Networks and the Macroeconomy: An Empirical Exploration
NBER Macroeconomics Annual,
How small shocks are amplified and propagated through the economy to cause sizable fluctuations is at the heart of much macroeconomic research. Potential mechanisms that have been proposed range from investment and capital accumulation responses in real business-cycle models (e.g., Kydland and Prescott 1982) to Keynesian multipliers (e.g., Diamond 1982; Kiyotaki 1988; Blanchard and Kiyotaki 1987; Hall 2009; Christiano, Eichenbaum, and Rebelo 2011); to credit market frictions facing firms, households, or banks (e.g., Bernanke and Gertler 1989; Kiyotaki and Moore 1997; Guerrieri and Lorenzoni 2012; Mian, Rao, and Sufi 2013); to the role of real and nominal rigidities and their interplay (Ball and Romer 1990); and to the consequences of (potentially inappropriate or constrained) monetary policy (e.g., Friedman and Schwartz 1971; Eggertsson and Woodford 2003; Farhi and Werning 2013).
The Effect of Personal Bankruptcy Exemptions on Investment in Home Equity
Journal of Financial Intermediation,
Homestead exemptions to personal bankruptcy allow households to retain their home equity up to a limit determined at the state level. Households that may experience bankruptcy thus have an incentive to bias their portfolios towards home equity. Using US household data for the period 1996 to 2006, we find that household demand for real estate is relatively high if the marginal investment in home equity is covered by the exemption. The home equity bias is more pronounced for younger and less healthy households that face more financial uncertainty and therefore have a higher ex ante probability of bankruptcy. These results suggest that homestead exemptions have an important bearing on the portfolio allocation of US households and the extent to which they insure against bad shocks.
16.12.2015 • 45/2015
German Economy: Strong domestic demand compensates for weak exports
The upturn of the German economy is expected to gain further momentum as a consequence of strong domestic demand. Real gross domestic product is expected to increase by 1.6% in 2016. Consumer prices are expected to rise by 0.9%. Unemployment is expected to rise slightly because it will take time to integrate refugees into the labour market.
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24.09.2015 • 38/2015
German Households Benefit from Low Interest Environment
Calculations of the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) – Member of the Leibniz Association show that the average household in Germany has benefited from the low policy rate environment. The average return on their portfolio was higher than in the pre-crisis period while at the same time, they benefited from lower interest on new loans. Households in Germany had a total Euro benefit of more than 364 billion Euro over a five-year period relative to 2003 to 2007. Increases in stock prices and real estate prices over-compensate lower interest rates on savings accounts, despite their relatively low share in households’ portfolios. There are benefits across the income distribution. Households that do not own real estate lost though, but their losses are very small at on average about 100 Euro per year.
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Financial Constraints on Growth: Comparing the Balkans to Other Transition Economies
Eastern European Economics,
This article applies an adjusted growth diagnostic approach to identify the currently most binding constraint on financing growth in the West Balkan countries. Since this group of economies faces both structural and systemic transformation problems, the original supply-side approach might not be sufficient to detect the most binding constraint. The results of the analysis indicate that the binding constraint on credit and investment growth in the region is the high and increasing share of nonperforming loans, primarily in the household sector, due to policy failures. This article compares the Balkan countries to a group of advanced transition economies. Single-country and panel regressions indicate that demand-side factors do not play a constraining role on growth in the West Balkan countries, but they do in the advanced transition economies.
Censored Fractional Response Model: Estimating Heterogeneous Relative Risk Aversion of European Households
IWH Discussion Papers,
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.