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

International

Sovereign Debt Restructurings

Sovereign debt crises generally involve debt restructurings characterized by a mix of face-value haircuts and debt maturity extensions. We develop a quantitative model of endogenous sovereign debt maturity choice and restructuring that captures key stylized facts of debt over the business cycle and during restructuring episodes, including the variation of haircuts, maturity extensions and default duration found in the data. We also find that policy interventions implementing minimum haircuts and redistributing losses away from holders of short term debt improve the outcome of distressed debt restructurings and reduce the frequency of debt distress events. Methodologically, the use of dynamic discrete choice solution methods allows us to smooth decision rules on default and debt portfolio choices, rendering the problem tractable.

Trade in Commodities and Business Cycle Volatility

This paper studies the role of the patterns of production and international trade on the higher business cycle volatility of emerging economies. We study a multi-sector small open economy in which firms produce and trade commodities and manufactures. We estimate the model to match key cross-sectional differences across countries: emerging economies run trade surpluses in commodities and trade deficits in manufactures, while sectoral trade flows are balanced in developed economies. We find that these differences amplify the response of emerging economies to fluctuations in commodity prices. We show evidence consistent with these findings using cross-country data.

Offshoring Barriers, Regulatory Burden and National Welfare

We present a model which considers both regulatory burden of offshoring barriers and possible terms of trade gains from such barriers. Non-tariff barriers are shown to be unambiguously welfare-reducing, and tariff barriers raise welfare only when associated terms-of-trade gains exceed resulting regulatory burdens, in which case there is a positive optimal offshoring tax. Otherwise, free trade is optimal. Welfare reductions from an offshoring tax are more likely with several developed nations engaging in offshoring. We derive and characterize the Nash equilibrium in such a case.

Knowledge diffusion, trade and innovation across countries and sectors

We develop and quantify a multi-country and multi-sector endogenous growth model in which comparative advantage and the stock of knowledge are endogenously determined by innovation and knowledge diffusion. We quantify the effect of trade liberalization on innovation, comparative advantage and welfare in a framework that features intersectoral production and knowledge linkages that are consistent with the data. A reduction in trade frictions induces a reallocation of innovation and comparative advantage across sectors: innovation reallocates towards sectors that experience larger increases in comparative advantage, and comparative advantage reallocates towards sectors with stronger knowledge spillovers. Furthermore, knowledge spillovers amplify the effect of a trade liberalization as countries and sectors benefit from foreign technology. In contrast to standard one sector models of trade and innovation without knowledge spillovers, we find significant dynamic gains from trad e. These gains are mainly driven by innovation and knowledge diffusion across sectors and countries.

The exchange rate as an instrument of monetary policy

Monetary policy research in small open economies has typically focused on “corner solutions”: either the currency rate is fixed by the central bank, or it is left to be determined by market forces. We build an open-economy model with external habits to study the properties of a new class of monetary policy rules in which the monetary authority uses the exchange rate as the instrument. Different from a Taylor rule, the monetary authority announces the rate of expected currency appreciation by taking into account inflation and output fluctuations. We find that the exchange rate rule outperforms a standard Taylor rule in terms of welfare, regardless of the policy parameter values. The differences are driven by: (i) the behavior of the nominal exchange rate and interest rates under each rule, and (ii) deviations from UIP due to a time-varying risk premium.

The response of multinationals’ foreign exchange rate

We use intraday data to estimate the daily foreign exchange exposure of U.S. multinationals and show that macroeconomic news affects these firms’ foreign exchange exposure. News creates a substantial shift in the joint distribution of stock and exchange rate returns that has both a transitory and a persistent component. For example, a positive domestic demand surprise, as reflected in higher-than-expected nonfarm payroll, increases the value of the low-exposure domestic activities and results in a persistent decrease in foreign exchange exposure.

Truncated Firm Productivity Distributions and Trade Margins

A standard theoretical prediction is that average exports are independent of tariff rates when the underlying distribution of firm productivities is assumed to be the widely-used Pareto distribution. Assuming that the underlying distribution has no upper bound is undoubtedly inaccurate and produces theoretical results at odds with empirical results. In contrast, we show that upper-truncation of the Pareto distribution makes average exports rise with trade liberalization. This result is derived analytically, and is supported by simulations. We extend our analysis to the cases of lognormal and Fréchet distributions, which are also frequently used by trade economists. Our findings for lognormal and Fréchet distributions are qualitatively similar to the findings using the truncated Pareto.

Terms-of-Trade and Counterterrorism Externalities

This paper investigates the interplay of trade and terrorism externalities under free trade between a developed nation that exports a manufactured good to and imports a primary product from a developing nation. A terrorist organization targets both nations and reduces its attacks in response to a nation’s defensive counterterrorism efforts, while transferring some of its attacks abroad. Terms-of-trade considerations lead the developed nation to raise its counterterrorism level beyond the “small-country” level, thus compounding its overprovision of these measures. By contrast, the developing nation limits its defensive countermeasures below that of the small-country level. This asymmetry is a novel finding. The analysis is extended to include proactive countermeasures to weaken the terrorist group. Again, the developed country raises its efforts owing to the terms-of-trade externality, which now opposes the underprovision associated with proactive efforts. A sec ond extension allows for several developing-country exporters of the primary product.

Financial Frictions and Export Dynamics in Large Devaluations

We study the role of financial frictions and balance-sheet effects in accounting for the dynamics of aggregate exports in large devaluations. We investigate a small open economy with heterogeneous firms, where firms face financing constraints and debt can be denominated in foreign units. We find that these channels can explain only a small fraction of the dynamics of exports observed in the data. While these frictions distort production and investment decisions, they affect exports significantly less since firms reallocate sales across markets in response to real exchange rate changes. We document the importance of this mechanism using plant-level data.

Systematic Cojumps, Market Component Portfolios and Scheduled Macroeconomic Announcements,

This study provides evidence of common bivariate jumps (i.e., systematic cojumps) between the market index and style-sorted portfolios. Systematic cojumps are prevalent in book-to-market portfolios and hence, their risk cannot easily be diversified away by investing in growth or value stocks. Nonetheless, large-cap firms have less exposure to systematic cojumps than small-cap firms. Probit regression reveals that systematic cojump occurrences are significantly associated with worse-than-expected scheduled macroeconomic announcements, especially those pertaining to the Federal Funds target rate. Tobit regression shows that Federal Funds news surprises are also significantly related to the magnitude of systematic cojumps.

Capital Goods Trade, Relative Prices, and Economic Development

International trade in capital goods has quantitatively important effects on economic development through capital formation and TFP. Capital goods trade enables poor countries to access more efficient technologies, leading to lower relative prices of capital goods and higher capital-output ratios. Moreover, poor countries can use their comparative advantage and allocate their resources more efficiently, and increase their TFP. We quantify these channels using a multisector, multicountry, Ricardian model of trade with capital accumulation. The model matches several trade and development facts within a unified framework. Frictionless trade in capital goods reduces the income gap between rich and poor countries by 40 percent. More than half of the reduction in the income gap is due to the TFP channel.

Capital Accumulation and Dynamic Gains from Trade

We compute welfare gains from trade in a dynamic, multicountry model with capital accumulation and trade imbalances. We develop a gradient-free method to compute the exact transition paths for 44 countries following a trade liberalization. We fi nd that (i) the gains are negatively correlated with size, measured by total real GDP, (ii) larger countries accumulate a current account surplus and financial resources flow from larger countries to smaller countries boosting consumption in the latter, (iii) countries with larger short-run trade defi cits accumulate capital faster, (iv) the gains are nonlinear in the reduction in trade costs, and (v) capital accumulation accounts for substantial gains. The net foreign asset (NFA) position before the liberalization and the intensities of tradables in investment goods production and consumption goods production are quantitatively important for the gains.

International Trade and Intertemporal Substitution

This paper studies the role of international trade delivery lags and variation in the intertemporal marginal rate of substitution in accounting for puzzling features of cyclical fluctuations of international trade volumes. Our insight is that, because international trade is time-intensive, variation in the rate at which agents are willing to substitute across time affects how trade volumes respond to changes in output and prices. We calibrate our model to match key features of U.S. data and discipline the variation in the intertemporal marginal rate of substitution using asset price data. We find that our model is quantitatively consistent with U.S. cyclical import fluctuations.

The Effects of Terror on International Air Passenger Transport: An Empirical Invstigation

This paper presents a theoretical model (adapted from the structural gravity model by Anderson and van Wincoop, 2003) to capture the effects of terrorism on air passenger traffic between nations affected by terrorism. We then use equations derived from this model, in conjunction with alternative functional forms for trade costs, to estimate the effects of terrorism on bilateral air passenger flows from 57 source countries to 25 destination countries for the period of 2000 to 2014. We find that an additional terrorist incident results in approximately a 1.2% decrease in the bilateral air passenger transport per unit distance while doubling of the accumulated terrorist incidents during the past 5 years reduces it by 18%. Terrorism adversely impacts the bilateral air passenger transport per unit distance both by reducing national output and especially by increasing psychological distress, which could be an important contributing factor in perceived travel costs. Last but not the least, we show that the responsiveness of international air travel to terrorism critically depends on the nature of the terrorist attacks. Specifically, international air passenger transport is found to be extremely sensitive to fatal terrorist attacks and terrorist attacks of targets such as airports, transportation or tourists.

Chinese Foreign Exchange Reserves, Policy Choices and the U.S. Economy

China is both a major trading partner of the United States and the largest official holder of U.S. assets in the world. The value of Chinese foreign exchange reserves peaked at just over $4 trillion in June 2014, but has since declined to $3.19 trillion as of August 2016. This very large decline is in foreign exchange reserves is unprecedented and some analysts have speculated that continued sales of these (mostly U.S.) assets might significantly impact the U.S. and global economies. This article explains the reasons for this large decline in official assets, what China’s policy choices are, and how these choices could affect the U.S. economy.

Markets, Externalities, and the Dynamic Gains of Openness

Inflows of foreign knowledge are the key for developing countries to catch up with the world technology frontier. In this paper, I construct a simple tractable model to analyze (a) the incentives of foreign firms to bring their know-how to a developing country and (b) the incentives of domestic firms to invest in their own know-how, given the exposure to foreign ideas and competition. The model embeds two diffusion mechanisms typically considered separately in the literature: externalities and markets. The dynamic gains of openness can be substantial under either mechanism, but their relative preponderance significantly changes the dynamic implications of openness. Notably, openness allows developing countries to fully catch up only when market transactions fully dominate the diffusion of ideas. While externalities can also push domestic firms to upgrade their productivity, the equilibrium exposure to ideas in the country remains below the frontier and domestic firms never catch up.

A Survey of the Empirical Literature on U.S. Unconventional Monetary Policy

This paper reviews and critically evaluates the empirical literature on the effects of U.S. unconventional monetary policy on both financial markets and the real economy. In order to understand how such policies could work, we also briefly review the literature on the theory of such policies. We show that event studies provide very strong evidence that U.S. unconventional policy announcements have strongly influenced international bond yields, exchange rates, and equity prices in the desired manner. In addition, such studies indicate that such policies curtailed market perceptions of extreme events. Calibrated modeling and vector autoregressive (VAR) exercises strongly suggest that these policies significantly improved macroeconomic outcomes, raising U.S. GDP and CPI, through these changes in asset prices. Both event studies and VARs imply positive international spillovers of such policies.

Openness and the Optimal Taxation of Foreign Know-How

Developing countries frequently offer tax incentives and even subsidize the entry and operation of foreign firms. I examine the optimality of such policies in an economy where growth is driven by entrepreneurial know-how, a skill that is continuously updated on the basis of the productive ideas implemented in the country. Openness allows foreign ideas to disseminate inside a country and can foster the country’'s domestic accumulation of know- how. With externalities, however, laissez-faire openness is suboptimal and can be growth-and even welfare-reducing. I examine the gains from openness under an optimal taxation program –the self-funding taxes on domestic and foreign …firms that maximize the welfare of the recipient country, subject to the equilibrium behavior of national and foreign firms. Under optimal taxation, openness is always welfare enhancing and leads lagging countries to catch up with the world frontier. Yet, a country may want to subsidize the entry of foreign …firms only if it can also subsidize the domestic accumulation of know-how. I also consider the optimal tax program under a number of restrictions that developing countries typically face. For instance, a country must not subsidize entry of foreign firms if doing so requires taxing the concurrent cohort of domestic firms. Similarly, an international agreement that requires equal taxation of domestic and foreign firms can be welfare reducing for a country close to the knowledge frontier.

Disentangling the Wage Impacts of Offshoring on a Developing Country: Theory and Policy

Does a reduction in offshoring cost benefit workers in the world''s factories in developing countries? Using a parsimonious two-country model of offshoring we find very nuanced results. These include cases where wages monotonically improve, worsen, as well as where wages exhibit an inverted U-shaped relationship with the offshoring cost. We identify qualitative conditions under which these relationships hold. Since global welfare always rises with an improvement in offshoring technology, we find that there is a role for a wage tax or a minimum wage in the developing country. We derive the optimal levels of such policies.

Estimating Border Effects: the Impact of Spatial Aggregation

Trade data are typically reported at the level of regions or countries and are therefore aggregates across space. In this paper, we investigate the sensitivity of standard gravity estimation to spatial aggregation. We build a model in which initially symmetric micro regions are combined to form aggregated macro regions. We then apply the model to the large literature on border effects in domestic and international trade. Our theory shows that larger countries are systematically associated with smaller border effects. The reason is that due to spatial frictions, aggregation across space increases the relative cost of trading within borders. The cost of trading across borders therefore appears relatively smaller. This mechanism leads to border effect heterogeneity and is independent of multilateral resistance effects in general equilibrium. Even if no border frictions exist at the micro level, gravity estimation on aggregate data can still produce large border effects. We test our theory on domestic and international trade flows at the level of U.S. states. Our results confirm the model’s predictions, with quantitatively large effects.

Measuring Openness to Trade

In this paper we derive a new measure of openness—trade potential index—that quantifies the potential gains from trade as a simple function of data. Using a standard multi-country trade model, we measure openness by a country’s potential welfare gain from moving to a world with frictionless trade. In this model, a country’s trade potential depends on only the trade elasticity and two observable statistics: the country’s home trade share and its income level. Quantitatively, poor countries have greater potential gains from trade relative to rich countries, while their welfare costs of autarky are similar. This leads us to infer that rich countries are more open to trade. Our trade potential index correlates strongly with estimates of trade costs, while both the welfare cost of autarky and the volume of trade correlate weakly with trade costs. Thus, our measure of openness is informative about the underlying trade frictions.

Terrorism, Trade and Welfare: Some Paradoxes and a Policy Conundrum

We present a standard trade model and show that terrorism can be trade inducing, starting from autarky. In addition, terrorism can be shown to be welfare augmenting for a group of nations. Finally, we present some qualitative conditions that identify when a nation’s trade volume may rise (or fall) in response to a greater incidence of terrorism. Our trade and welfare results point to potential difficulties in international coordination of counterterrorism policy because of terrorism’s differential impact across nations.

Trade and Terrorism: A Disaggregated Approach

This paper constructs a model of trade consequences of terrorism, where firms in trading nations face different costs arising from domestic and transnational terrorism. Using dyadic dataset in a gravity model, we test terrorism’s effects on overall trade, exports, and imports, while allowing for disaggregation by primary commodities and manufacturing goods. While terrorism has little or no influence on trade of primary products, terrorism reduces trade of manufactured goods. This novel finding pinpoints the avenue by which terrorism harms trade and suggests why previous studies that looked at all trade found modest impacts. Moreover, the detrimental effect of transnational terrorism on total manufactured trade, exports, and imports as well as on various classes of manufactured trade is substantially larger than that of domestic terrorism. Generally, this adverse impact is more pronounced for imports than for exports.

International R&D Spillovers and Asset Prices

We provide new empirical evidence of a relationship between asset prices and trade- Induced international R&D spillovers; in particular, we find that pairs of countries that share more research and development exhibit more highly correlated stock market returns and less volatile exchange rates. We develop an endogenous growth model of innovation and international technology diffusion that accounts for these empirical findings. A calibrated version of the model matches several important asset pricing and quantity moments, which helps explain some of the classical quantity–price puzzles highlighted in the literature on international macroeconomics.

Why Are Exchange Rates So Smooth? A Household Finance Explanation

Empirical moments of asset prices and exchange rates imply that pricing kernels have to be almost perfectly correlated across countries. If they are not, observed real exchange rates are too smooth to be consistent with high Sharpe ratios in asset markets. However, the cross- country correlation of macro fundamentals is far from perfect. We reconcile these empirical facts in a two-country stochastic growth model with heterogeneous trading technologies for households and a home bias in consumption. In our model, only a small fraction of households actively participate in international risk sharing by frequently trading domestic and foreign equities. These active traders, who induce high cross-country correlation to the pricing kernels, are the marginal investors in foreign exchange markets. In a calibrated version of our model, we show that this mechanism can quantitatively account for the excess smoothness of exchange rates in the presence of highly volatile pricing kernels and weakly correlated macro fundamentals.

Natural Resources and Global Misallocation

Are production factors allocated efficiently across countries? To differentiate misallocation from factor intensity differences, we provide a new methodology to estimate output shares of natural resources based solely on current rent flows data. With this methodology, we construct a new dataset of estimates for the output shares of natural resources for a large panel of countries. In sharp contrast with Caselli and Feyrer (2007), we find a significant and persistent degree of misallocation of physical capital. We also find a remarkable movement toward efficiency during last 35 years, associated with the elimination of interventionist policies and driven by domestic accumulation. Interestingly, when both physical and human capital can be reallocated, capital would often flow from poor to rich countries.

Trade and Labor Market Dynamics: General Equilibrium Analysis of the China Trade Shock

We develop a dynamic trade model with spatially distinct labor markets facing varying exposure to international trade. The model captures the role of labor mobility frictions, goods mobility frictions, geographic factors, and input-output linkages in determining equilibrium allocations. We show how to solve the equilibrium of the model and take the model to the data without assuming that the economy is at a steady state and without estimating productivities, migration frictions, or trade costs, which can be difficult to identify. We calibrate the model to 22 sectors, 38 countries, and 50 U.S. states. We study how the rise in China's trade for the period 2000 to 2007 impacted U.S. households across more than a thousand U.S. labor markets distinguished by sector and state. We find that the China trade shock resulted in a reduction of about 0.55 million U.S. manufacturing jobs, about 16% of the observed decline in manufacturing employment from 2000 to 2007. The U.S. gains in the aggregate but, due to trade and migration frictions, the welfare and employment effects vary across U.S. labor markets. Estimated transition costs to the new long-run equilibrium are also heterogeneous and reflect the importance of accounting for labor dynamics.

The experience of the RePEc Plagiarism Committee in economics

RePEc is an open bibliography project driven entirely by volunteers and without a budget. It was created to enhance the dissemination of research in economics by making it more accessible to authors, publishers, and readers: 1800 publishers participate in this initiative, and 44000 authors are registered. Some of those authors became frustrated when their work was plagiarized and no action was taken. Many have asked whether RePEc could take action. The RePEc Plagiarism Committee was created to respond to this request. Because RePEc has no enforcement power, it can only “name and shame” verified offenders. This essay discusses the experience over the first years of the Committee.

Equilibrium Sovereign Default with Exchange Rate Depreciation

This study proposes and quantitatively assesses a terms-of-trade penalty for defaulting: defaulters must exchange more of their own goods for imports, which causes an adjustment to the equilibrium exchange rate. This penalty can take the place of an ad hoc fall in output: Facing only this penalty and temporary exclusion from debt markets, countries are willing to maintain borrowing obligations up to a realistic level of debt. The terms-of-trade penalty is consistent with the observed relationship between sovereign default and a country's trade flows and prices. The defaulter's currency depreciates while trade volume falls drastically. We demonstrate that a default episode can imply up to a 30% real depreciation, which matches observed crisis events in developing countries.

Explaining Educational Attainment Across Countries and over Time

Consider the following facts. In 1950, the richest countries attained an average of 8 years of schooling whereas the poorest countries 1.3 years, a large 6-fold difference. By 2005, the difference in schooling declined to 2-fold because schooling increased faster in poor than in rich countries. What explains educational attainment differences across countries and their evolution over time? We consider an otherwise standard model of schooling featuring non- homothetic preferences and a labor supply margin to assess the quantitative contribution of productivity and life expectancy in explaining educational attainment. A calibrated version of the model accounts for 90 percent of the difference in schooling levels in 1950 between rich and poor countries and 71 percent of the faster increase in schooling over time in poor relative to rich countries. These results suggest an alternative view of the determinants of low education in developing countries that is based on low productivity.


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