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Working Paper Archives

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

Monetary Policy/Macroeconomics

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.

The Value of Constraints on Discretionary Government Policy

This paper investigates how institutional constraints discipline the behavior of discretionary governments subject to an expenditure bias.

Vocational Considerations and Trends in Social Security Disability

Along with health, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) evaluates work-limiting disability by considering vocational factors including age, education, and past work experience. As the number of SSDI applicants and awards has increased, these vocational criteria are increasingly important to acceptances and denials.

Nominal rigidities in debt and product markets

Standard models used for monetary policy analysis rely on sticky prices. Recently, the literature started to explore also nominal debt contracts.

The Visible Hand: The Role of Government in China’s Long-Awaited Industrial Revolution

China is undergoing its long-awaited industrial revolution. There is no shortage of commentary and opinion on this dramatic period, but few have attempted to provide a coherent, in-depth, political economic framework that explains the fundamental mechanisms behind China’s rapid industrialization.

Near-Money Premiums, Monetary Policy, and the Integration of Money Markets:Lessons from Deregulation

The 1960s and 1970s witnessed rapid growth in the markets for new money market instruments, such as negotiable certificates of deposit (CDs) and Eurodollar deposits, as banks and investors sought ways around various regulations affecting funding markets.

Effects of Credit Supply on Unemployment and Inequality

The Great Recession, which was preceded by the financial crisis, resulted in higher unemployment and inequality.

Nonlinearities, Smoothing and Countercyclical Monetary Policy

Empirical analysis of the Fed’s monetary policy behavior suggests that the Fed smooths interest rates— that is, the Fed moves the federal funds rate target in several small steps instead of one large step with the same magnitude.

The Postwar Conquest of the Home Ownership Dream

Post-World War II witnessed the largest housing boom in recent history. This paper develops a quantitative equilibrium model of tenure choice to analyze the key determinants in the co-movement between home-ownership and house prices over the period 1940-1960.

Local and Aggregate Fiscal Policy Multipliers

In this paper, we estimate the effect of defense spending on the U.S. macroeconomy since World War II. First, we construct a new panel dataset of state-level federal defense contracts.

Incentive Compatibility as a Nonnegative Martingale

This paper considers a dynamic Mirrleesian economy and decomposes agents' lifetime incentive compatibility (IC) constraints into a sequence of temporal ones. We encode the frequency and severeness of these temporal IC constraints by their associated Lagrange multipliers,showing that the accumulation of the Lagrange multipliers on the consumption part is a nonnegative martingale.

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.

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.

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 loans with nominal payments. Consequently, under incomplete asset markets, monetary policy can affect housing investment and the economy through the cost of new mortgage borrowing and real payments on outstanding debt.

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.

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.

Nominal Exchange Rate Determinacy Under the Threat of Currency Counterfeiting

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.

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.

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.

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

Established by a three person committee 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.

Fertility Shocks and Equilibrium Marriage-Rate Dynamics

Why did the marriage probability of single females in France after World War 1 rise 50% above its pre-war average, despite a 33% drop in the male/female singles ratio? We conjecture that war-time disruption of the marriage market generated an abnormal abundance of men with relatively high marriage propensities.

The Making of an Economic Superpower―Unlocking China’s Secret of Rapid Industrialization

The rise of China is no doubt one of the most important events in world economic history since the Industrial Revolution. Mainstream economics, especially the institutional theory of development based on a dichotomy of extractive vs. inclusive political institutions, is highly inadequate in explaining China’s rise.

Self-Fulfilling Credit Cycles

In U.S. data 1981–2012, unsecured firm credit moves procyclically and tends to lead GDP, while secured firm credit is acyclical; similarly, shocks to unsecured firm credit explain a far larger fraction of output fluctuations than shocks to secured credit.

Schools and Stimulus

This paper analyzes the impact of the education funding component of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the Recovery Act) on public school districts.

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