Involuntary Unemployment and the Business Cycle
Lawrence J. Christiano, Mathias Trabandt, Karl Walentin
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.
On the International Dissemination of Technology News Shocks
João Carlos Claudio, Gregor von Schweinitz
IWH Discussion Papers,
This paper investigates the propagation of technology news shocks within and across industrialised economies. We construct quarterly utilisation-adjusted total factor productivity (TFP) for thirteen OECD countries. Based on country-specific structural vector autoregressions (VARs), we document that (i) the identified technology news shocks induce a quite homogeneous response pattern of key macroeconomic variables in each country; and (ii) the identified technology news shock processes display a significant degree of correlation across several countries. Contrary to conventional wisdom, we find that the US are only one of many different sources of technological innovations diffusing across advanced economies. Technology news propagate through the endogenous reaction of monetary policy and via trade-related variables. That is, our results imply that financial markets and trade are key channels for the dissemination of technology.
Economy in Shock — Financial Policy is Holding Up
Oliver Holtemöller, Stefan Kooths, Claus Michelsen, Torsten Schmidt, Timo Wollmershäuser
According to the leading German economic research institutes, the German economy is experiencing a drastic slump as a result of the corona pandemic. In order to slow down the wave of infection, the state has severely restricted economic activity in Germany. As a result, GDP is expected to shrink by 4.2% this year. The recession is leaving clear traces on the labour market and the national budget. At its peak, the unemployment rate will soar to 5.9% and the number of short-time workers to 2.4 million. This year, the fiscal policy stabilisation measures will lead to a record deficit in the general government budget of 159 billion euro. After the shutdown, the economy will gradually recover. Accordingly, the increase in GDP next year will be strong at 5.8%. This forecast is associated with considerable downside risks, e.g. because the pandemic can be slowed faster or because the recovery of economic activity will be less successful than expected or there may be a new wave of infection.
Why is Unemployment so Countercyclical?
Lawrence J. Christiano, Martin S. Eichenbaum, Mathias Trabandt
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.
Resolving the Missing Deflation Puzzle
Jesper Lindé, Mathias Trabandt
We propose a resolution of the missing deflation puzzle. Our resolution stresses the importance of nonlinearities in price- and wage-setting when the economy is exposed to large shocks. We show that a nonlinear macroeconomic model with real rigidities resolves the missing deflation puzzle, while a linearized version of the same underlying nonlinear model fails to do so. In addition, our nonlinear model reproduces the skewness of inflation and other macroeconomic variables observed in post-war U.S. data. All told, our results caution against the common practice of using linearized models to study inflation and output dynamics.
19.12.2018 • 23/2018
IWH Mid-term Projections: The German Economy and Public Finances 2018 to 2025
In 2018 the general government overall balance is likely to be in surplus by almost 60 billion euros. In the medium term, however, demographic conditions will deteriorate, as will public finances. The financial position of the German state will nevertheless remain stable until 2025, unless major negative shocks occur. “But even if interest rates rose significantly or foreign demand declined markedly, only moderate deficits would arise”, says Oliver Holtemöller, head of the Department of Macroeconomics and vice president at Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH). However, given the expected reduction of the surplus under existing legislation, there is no room for further increases in spending.
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Inference in Structural Vector Autoregressions when the Identifying Assumptions are not Fully Believed: Re-evaluating the Role of Monetary Policy in Economic Fluctuations
Christiane Baumeister, James D. Hamilton
Journal of Monetary Economics,
Point estimates and error bands for SVARs that are set identified are only justified if the researcher is persuaded that some parameter values are a priori more plausible than others. When such prior information exists, traditional approaches can be generalized to allow for doubts about the identifying assumptions. We use information about both structural coefficients and impacts of shocks and propose a new asymmetric t-distribution for incorporating information about signs in a nondogmatic way. We apply these methods to a three-variable macroeconomic model and conclude that monetary policy shocks are not the major driver of output, inflation, or interest rates.
Information Feedback in Temporal Networks as a Predictor of Market Crashes
Stjepan Begušić, Zvonko Kostanjčar, Dejan Kovač, Boris Podobnik, H. Eugene Stanley
In complex systems, statistical dependencies between individual components are often considered one of the key mechanisms which drive the system dynamics observed on a macroscopic level. In this paper, we study cross-sectional time-lagged dependencies in financial markets, quantified by nonparametric measures from information theory, and estimate directed temporal dependency networks in financial markets. We examine the emergence of strongly connected feedback components in the estimated networks, and hypothesize that the existence of information feedback in financial networks induces strong spatiotemporal spillover effects and thus indicates systemic risk. We obtain empirical results by applying our methodology on stock market and real estate data, and demonstrate that the estimated networks exhibit strongly connected components around periods of high volatility in the markets. To further study this phenomenon, we construct a systemic risk indicator based on the proposed approach, and show that it can be used to predict future market distress. Results from both the stock market and real estate data suggest that our approach can be useful in obtaining early-warning signals for crashes in financial markets.
Does it Payoff to Research Economics? A Tale of Citation, Knowledge and Economic Growth in Transition Countries
Dejan Kovač, Boris Podobnik, Nikol Scrbec
Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications,
There are many economic theories that promote human capital as a key driver of a country’s economic growth, but it is challenging to test this theory empirically on a country level and causally interpret the coefficients due to several identification problems. We tried to answer this particular question by using a quasi-natural experiment that happened quarter century ago – the fall of communist block in Eastern Europe. We use a shock to a particular scientific field – economics, to test whether the future investment into that particular field resulted in increased welfare and economic growth. The economics paradigm that was governing all of the communist block ceased to exist. Human capital depreciated over night and all communist countries had to transit from planned economy to a market economy. In the following years countries had to adapt to market economy through additional investment in human capital and research. We find that countries which lack both of the two fourth mentioned components had 25 years later a relatively lower economic growth and wealth. Unlike economics, other fields such as physics and medicine did not go through the same process so we use them as a placebo effect for our study. We find that the relative ratio of citations between economics and physics in post-communist countries is increasing only 15 years after the “paradigm” shock which gives a suggestive evidence that timing of investment into particular scientific field matters the most.