This paper presents a model displaying sustained growth in output resulting from the accumulation of knowledge. The accumulation of knowledge is endogenous, determined by a level of study chosen by optimizing agents. Although knowledge can be owned and sold, its equilibrium price is below its value to future production, implying that the equilibrium suffers from a Paretononoptimal underaccumulation of knowledge. These features of the equilibrium result from two special properties of knowledge: (i) an agent's stock of knowledge is undiminished by the transmission of that knowledge to someone else and (ii) the transmission of knowledge cannot be fully observed.
We examine the effect of regularly scheduled macroeconomic announcements on the beliefs and preferences of participants in the U. S. Treasury market by comparing the option-implied state-price density (SPD) of bond prices shortly before and after the announcements. We find that the announcements reduce the uncertainty implicit in the second moment of the SPD regardless of the content of the news. The changes in the higher-order moments, in contrast, depend on whether the news is good or bad for economic prospects. Using a standard model for interest rates to disentangle changes in beliefs and changes in preferences, we demonstrate that our results are consistent with the time-varying risk aversion in the spirit of habit formation.
Forecasts are an inherent part of economic science and the quest for perfect foresight occupies economists and researchers in multiple fields. The release of economic forecasts (and its revisions) is a popular and often publicized event, with a multitude of institutions and think-tanks devoted almost exclusively to that task. The European Central Bank (ECB) also publishes its forecasts for the euro area, however ECB’s forecast accuracy is not a deeply researched theme. The ECB forecasts’ accuracy is the main point developed in this paper, which tries to contribute to understand the nature of the errors committed by the ECB forecasts and its main differences compared to other projections. What we try to infer is whether the ECB is accurate in its projections, making less errors than the others, maybe due to some informational advantage. We conclude that the ECB seems to consistently underestimate the HICP inflation rate and overestimate GDP growth. Comparing it with the others, the ECB shows a superior performance, committing almost always fewer errors. So, this signals a possible informational advantage from the ECB. Since the forecasting errors could jeopardize ECB’s credibility public criticism could be avoided if the ECB simply let forecasts for the others. Naturally, this change should be weighted against the benefits of publishing forecasts.
The monetary and payment system consequences of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks are reviewed and compared to selected U.S. banking crises. Interbank payment disruptions appear to be the central feature of all the crises reviewed. For some the initial trigger is a credit shock, while for others the initial shock is technological and operational, as in September 11, but for both types the payments system effects are similar. For various reasons, interbank payment disruptions appear likely to recur. Federal Reserve credit extension following September 11 succeeded in massively increasing the supply of banks’ balances to satisfy the disruption-induced increase in demand and thereby ameliorate the effects of the shock. Relatively benign banking conditions helped make Fed credit policy manageable. An interbank payment disruption that coincided with less favorable banking conditions could be more difficult to manage, given current daylight credit policies.
Matching university places to students is not as clear cut or as straightforward as it ought to be. By investigating the matching algorithm used by the German central clearinghouse for university admissions in medicine and related subjects, we show that a procedure designed to give an advantage to students with excellent school grades actually harms them. The reason is that the three-step process employed by the clearinghouse is a complicated mechanism in which many students fail to grasp the strategic aspects involved. The mechanism is based on quotas and consists of three procedures that are administered sequentially, one for each quota. Using the complete data set of the central clearinghouse, we show that the matching can be improved for around 20% of the excellent students while making a relatively small percentage of all other students worse off.
This paper investigates the determinants of business cycle comovement between countries. Our dataset includes over 100 countries, both developed and developing. We search for variables that are “robust” in explaining comovement, using the approach of Leamer (1983). Variables considered are (i) bilateral trade between countries; (ii) total trade in each country; (iii) sectoral structure; (iv) similarity in export and import baskets; (v) factor endowments; and (vi) gravity variables. We find that bilateral trade is robust. However, two variables that the literature has argued are important for business cycles - industrial structure and currency unions - are found not to be robust.
Previous models of rules versus discretion are extended to include uncertainty about the policymaker's ‘type’. When people observe low inflation, they raise the possibility that the policymaker is committed to low inflation (type 1). This enhancement of reputation gives the uncommitted policymaker (type 2) an incentive to masquerade as the committed type. In the equilibrium the policymaker of type 1 delivers surprisingly low inflation — with corresponding costs to the economy — over an extended interval. The type 2 person mimics this outcome for awhile, but shifts eventually to high inflation. This high inflation is surprising initially, but subsequently becomes anticipated.
The British data from the early 1700s through World War I provide an unmatched opportunity for studying the effects of temporary changes in government purchases. In this paper I examine the effects of these changes on interest rates, the quantity of money, the price level, and budget deficits. Temporary increases in government purchases--showing up in the sample as increases in military outlays during wartime--had positive effects on long-term interest rates. The effect on the growth rate of money (bank notes) was positive only during the two periods of suspension of the gold standard (1797-1821 and 1914-1918). As long as convertibility of bank notes into specie was maintained, there was no systematic relation of government spending to monetary growth. Similarly, the main interplay between temporary government spending and inflation occurred during the periods of suspension. Temporary changes in military spending accounted for the bulk of budget deficits from the early 1700s through 1918. This association explains the main increases in the ratio of the public debt to GNP, as well as the decreases that typically occurred during peacetime. Over the sample of more than two hundred years, I found only two examples of major budget deficits that were unrelated to wartime -- one associated with compensation payments to slaveowners in 1835-36 and the other with a political dispute over the income tax in 1909-10. Because of the "exogeneity" of these deficits, it is interesting that interest rates showed no special movements at these times.
This paper employs a multi-country delegation monetary policy model and argues that a decision-making mechanism based on the median voter theorem where intensity of preferences cannot play a role does not capture important aspects of policy setting in the European Monetary Union. Replacing the median voter mechanism with a less restrictive “weighted mean mechanism”, it is shown that strategic delegation can lead to a surprising degree of central bank inflation aversion. This finding supports the “The Twin Sister Hypothesis” and the perception of the European Central Bank implementing the policy of the Bundesbank rather than a more inflationary monetary policy.
This paper demonstrates that temporal risk aversion makes smoothing consumption over time less attractive, while the usual risk aversion makes it more attractive. As temporal risk aversion increases, the equilibrium interest rate decreases and the equity premium increases. This paper also shows a striking and novel result that an increase in time impatience can lead to either a decrease or an increase in the interest rate depending on the nature of the nonseparability. Copyright 1989 by American Finance Association.
This paper examines the stability of the demand for money in Italy using a newly extended data set for the period 1861 - 1996. We examine how the evolution of the financial system in Italy and policy shifts have affected the behavior of the long-run demand for money, and present tests of structural stability. We find the demand for broad money to be remarkably stable, despite periods of considerable economic turbulence. In addition, we present evidence on the monetary transmission mechanism. Our results shed light on attempts to model long-run relationships in other countries such as the UK and the US.
We examine Swedish business cycle data for 1861-1988 in the time domain as well as in the frequency domain. There is evidence of a business cycle in the form of considerable spectral mass for cycles between three and eight years. The variability of the series varies considerably over time: for most series it is highest in the inter-war period. Relative variability is fairly stable over time: cross-section ratios between moving standard deviations for the series do not change much. Comovements are also stable over time: correlation coefficients do not change much either.
This paper conducts an empirical analysis of the demand for money in Italy using data for the period 1867–1965. It finds that during this time this demand was a stable function of two key variables: permanent income and the rate of interest.
Conventional growth accounting exercises are extended in this paper to allow for endogeneity of capital, demographic transitions, age dependency, and employment rates, among other factors. Using data for the OECD countries in the period 1870–2006 it is shown that growth has been predominantly driven by demographics and TFP growth. TFP has, in turn, been driven by R&D, knowledge spillovers through the channel of imports, educational attainment, and the interaction between educational attainment and the distance to the technology frontier. The estimates suggest permanent growth effects of R&D and human capital.
This paper reports empirical evidence on the relation between government budget deficits and the growth of high-powered money in the United States. High-powered money growth appears to be positively related to war spending during periods when such spending is a substantial fraction of GNP. There is little evidence that the growth of high-powered money is related to the non-war government deficit, measured either in cash or in real terms, after controlling for the level of overall economic activity.
This paper examines an hypothesis of Svensson (1994) (Journal of Monetary Economics 33, 157–199) that a credible target zone can confer on a country a degree of independence in the operation of its monetary policy, even when exchange rates are fixed. We test this hypothesis for the Classical gold standard using a newly created monthly data base for the period 1880–1913. Building on the recently noted finding that the Classical gold standard represented a credible, well-behaved, target zone system we propose a number of ways of testing the Svensson’ model. Our main finding is that the Classical gold standard did indeed confer some independence in the operation of monetary policy for participating countries. This would seem to have an important bearing on the kind of institutional framework required for a modern day target zone to function effectively and, in particular, to weather speculative attacks.
This paper calculates indices of central bank autonomy (CBA) for 163 central banks as of end-2003, and comparable indices for a subgroup of 68 central banks as of the end of the 1980s. The results confirm strong improvements in both economic and political CBA over the past couple of decades, although more progress is needed to boost political autonomy of the central banks in emerging market and developing countries. Our analysis confirms that greater CBA has on average helped to maintain low inflation levels. The paper identifies four broad principles of CBA that have been shared by the majority of countries. Significant differences exist in the area of banking supervision where many central banks have retained a key role. Finally, we discuss the sequencing of reforms to separate the conduct of monetary and fiscal policies. IMF Staff Papers (2009) 56, 263–296. doi:10.1057/imfsp.2008.25; published online 23 September 2008
We investigate dollar–sterling exchange rate expectations during the period 1890–1908. We show that the dollar faced a ‘Peso problem’ in that for much of the period financial markets expected it to depreciate against sterling, but this never in fact happened – i.e. expectations were persistently biased. Drawing on the economic history of the period we identify 11 ‘events’ which probably gave rise to realignment expectations. Once the dollar's adherence to the gold standard was settled as a political matter in the 1896 Presidential Election expectations of dollar realignment abruptly subsided and United States interest rates fell relative to British rates.
A model of strategic asset pricing is used to investigate the increase in interest rates and the formation of cash syndicates that can occur during privately financed banking crises. Results produced help to explain the Federal Reserve System's creation following the panic of 1907 and to clarify the Fed's role in financing contemporary banking crises.
1. lmoduction Economists have long bemoaned the lack of statistical series on; marginal tax rates. However, it turns out that the appropriate series can be constructed fairly easily from data reported in Statt'stics ST 1rtcome, published annually by the U.S. Treasury Department. These series are truly marginal rates and thus are a considerable improvement over the average: tax rate proxies that economists hnve had to use heretofore.* They should prove especially useful in computing after-tax rates of return. My estimaltes of the marginal personal and corpora& income tax rates are reported in tables 1 and ".. In analyzing the behavior of the series, I first examine the t:ime series behavior al" the average marginal personal and corporate tax rates. These rates are those facing the representative individual or firm. These rates' behavior can be explained by a very few variables. Besides being Lnteresting in themselves, these results also are interesting because they shed light on Barto's (1979) recent explana:ion of deficit finance. I next analyze the behavior over time of the entire graduation slructure of tax. This analysis is of the cross-section tim+series type, ional element being the variation of marginal tax rates across income levels within e;ich year. This analysis not only shows how the: *I thank Hendrik S. Houthakkcr Lx encouraging me to pursue the research reported in Part 3. R&et% I..man and,.an anonymous r&r% for. helpful comments, and Leslie A. Forster fur aJrceknt assistam. '.FCYF example, Christensen and Jorgensen (1973) compute an efkctzve tax rate on labor compensation as the ratio of taxes an labor income to labor income including taxes.
New indicators of technological change in the US based on information drawn from the catalogue of the Library of Congress for the period 1909–1949 are developed and used to pinpoint the relationship, first, between technical change and economic activity, and, second, between fluctuations in innovative activity and the Great Depression. Although links between technological change, output and productivity are found, results suggest that the slowdown in technological progress in the early 1930s did not contribute significantly to the Great Depression. On the other hand, the remarkable acceleration in innovations after 1934 did play a role in the recovery.
Models in which fiscal and monetary authorities cooperate to minimize the distortionary costs of raising revenue to finance an exogenous stream of government expenditures are shown to have implications for the long-run relationships between government expenditures, tax revenues and seigniorage. First, tax and seigniorage revenue should be cointegrated. Second, the cointegrating vector linking taxes and seigniorage should be only one of the cointegrating vectors linking expenditures, tax revenues and seigniorage. Third, the deficit net-of-interest should be nonstationary. These implications are tested using annual U.S. data from the period 1914 to 1986. The data reject all three implications of the theory.
We develop a method for measuring the amount of insurance the portfolio of government liabilities provides against scal shocks, and apply it to postwar US data. We de ne scal shocks as surprises in defense spending. Our results indicate that the US federal government is partially hedged against wars and other surprise increases in defense expenditures. Seven percent of the total cost of defense spending shocks in the postwar era was absorbed by lower real returns on the federal government's outstanding liabilities. More than half of this is due to reductions in expected future, rather than contemporaneous, holding returns on government debt. This implies that changes in US government's scal position help predict future bond returns. Our results also have implications for active management of government debt.
The research programme developed by economists at the ILO in the 1920s constitutes a substantive precursor to modern discussions on the role of monetary policy and the status of the price stability norm in particular. A combination of theory and empirical work formed the basis of a monetary approach to the business cycle developed in Geneva. The proposed policy of price level stabilisation presumed that an elastic target of price stability was a necessary condition for (eventual) high and stable employment. The instruments, indicator variables and `rules' of the proposed regime are examined. The Geneva economists founded their arguments on, among other things, politically independent but internationally collaborative central banks, and consistent use of a range of data sources in the conduct of monetary policy. Over time the reputation and credibility of monetary authorities would then be enhanced. In the evolution of the monetary policy `rules' versus `discretion' debate, the contribution of the Geneva economists should be accorded a central place.
This paper describes the monetary sector in the Hickman-Ceen medium-range forecasting model, which is estimated on annual data from 1924 to 1966. A characterization of the individual bank as a profit maximizing firm is used to derive a ‘portfolio-balance’ model of the money supply mechanism. The estimation results: suggest that, for the sample period at least, M2 is the appropriate definition of money; corroborate earlier findings that there is no evidence of a so-called ‘low-level liquidity trap’ in the Thirties; confirm the reliability of earlier annual- data estimates of the demand for money; and provide indirect evidence that non-monetary disturbances to macroeconomic equilibrium were relatively unimportant during the sample period.
Barro's tax smoothing hypothesis (TSH) implies that the government runs a 'budget deficit' whenever it anticipates the growth rate of national income to increase or the growth rate of its expenditure to decline. We test this implication of the hypothesis by examining the implied cross-equation restrictions on a vector autoregression (VAR) model using US. data for the period ranging from 1929 to 1988. Our formal tests reject the hypothesis for the full sample period, but cannot reject it for the post-1947 period. Further investigations show that the statistical rejection should be attributed to sharp differences in the statistical properties of the pre-1947 and the post-1947 data rather than the failure of the hypothesis itself.
This paper examines the conduct and the effects of Swedish monetary policy in the 1930's. Three major conclusions emerge from the study: (1) The conduct of monetary policy specifically the devaluation of the Swedish currency in 1931 and the subsequent program of price stabilization, had a major effect on the aggregative behavior of the Swedish economy in the 1930's. (2) The impact of the new fiscal policy was insignificant compared to the effects of monetary measures and international developments. (3) The framing of Swedish monetary policy in the 1930's was strongly influenced by Wicksell's norm of price stabilization and the recommendations of the old generation of monetary economists represented by Gustav Cassel and Eli Heckscher.
Although it is well known that marginal income tax rates vary with income, few economists have studied the effect on real GDP of the distribution of marginal income tax rates. This omission is probably because data on the distribution do not exist. We remedy this shortcoming by providing a computer program that calculates marginal income tax rates for all income levels for the years 1930 to 1990. We conduct a preliminary empirical investigation into the effect of taxes on economic growth. We find that lowering taxes significantly raises economic growth and that changing the tax rate schedule also has significant effects on economic growth.