Skip to main content

Summary

Uncertainty Matters: Evidence from Close Elections
Author(s):
Chris Redl, International Monetary Fund
Discussant(s):
John Fernald, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco
Pietro Veronesi, University of Chicago and NBER
Abstract:

Redl uses a data rich environment to produce direct econometric estimates of macroeconomic and financial uncertainty for 11 advanced nations. These indices exhibit significant independent variation from popular proxies and provide a refinement of the influential work of Jurado et al. (2015) that results in improved real-time performance. Redl uses this new data in combination with narrative evidence to jointly identify macro uncertainty and financial shocks. Macro uncertainty shocks are identified with close elections and financial shocks with financial stress during financial crises. He finds that macro uncertainty shocks matter for the majority of countries and that the real effects of macro uncertainty shocks are generally larger conditioning on close elections. Redl finds that macro uncertainty shocks are more important, on average over our sample, in explaining business cycle fluctuations in real variables than financial shocks. These results are robust to controlling for news shocks and global uncertainty as well as a variety of shocks considered to be important drivers of the business cycle.

Downloads:
Sovereigns at Risk: A Dynamic Model of Sovereign Debt and Banking Leverage
Author(s):
Nuno Coimbra, Paris School of Economics
Discussant(s):
Ambrogio Cesa-Bianchi, Bank of England
Gianluca Benigno, London School of Economics
Abstract:

Coimbra develops a dynamic model with heterogeneous investors and sovereign default to analyze the dynamic link between banking sector capitalization and sovereign bond yields. The banking sector is modelled as operating under a Value-at-Risk (VaR) constraint, which can bind occasionally. As default risk rises, the constraint may bind, generating a fall in demand for sovereign bonds that can be accompanied by a rise in the risk premium if other agents are more risk averse. In turn, the rise in risk premium leads to a feedback effect through debt accumulation dynamics and the probability of government default.

Downloads:
Household Heterogeneity and the Transmission of Foreign Shocks
Author(s):
Sergio de Ferra, University of Oxford
Kurt Mitman, Institute for International Economic Studies
Federica Romei, Stockholm School of Economics
Discussant(s):
Morten Ravn, University College London
Ludwig Straub, Harvard University and NBER
Abstract:

De Ferra, Mitman, and Romei study the role of heterogeneity in the transmission of foreign shocks. They consider a small open economy with household heterogeneity and nominal rigidities that experiences a current account reversal. The researchers find that the households’ portfolio composition is a key determinant of the magnitude of the contraction associated with sudden stop in capital inflows. The contraction is more severe when households are leveraged and owe debt in foreign currency (”Original sin”). In addition, de Ferra, Mitman, and Romei find that in this setting a large exchange rate devaluation that eliminates achieves full employment may be detrimental due to the foreign debt revaluation it entails (“Fear of floating”).

Downloads:

In addition to the conference paper, the research was distributed as NBER Working Paper w26402, which may be a more recent version.

Corporate Spreads, Sovereign Spreads, and Crises
Author(s):
Julia Bevilaqua, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco
Galina Hale, University of California at Santa Cruz
Eric Tallman, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco
Discussant(s):
Kartik Anand, Deutsche Bundesbank
Jesse Schreger, Columbia University and NBER
Abstract:

Bevilaqua, Hale, and Tallman document that positive correlation between corporate and sovereign cost of funds borrowed on global capital markets weakens during periods of unusually high sovereign spreads, when corporate borrowers are able to issue debt that is priced at lower rates than sovereign debt. This state-dependent correlation between sovereign and corporate cost of funds has not been previously documented in the literature. The researchers demonstrate that this stylized fact is not explained by a different composition of borrowers issuing debt during periods of high sovereign spreads or by the relationship between corporate and sovereign credit ratings. The decline in the correlation between corporate yields and sovereign yields is observed across countries and industries as well as for a given borrower over time. Bevilaqua, Hale, and Tallman propose a simple information model that rationalizes their empirical observations: when sovereign spreads are high and more volatile, spreads on corporate debt are less correlated with spreads on sovereign debt. The calibrated model matches well the empirical correlation between sovereign and corporate cost of funds during normal and crisis times and is able to explain the heterogeneity in the estimates across market segments.

Downloads:
Monetary Policy in a World of Global Supply Chains
Author(s):
Shang-Jin Wei, Columbia University and NBER
Yinxi Xie, Bank of Canada
Discussant(s):
Raphael Auer, Bank for International Settlements
Kei-Mu Yi, University of Houston and NBER
Abstract:

Wei and Xie study the implications of global supply chains for the design of monetary policy. They build a small-open economy New Keynesian model with multiple stages of production. Within the family of simple monetary policy rules, a rule that allows for targeting production-stage-specific producer price inflation outperforms alternative policy rules. The optimal weights on different stages of production are in general not proportional to the sales volume of the stages. If the price is less sticky in upstream production, the relative weight on upstream would be smaller. If the researchers have to choose among aggregate price indicators, targeting PPI inflation is significantly better than targeting CPI inflation alone. As the production chain becomes larger, the weight on PPI inflation should also rise since PPI index occupies a larger proportion in the welfare loss function in contrast to CPI index. Finally, trade frictions such as tariff war also affect the optimal monetary policy rule by altering the weights on the prices in different stages of production.

Downloads:
Investor Experiences and International Capital Flows
Author(s):
Ulrike Malmendier, University of California, Berkeley and NBER
Demian Pouzo, University of California at Berkeley
Discussant(s):
Luigi Bocola, Stanford University and NBER
Dmitriy Sergeyev, Bocconi University
Abstract:

How do macro-financial shocks affect investor behavior and market dynamics? Recent evidence suggests long-lasting effects of personally experienced outcomes on investor beliefs and investment but also significant differences across older and younger generations. Malmendier, Pouzo, and Vanasco formalize experience-based learning in an OLG model, where different cross-cohort experiences generate persistent heterogeneity in beliefs, portfolio choices, and trade. The model allows them to characterize a novel link between investor demographics and the dependence of prices on past dividends, while also generating known features of asset prices, such as excess volatility and return predictability. The model produces new implications for the cross-section of asset holdings, trade volume, and investors' heterogeneous responses to recent financial crises, which the researchers show to be in line with the data.

Downloads:

In addition to the conference paper, the research was distributed as NBER Working Paper w24697, which may be a more recent version.

Inflation Expectations as a Policy Tool?
Author(s):
Olivier Coibion, University of Texas at Austin and NBER
Yuriy Gorodnichenko, University of California, Berkeley and NBER
Saten Kumar, AUT University
Mathieu Pedemonte, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland
Discussant(s):
Silvana Tenreyro, London School of Economics
Justin Wolfers, University of Michigan and NBER
Abstract:

Coibion, Gorodnichenko, Kumar, and Pedemonte assess whether central banks should use inflation expectations as a policy tool for stabilization purposes. They review recent work on how expectations of agents are formed and how they affect their economic decisions. Empirical evidence suggests that inflation expectations of households and firms affect their actions but the underlying mechanisms remain unclear, especially for firms. Two additional limitations prevent policy-makers from being able to actively manage inflation expectations. First, available surveys of firms' expectations are systematically deficient, which can only be addressed through the creation of large, nationally representative surveys of firms. Second, neither households' nor firms' expectations respond much to monetary policy announcements in low-inflation environments. The researchers provide suggestions for how monetary policy-makers can pierce this veil of inattention through new communication strategies. At this stage, the answer to the question of whether inflation expectations should be used as an active policy tool is "not yet".

Downloads:

In addition to the conference paper, the research was distributed as NBER Working Paper w24788, which may be a more recent version.

Price Discrimination Within and Across EMU Markets: Evidence from French Exporters
Author(s):
François Fontaine, Paris School of Economics
Isabelle Mejean, Ecole Polytechnique
Discussant(s):
Ida Hjortsoe, Bank of England
Brent Neiman, University of Chicago and NBER
Abstract:

Fontaine, Martin, and Mejean study the cross-sectional dispersion of prices paid by EMU importers for French products. A third of the dispersion observed within a narrow product category is attributable to price discrepancies within a seller, i.e. exporting firms charging different prices to individual partners in their export portfolio. While lower than in the rest of the European Union, the level of such price discrimination is substantial within the euro area, with a median coefficient of variation of prices of 30%. This mostly originates from firms charging different prices to buyers within a given destination country. The researchers document the heterogeneity across French exporters in their propensity to price discriminate. Large multiproduct exporters tend to adopt more discriminatory pricing strategies. Retailers and small exporters instead charge less dispersed and sometimes nearly uniform prices. Fontaine, Martin, and Mejean also find that price discrimination is stronger for more differentiated and more durable products. This heterogeneity in firms' propensity to price discriminate has important consequences in the aggregate since price dispersion at the top of the distribution of exports is more than twice larger than the magnitude of price discrepancies within small exporters.

Downloads:

In addition to the conference paper, the research was distributed as NBER Working Paper w26246, which may be a more recent version.

Participants

More from NBER

In addition to working papers, the NBER disseminates affiliates’ latest findings through a range of free periodicals — the NBER Reporter, the NBER Digest, the Bulletin on Retirement and Disability, and the Bulletin on Health — as well as online conference reports, video lectures, and interviews.

Economics of Digitization Figure 1
  • Article
The NBER Economics of Digitization Project, established in 2010 with support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation,...
claudiagoldinpromoimagelecture.png
  • Lecture
Claudia Goldin, the Henry Lee Professor of Economics at Harvard University and a past president of the American...
2020 Methods Lecture Promo Image
  • Lecture
The extent to which individual responses to household surveys are protected from discovery by outside parties depends...