The Macroeconomic Risks of Undesirably Low Inflation
European Economic Review,
This paper investigates the macroeconomic risks associated with undesirably low inflation using a medium-sized New Keynesian model. We consider different causes of persistently low inflation, including a downward shift in long-run inflation expectations, a fall in nominal wage growth, and a favorable supply-side shock. We show that the macroeconomic effects of persistently low inflation depend crucially on its underlying cause, as well as on the extent to which monetary policy is constrained by the zero lower bound. Finally, we discuss policy options to mitigate these effects.
Censored Fractional Response Model: Estimating Heterogeneous Relative Risk Aversion of European Households
This paper estimates relative risk aversion using the observed shares of risky assets and characteristics of households from the Household Finance and Consumption Survey of the European Central Bank. Given that the risky share is a fractional response variable belonging to [0, 1], this paper proposes a censored fractional response estimation method using extremal quantiles to approximate the censoring thresholds. Considering that participation in risky asset markets is costly, I estimate both the heterogeneous relative risk aversion and participation cost using a working sample that includes both risky asset holders and non-risky asset holders by treating the zero risky share as the result of heterogeneous self-censoring. Estimation results show lower participation costs and higher relative risk aversion than what was previously estimated. The estimated median relative risk aversions of eight European countries range from 4.6 to 13.6. However, the results are sensitive to households’ perception of the risky asset market return and volatility.
Understanding the Great Recession
American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics,
We argue that the vast bulk of movements in aggregate real economic activity during the Great Recession were due to financial frictions. We reach this conclusion by looking through the lens of an estimated New Keynesian model in which firms face moderate degrees of price rigidities, no nominal rigidities in wages, and a binding zero lower bound constraint on the nominal interest rate. Our model does a good job of accounting for the joint behavior of labor and goods markets, as well as inflation, during the Great Recession. According to the model the observed fall in total factor productivity and the rise in the cost of working capital played critical roles in accounting for the small drop in inflation that occurred during the Great Recession.
Estimating Monetary Policy Rules when the Zero Lower Bound on Nominal Interest Rates is Approached
Kiel Working Papers, No. 1898,
Monetary policy rule parameters estimated with conventional estimation techniques can be severely biased if the estimation sample includes periods of low interest rates. Nominal interest rates cannot be negative, so that censored regression methods like Tobit estimation have to be used to achieve unbiased estimates. We use IV-Tobit regression to estimate monetary policy responses for Japan, the US and the Euro area. The estimation results show that the bias of conventional estimation methods is sizeable for the inflation response parameter, while it is very small for the output gap response and the interest rate smoothing parameter. We demonstrate how IV-Tobit estimation can be used to study how policy responses change when the zero lower bound is approached. Further, we show how one can use the IV-Tobit approach to distinguish between desired policy responses, that the central bank would implement if there was no zero lower bound, and the actual ones and provide estimates of both.
Bank Lending, Bank Capital Regulation and Efficiency of Corporate Foreign Investment
IWH Discussion Papers,
In this paper we study interdependencies between corporate foreign investment and the capital structure of banks. By committing to invest predominantly at home, firms can reduce the credit default risk of their lending banks. Therefore, banks can refinance loans to a larger extent through deposits thereby reducing firms’ effective financing costs. Firms thus have an incentive to allocate resources inefficiently as they then save on financing costs. We argue that imposing minimum capital adequacy for banks can eliminate this incentive by putting a lower bound on financing costs. However, the Basel II framework is shown to miss this potential.