The Macroeconomics of Epidemics
Review of Financial Studies,
We extend the canonical epidemiology model to study the interaction between economic decisions and epidemics. Our model implies that people cut back on consumption and work to reduce the chances of being infected. These decisions reduce the severity of the epidemic but exacerbate the size of the associated recession. The competitive equilibrium is not socially optimal because infected people do not fully internalize the effect of their economic decisions on the spread of the virus. In our benchmark model, the best simple containment policy increases the severity of the recession but saves roughly half a million lives in the United States.
Why is Unemployment so Countercyclical?
Review of Economic Dynamics,
We argue that wage inertia plays a pivotal role in allowing empirically plausible variants of the standard search and matching model to account for the large countercyclical response of unemployment to shocks.
18.03.2021 • 9/2021
Economic mobility likely to increase significantly after relaxation – but also number of COVID-19 cases
The relaxation of Corona containment measures from the beginning of March 2021 lead to a significant increase in economic mobility and thus also in personal contacts in Germany. Estimates suggest that the recent relaxations increase economic mobility by more than ten percentage points and the number of new infections and deaths in Germany by 25%. Because both continued lockdowns and relaxations carry significant negative consequences, it is even more important to enable further relaxations through better testing and quarantine strategies and by increasing the pace of vaccination without putting people's health at risk.
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25.01.2021 • 2/2021
High public deficits not only due to the pandemic – Medium-term options for fiscal policy
According to the IWH’s medium-term projection, Germany's gross domestic product will grow more slowly between 2020 and 2025 than before, not only because of the pandemic crisis, but also because the work force will decline. The resulting structural public deficits are, if the legal framework remains unchanged, likely to be higher than the debt brake allows. Consolidation measures, especially if they relate to government revenues, entail economic losses in the short term. “There is much to be said, also from a theoretical point of view, for not abolishing the debt brake, but for relaxing it to some extent,” says Oliver Holtemöller, head of the Department of Macroeconomics and vice president at Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
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Involuntary Unemployment and the Business Cycle
Review of Economic Dynamics,
Can a model with limited labor market insurance explain standard macro and labor market data jointly? We construct a monetary model in which: i) the unemployed are worse off than the employed, i.e. unemployment is involuntary and ii) the labor force participation rate varies with the business cycle. To illustrate key features of our model, we start with the simplest possible framework. We then integrate the model into a medium-sized DSGE model and show that the resulting model does as well as existing models at accounting for the response of standard macroeconomic variables to monetary policy shocks and two technology shocks. In addition, the model does well at accounting for the response of the labor force and unemployment rate to these three shocks.
Switching to Good Policy? The Case of Central and Eastern European Inflation Targeters
The paper analyzes how actual monetary policy changed following the official adoption of inflation targeting in the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland and how it affected the volatilities of important macroeconomic variables in the years thereafter. To disentangle the effects of the policy shift from exogenous changes in the volatilities of these variables, a Markov-switching dynamic stochastic general equilibrium model is estimated that allows for regime switches in the policy parameters and the volatilities of shocks hitting the economies. Whereas estimation results reveal periods of high and low volatility for all three economies, the presence of different policy regimes is supported by the underlying data for the Czech Republic and Poland, only. In both economies, monetary policy switched from weak and unsystematic to strong and systematic responses to inflation dynamics. Simulation results suggest that the policy shifts of both central banks successfully reduced inflation volatility in the following years. The observed reduction in output volatility, on the other hand, is attributed more to a reduction in the size of external shocks.
Sovereign Default Risk, Macroeconomic Fluctuations and Monetary-Fiscal Stabilisation
IWH Discussion Papers,
This paper examines the role of sovereign default beliefs for macroeconomic fluctuations and stabilisation policy in a small open economy where fiscal solvency is a critical problem. We set up and estimate a DSGE model on Turkish data and show that accounting for sovereign risk significantly improves the fit of the model through an endogenous amplication between default beliefs, exchange rate and inflation movements. We then use the estimated model to study the implications of sovereign risk for stability, fiscal and monetary policy, and their interaction. We find that a relatively strong fiscal feedback from deficits to taxes, some exchange rate targeting, or a monetary response to default premia are more effective and efficient stabilisation tools than hawkish inflation targeting.
Executive Compensation, Macroeconomic Conditions, and Cash Flow Cyclicality
Finance Research Letters,
I model the joint effects of debt, macroeconomic conditions, and cash flow cyclicality on risk-shifting behavior and managerial wealth-for-performance sensitivity. The model shows that risk-shifting incentives rise during recessions and that the shareholders can eliminate such adverse incentives by reducing the equity-based compensation in managerial contracts. Moreover, this reduction should be larger in highly procyclical firms. These novel, testable predictions provide insights into optimal shareholder responses to agency costs of debt throughout the business cycle.
Crisis is Gradually being Overcome – Align Actions to Lower Growth In their autumn report, the leading German economic...