions for impulse-response functions that are implicit in the traditional sign-restriction approach to VARs, and note, as a special case of result (2), that the influence of these priors does not vanish asymptotically. (4) We illustrate how Bayesian inference with informative priors can be both a strict generalization and an unambiguous improvement over frequentist inference in just-identified models. (5) We propose that researchers need to explicitly acknowledge and defend the role of prior beliefs in influencing structural conclusions and illustrate how this could be done using a simple model of the U.S. labor market.
http://papers.nber.org/papers/w20741#fromrss
http://papers.nber.org/papers/w20741#fromrssHeterogeneity in Decentralized Asset Markets -- by Julien Hugonnier, Benjamin Lester, Pierre-Olivier WeillWe study a search and bargaining model of an asset market, where investors' heterogeneous valuations for the asset are drawn from an arbitrary distribution. Our solution technique renders the analysis fully tractable and allows us to provide a full characterization of the equilibrium, in closed form, both in and out of steady state. We use this characterization for two purposes. First, we establish that the model can naturally account for a number of stylized facts that have been documented in empirical studies of over-the-counter asset markets. In particular, we show that heterogeneity among market participants implies that assets are reallocated through "intermediation chains," ultimately producing a core-periphery trading network and non-trivial distributions of prices and trading times. Second, we show that the model generates a number of novel results that underscore the importance of heterogeneity in decentralized markets. We highlight two: first, heterogeneity magnifies the price impact of search frictions; and second, search frictions have larger effects on price levels than on price dispersion. Hence, quantifying the price discount or premium created by search frictions based on observed price dispersion can be misleading.
http://papers.nber.org/papers/w20746#fromrss
http://papers.nber.org/papers/w20746#fromrss