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  • Author: Daniel O. Beltran, Laurie Pounder, Charles Thomas
  • Publication Date: 08-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: The financial turmoil which began in August 2007 originated, in part, because investors reassessed the quality of the assets underlying many asset-backed securities (ABS), particularly U.S. mortgages. The prominence of European banks in the early stages of the turmoil created the perception that foreigners held an outsized share of risky U.S. securities and prompted questions of why Europeans were so exposed. This paper evaluates that perception by quantifying foreign exposure to ABS with U.S. underlying collateral. Using the latest survey data on foreign portfolio holdings of U.S. securities, we find that the ultimate losses that foreigners could incur arising from U.S. underlying assets are small relative to most scale variables, although initial total mark-to-market losses are estimated to be significantly larger. Among other reasons for this difference between ultimate and initial losses, we demonstrate that the securitization chain can amplify mark-to-market price declines in the presence of uncertainty or illiquidity. Finally, we show that, relative to the size of the market, foreigners’ holdings of U.S. mortgage-backed securities do not appear to be elevated compared with their holdings of other U.S. assets.
  • Topic: Economics, Financial Crisis, Financial Markets, Mortgages
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: Ceyhun Bora Durdu, Serdar Sayan
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: This paper analyzes the implications of remittance fluctuations for various macroeconomic variables and Sudden Stops. The paper employs a quantitative two-sector model of a small open economy with financial frictions calibrated to Mexican and Turkish economies, two major recipients, whose remittance receipts feature opposite cyclical characteristics. We find that remittances dampen the business cycles in Mexico, whereas they amplify the cycles in Turkey. Their quantitative effects in the long run, approximated by the stochastic steady state are mild. In the short run, however, remittances have quantitatively large impacts on the economy, when the economy is borrowing constrained. This is because agents in the economy cannot adjust their precautionary wealth to sudden tightening in credit, hence, fluctuations in remittances get magnified through an endogenous debt-deflation mechanism. Our findings suggest that procyclical (or countercyclical) remittances can play a significant deepening (or mitigating) role for Sudden Stops.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Credit
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Asia, North America, Mexico
  • Author: Lutz Kilian, Clara Vega
  • Publication Date: 11-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: Models that treat innovations to the price of energy as predetermined with respect to U.S. macroeconomic aggregates are widely used in the literature. For example, it is common to order energy prices first in recursively identified VAR models of the transmission of energy price shocks. Since exactly identifying assumptions are inherently untestable, this approach in practice has required an act of faith in the empirical plausibility of the delay restriction used for identification. An alternative view that would invalidate such models is that energy prices respond instantaneously to macroeconomic news, implying that energy prices should be ordered last in recursively identified VAR models. In this paper, we propose a formal test of the identifying assumption that energy prices are predetermined with respect to U.S. macroeconomic aggregates. Our test is based on regressing cumulative changes in daily energy prices on daily news from U.S. macroeconomic data releases. Using a wide range of macroeconomic news, we find no compelling evidence of feedback at daily or monthly horizons, contradicting the view that energy prices respond instantaneously to macroeconomic news and supporting the use of delay restrictions for identification.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy, Oil, Macroeconomics
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: Seth Pruitt
  • Publication Date: 12-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: An economic agent who is uncertain of her economic model learns, and this learning is sensi- tive to the presence of data measurement error. I investigate this idea in an existing framework that describes the Federal Reserve’s role in U.S. inflation. This framework successfully fits the observed inflation to optimal policy, but fails to motivate the optimal policy by the perceived Philips curve trade-off between inflation and unemployment. I modify the framework to account for data uncertainty calibrated to the actual size of data revisions. The modified framework ameliorates the existing problems by adding sluggishness to the Federal Reserve’s learning: the key point is that data uncertainty is amplified by the nonlinearity induced by learning. Conse- quently there is an explanation for the rise and fall in inflation: the concurrent rise and fall in the perceived Philips curve trade-off.
  • Topic: Economics, Inflation, Models
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: Robert J. Vigfusson
  • Publication Date: 12-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: This paper studies how much of productivity fluctuations are industry specific versus how much are country specific. Using data on manufacturing industries in Canada and the United States, the paper shows that the correlation between cross-border pairings of the same industry are more often highly correlated than previously thought. In addition, the paper confirms earlier findings that the similarity of input use can help describe the co-movement of productivity fluctuations across industries.
  • Topic: Economics, Industrial Policy, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States, Canada, North America
  • Author: Jon Faust, Brian M. Doyle
  • Publication Date: 12-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: This paper investigates breaks in the variability and co-movement of output, consumption, and investment in the G-7 economies. In contrast with most other papers on co-movement, we test for changes in co-movement allowing for breaks in mean and variance. Despite claims that rising integration among these economies has increased output correlations among them, we find no clear evidence of an increase in correlation of growth rates of output, consumption, or investment. This finding is true even for the United States and Canada, which have seen a tremendous increase in bilateral trade shares, and for the members of the euro area in the G-7.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Canada, North America
  • Author: Joseph W. Gruber
  • Publication Date: 11-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: This study examines the impact of productivity growth on the relationship between inflation and unemployment in Canada. Recently it has been suggested that higher productivity growth is responsible for a shift in the U.S. Phillips curve that occurred in the late 1990s. This paper examines whether the Phillips curve in Canada shifted in a manner similar to that of the United States, and the degree to which higher productivity growth explains this shift.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Industrial Policy
  • Political Geography: Canada, North America
  • Author: John H. Rogers, Shing-Yi B. Wang, Charles M. Engels
  • Publication Date: 09-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: We reexamine the evidence for border effects in deviations from the law of one price, using data for consumer prices from Canadian and U.S. cities. The study parallels Engel and Rogers (1996), except that this study uses actual price data rather than price index data. We find evidence of border effects both in the levels of prices and the percentage change in prices. Even accounting for distance between cities and relative population sizes, we find that the absolute difference between prices in the U.S. and Canada in our data (annual from 1990 to 2002) is greater than seven percent. This difference exists among tradables and nontradables, though for some categories of tradables (clothing and durables) the difference is smaller. The findings are similar for annual changes, though the magnitude is smaller: the border accounts for a difference in 1.5 percent in annual (log) price changes. Relative population sizes and distance are helpful in explaining price level differences (between Canadian and U.S. cities) for traded goods, but are less helpful in explaining price level differences for nontraded goods or for accounting for differences in price changes for either traded or nontraded goods.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Canada, North America
  • Author: Robert J. Vigfusson, Lawrence J. Christiano, Martin Eichenbaum
  • Publication Date: 09-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: This paper investigates the response of hours worked to a permanent technology shock. Based on annual data from Canada, we argue that hours worked rise after a positive technology shock. We obtain a similar result using annual data from the United States. These results contradict a large literature that claims that a positive technology shock causes hours worked to fall. We find that the different results are due to the literature making a specification error in the statistical model of per capital hours worked. Finally, we present results that Canadian monetary policy has accommodated technology shocks.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: Canada, North America
  • Author: Mark Carlson, Leonardo Hernandez
  • Publication Date: 01-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: The Mexican, Asian, and Russian crises of the mid- and late 1990s have renewed the interest among policymakers in the determinants and effects of private capital flows. This paper analyzes whether policies can affect the composition of capital inflows and whether different compositions aggravate crises. We find that, while fundamentals matter, capital controls can affect the mix of capital inflows that countries receive. We find that during the Asian crisis countries with more Yen denominated debt faired worse, while during the Mexican crisis larger short-term debt stocks increased the severity of the crisis.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Economics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Asia, North America