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Working Papers

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis working papers are preliminary materials circulated to stimulate discussion and critical comment.

Recent Working Papers

Why Are Exchange Rates So Smooth? A Segmented Asset Markets Explanation

Empirical work on asset prices suggests that pricing kernels have to be almost perfectly correlated across countries. If they are not, real exchange rates are too smooth to be consistent with high Sharpe ratios in asset markets.

The Sufficient Statistic Approach: Predicting the Top of the Laffer Curve

We provide a formula for the tax rate at the top of the Laffer curve as a function of three elasticities. Our formula applies to static models and to steady states of dynamic models.

Interbank Markets and Banking Crises: New Evidence on the Establishment and Impact of the Federal Reserve

This paper examines the impact of the Federal Reserve’s founding on seasonal pressures and contagion risk in the interbank system.

Natural Resources and Global Misallocation

How efficiently are physical and human capital allocated across countries? Observing differences in the countries' ratios of physical and human capital to output is not conclusive evidence of distortions since those differences may be driven by factor intensity differences in the countries' production functions.

Explaining Cross-Cohort Differences in Life Cycle Earnings

Earnings growth has been systematically decreasing from one cohort to the next, starting with the cohort that was 25-year-old in 1940. This cohort's labor earnings grew by a factor of 4 between the ages of 25 and 55.

A Racial Inequality Trap

Why has the U.S. black/white earnings gap remained around 40 percent for nearly 40 years? This paper's answer consists of a model of skill accumulation and neighborhood formation featuring a trap: Initial racial inequality and racial preferences induce racial segregation and asymmetric skill accumulation choices that perpetuate racial inequality.

Mortgages and Monetary Policy

Mortgages are long-term nominal loans. Under incomplete asset markets, monetary policy is shown to affect housing investment and the economy through the cost of new mortgage borrowing and the value of payments on outstanding debt. These channels, distinct from traditional transmission of monetary policy, are evaluated within a general equilibrium model.

Interest Rate Dynamics, Variable-Rate Loan Contracts, and the Business Cycle

The interest rate at which US firms borrow funds has two features: (i) it moves in a countercyclical fashion and (ii) it is an inverted leading indicator of real economic activity: low interest rates forecast booms in GDP, consumption, investment, and employment.

Specification and Estimation of Bayesian Dynamic Factor Models: A Monte Carlo Analysis with an Application to Global House Price Comovement

We compare methods to measure comovement in business cycle data using multi-level dynamic factor models. To do so, we employ a Monte Carlo procedure to evaluate model performance for different specifications of factor models across three different estimation procedures.

Real-Time Forecasting with a Large, Mixed Frequency, Bayesian VAR

We assess point and density forecasts from a mixed-frequency vector autoregression (VAR) to obtain intra-quarter forecasts of output growth as new information becomes available.

A State-Level Analysis of Okun's Law

Okun's law is an empirical relationship that measures the correlation between the deviation of the unemployment rate from its natural rate and the deviation of output growth from its potential.

Breaking the Curse of Kareken and Wallace with Private Information

We study the endogenous choice to accept fiat objects as media of exchange and their implications for nominal exchange rate determination. We consider a two-country environment with two currencies which can be used to settle any transactions.

On the Theoretical Efficacy of Quantitative Easing at the Zero Lower Bound

We construct a monetary economy in which agents face aggregate demand shocks and hetero- generous idiosyncratic preference shocks.

Local Fiscal Multipliers, Negative Spillovers and the Macroeconomy

This paper analyzes the impact of within-state military spending and national military spending on a state's employment.

Tests of Equal Accuracy for Nested Models with Estimated Factors

In this paper we develop asymptotics for tests of equal predictive ability between nested models when factor-augmented regression models are used to forecast.

Interest on Reserves, Interbank Lending, and Monetary Policy

A two-sector general equilibrium banking model is constructed to study the functioning of a floor system of central bank intervention.

Credit Search and Credit Cycles

The supply and demand of credit are not always well aligned and matched, as is reflected in the countercyclical excess reserve-to-deposit ratio and interest spread between the lending rate and the deposit rate.

Multidimensional Skill Mismatch

What determines the earnings of a worker relative to his peers in the same occupation? What makes a worker fail in one occupation but succeed in another? More broadly, what are the factors that determine the productivity of a worker-occupation match? In this paper, we propose an empirical measure of skill mismatch for a worker-occupation match, which sheds light on these questions.

The Evolution of Scale Economies in U.S. Banking

Continued consolidation of the U.S. banking industry and general increase in the size of banks has prompted some policymakers to consider policies to discourage banks from getting larger, including explicit caps on bank size.

Estimation of Dynastic Life-Cycle Discrete Choice Models

This paper explores the estimation of a class of life-cycle discrete choice intergenerational models. It proposes a new semiparametric estimator.

What is the source of the intergenerational correlation in earnings?

This paper uses a dynastic model of household behavior to estimate and decomposed the correlations in earnings across generations.

What Accounts for the Racial Gap in Time Allocation and Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital?

This paper analyzes the sources of the racial difference in the intergenerational transmission of human capital by developing and estimating a dynastic model of parental time and monetary inputs in early childhood with endogenous fertility, home hours, labor supply, marriage, and divorce.

Was Sarbanes-Oxley Costly? Evidence from Optimal Contracting on CEO Compensation

This paper develops measures of the costs and benefits of governance regulations within a dynamic principal agent model of hidden information and moral hazard following the passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX).

On the Need for a Replication Journal

There is very little replication of research in economics, particularly compared with other sciences.

Current Federal Reserve Policy Under the Lens of Economic History: A Review Essay

This review essay is intended as a critical review of Humpage (2015), and it expands on the issues raised in that volume.

Local Polynomial Regressions versus OLS for Generating Location Value Estimates: Which is More Efficient in Out-of-Sample Forecasts?

As an alternative to ordinary least squares (OLS), we estimate location values for single family houses using a standard housing price and characteristics dataset by local polynomial regressions (LPR), a semi-parametric procedure.

Natural Resources and Global Misallocation

We explore the efficiency in the allocation of physical capital and human capital across countries.

FRED-MD: A Monthly Database for Macroeconomic Research

This paper describes a large, monthly frequency, macroeconomic database with the goal of establishing a convenient starting point for empirical analysis that requires "big data."

Banker Preferences, Interbank Connections, and the Enduring Structure of the Federal Reserve System

Established by a three person Reserve Bank Organization Committee (RBOC) in 1914, the structure of the Federal Reserve System has remained essentially unchanged ever since, despite criticism at the time and over ensuing decades.

Optimal Monetary Policy at the Zero Lower Bound

We study optimal monetary policy at the zero lower bound. The macroeconomy we study has considerable income inequality which gives rise to a large private sector credit market.

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