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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

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.

Rehypothecation and Liquidity

Rehypothecation refers to the practice of spending a borrowed security that is ostensibly assigned as collateral in a lending arrangement. We develop a dynamic general equilibrium monetary model where an “asset shortage” and incomplete markets motivates the formation of credit relationships and the rehypothecation of assets.

Scarcity of Safe Assets, Inflation, and the Policy Trap

We construct a model in which all consolidated government debt is used in transactions, with money being more widely acceptable.

Institutions Do Not Rule: Reassessing the Driving Forces of Economic Development

We use cross-country data and instrumental variables widely used in the literature to show that (i) institutions (such as property rights and the rule of law) do not explain industrialization and (ii) agrarian countries and industrial countries have entirely different determinants for income levels.

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.

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.

Universal Basic Income versus Unemployment Insurance

In this paper we compare the welfare effects of unemployment insurance (UI) with an universal basic income (UBI) system in an economy with idiosyncratic shocks to employment. Both policies provide a safety net in the face of idiosyncratic shocks.

Technology Innovation and Diffusion as Sources of Output and Asset Price Fluctuations

We develop a model in which innovations in an economy's growth potential are an important driving force of the business cycle.

Reaction Functions in a Small Open Economy: What Role for Non-traded Inflation?

I develop a structural general equilibrium model and estimate it for New Zealand using Bayesian techniques.

A Theory of Targeted Search

We endogenize the degree of randomness in the matching process by proposing a model where agents have to pay a search cost to locate potential matches more accurately. The model features a tension between an agent's desire to find a more productive match and to maximize the odds of finding a match.

Sovereign Default and Maturity Choice

We develop a quantitative model of sovereign debt maturity choice and the term structure of bond yields in the presence of default risk.

Fiscal Policy Spillovers: Points of Employment to Places of Residence

This paper studies the effects of interregional spillovers from the government spending component of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (the Recovery Act). Using cross-county Census Journey to Work commuting data, we cluster U.S. counties into local labor markets, each of which we further partition into two subregions.

Rural-Urban Migration, Structural Transformation, and Housing Markets in China

This paper explores the contribution of the structural transformation and urbanization process in the housing market in China. City migration ‡flows combined with an inelastic land supply, due to entry restrictions, has raised house prices.

Three Scenarios for Interest Rates in the Transition to Normalcy

This article develops time-series models to represent three alternative, potential monetary policy regimes as monetary policy returns to normal. The first regime is a return to the high and volatile inflation rate of the 1970s.

Low Real Interest Rates, Collateral Misrepresentation, and Monetary Policy

A model is constructed in which households and banks have incent- ives to fake the quality of collateral. These incentive problems matter when collateral is scarce in the aggregate – when real interest rates are low.

Occupational Hazards and Social Disability Insurance

Using retrospective data, we introduce evidence that occupational exposure significantly affects disability risk. Incorporating this into a general equilibrium model, social disability insurance (SDI) affects welfare through (i) the classic, risk-sharing channel and (ii) a new channel of occupational reallocation.

The 2009 Recovery Act: Stimulus at the Extensive and Intensive Labor Margins

This paper studies the effect of government stimulus spending on a novel aspect of the labor market: the differential impact of spending on the total wage bill versus employment. We analyze the 2009 Recovery Act via instrumental variables using a new instrument, the spending done by federal agencies that were not instructed to target funds towards harder hit regions.

The Great Housing Boom of China

China’s housing prices have been growing nearly twice as fast as national income over the past decade, despite a high vacancy rate and a high rate of return to capital. This paper interprets China’s housing boom as a rational bubble emerging naturally from its economic transition.

Financial Stress Regimes and the Macroeconomy

We identify financial stress regimes using a model that explicitly links financial variables with the macroeconomy.

How Has Empirical Monetary Policy Analysis Changed After the Financial Crisis?

In the wake of the Great Recession, the Federal Reserve lowered the federal funds rate (FFR) target essentially to zero and resorted to unconventional monetary policy. With the nominal FFR constrained by the zero lower bound (ZLB) for an extended period, empirical monetary models cannot be estimated as usual.

Corporate Income Tax, Legal Form of Organization, and Employment

We adopt a dynamic stochastic occupational choice model with heterogeneous agents and evaluate the impact of a potential reduction in the corporate income tax on employment.

Taxing Top Earners: A Human Capital Perspective

We assess the consequences of substantially increasing the marginal tax rate on U.S. top earners using a human capital model.

QE: When and How Should the Fed Exit?

The essence of Quantitative Easing (QE) is to reduce the costs of private borrowing through large-scale purchases of privately issue debts, instead of public debts (Ben Bernanke, 2009).

The Cost of Business Cycles with Heterogeneous Trading Technologies

This paper investigates the welfare cost of business cycles in an economy where households have heterogeneous trading technologies.

Implications of Heterogeneity in Preferences, Beliefs and Asset Trading Technologies in an Endowment Economy

This paper analyzes and computes the equilibria of economies with large numbers of heterogeneous agents who have different asset trading technologies, preferences and beliefs.

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