Tracking Weekly State-Level Economic Conditions
Review of Economics and Statistics,
This paper develops a novel dataset of weekly economic conditions indices for the 50 U.S. states going back to 1987 based on mixed-frequency dynamic factor models with weekly, monthly, and quarterly variables that cover multiple dimensions of state economies. We find considerable cross-state heterogeneity in the length, depth, and timing of business cycles. We illustrate the usefulness of these state-level indices for quantifying the main contributors to the economic collapse caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and for evaluating the effectiveness of the Paycheck Protection Program. We also propose an aggregate indicator that gauges the overall weakness of the U.S. economy.
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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.
The Effects of Fiscal Policy in an Estimated DSGE Model – The Case of the German Stimulus Packages During the Great Recession
In this paper, we analyze the effects of the stimulus packages adopted by the German government during the Great Recession. We employ a standard medium-scale dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) model extended by non-optimizing households and a detailed fiscal sector. In particular, the dynamics of spending and revenue variables are modeled as feedback rules with respect to the cyclical components of output, hours worked and private investment. Based on the estimated rules, fiscal shocks are identified. According to the results, fiscal policy, in particular public consumption, investment, and transfers prevented a sharper and prolonged decline of German output at the beginning of the Great Recession, suggesting a timely response of fiscal policy. The overall effects, however, are small when compared to other domestic and international shocks that contributed to the economic downturn. Our overall findings are not sensitive to considering fiscal foresight.
Expectation Formation, Financial Frictions, and Forecasting Performance of Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium Models
Historical Social Research,
Special Issue: Governing by Numbers
In this paper, we document the forecasting performance of estimated basic dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) models and compare this to extended versions which consider alternative expectation formation assumptions and financial frictions. We also show how standard model features, such as price and wage rigidities, contribute to forecasting performance. It turns out that neither alternative expectation formation behaviour nor financial frictions can systematically increase the forecasting performance of basic DSGE models. Financial frictions improve forecasts only during periods of financial crises. However, traditional price and wage rigidities systematically help to increase the forecasting performance.
On DSGE Models
Journal of Economic Perspectives,
The outcome of any important macroeconomic policy change is the net effect of forces operating on different parts of the economy. A central challenge facing policymakers is how to assess the relative strength of those forces. Economists have a range of tools that can be used to make such assessments. Dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) models are the leading tool for making such assessments in an open and transparent manner. We review the state of mainstream DSGE models before the financial crisis and the Great Recession. We then describe how DSGE models are estimated and evaluated. We address the question of why DSGE modelers—like most other economists and policymakers—failed to predict the financial crisis and the Great Recession, and how DSGE modelers responded to the financial crisis and its aftermath. We discuss how current DSGE models are actually used by policymakers. We then provide a brief response to some criticisms of DSGE models, with special emphasis on criticism by Joseph Stiglitz, and offer some concluding remarks.
Monetary-fiscal Policy Interaction and Fiscal Inflation: A Tale of Three Countries
European Economic Review,
We study the impact of the interaction between fiscal and monetary policy on the low-frequency relationship between the fiscal stance and inflation using cross-country data from 1965 to 1999. In a first step, we contrast the monetary–fiscal narrative for Germany, the U.S., and Italy with evidence obtained from simple regression models and a time-varying VAR. We find that the low-frequency relationship between the fiscal stance and inflation is low during periods of an independent central bank and responsible fiscal policy and more pronounced in times of non-responsible fiscal policy and accommodative monetary authorities. In a second step, we use an estimated DSGE model to interpret the low-frequency measure structurally and to illustrate the mechanisms through which fiscal actions affect inflation in the long run. The findings from the DSGE model suggest that switches in the monetary–fiscal policy interaction and accompanying variations in the propagation of structural shocks can well account for changes in the low-frequency relationship between the fiscal stance and inflation.