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  • Author: Erik Hjalmarsson, Benjamin Chiquoine
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: We show that the general bias reducing technique of jackknifing can be successfully applied to stock return predictability regressions. Compared to standard OLS estimation, the jackknifing procedure delivers virtually unbiased estimates with mean squared errors that generally dominate those of the OLS estimates. The jackknifing method is very general, as well as simple to implement, and can be applied to models with multiple predictors and overlapping observations. Unlike most previous work on inference in predictive regressions, no specific assumptions regarding the data generating process for the predictors are required. A set of Monte Carlo experiments show that the method works well in finite samples and the empirical section finds that out-of-sample forecasts based on the jackknifed estimates tend to outperform those based on the plain OLS estimates. The improved forecast ability also translates into economically relevant welfare gains for an investor who uses the predictive regression, with jackknifed estimates, to time the market.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Author: Erik Hjalmarsson
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: I test for stock return predictability in the largest and most comprehensive data set analyzed so far, using four common forecasting variables: the dividend- and earnings-price ratios, the short interest rate, and the term spread. The data contain over 20,000 monthly observations from 40 international markets, including 24 developed and 16 emerging economies. In addition, I develop new methods for predictive regressions with panel data. Inference based on the standard fixed effects estimator is shown to suffer from severe size distortions in the typical stock return regression, and an alternative robust estimator is proposed. The empirical results indicate that the short interest rate and the term spread are fairly robust predictors of stock returns in developed markets. In contrast, no strong or consistent evidence of predictability is found when considering the earnings- and dividend-price ratios as predictors.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Author: Martin Bodenstein
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: The empirical literature provides a wide range of estimates for trade elasticities at the aggregate level. Furthermore, recent contributions in international macroeconomics suggest that low (implied) values of the trade elasticity of substitution may play an important role in understanding the disconnect between international prices and real variables. However, a standard model of the international business cycle displays multiple locally isolated equilibria if the trade elasticity of substitution is sufficiently low. The main contribution of this paper is to compute and characterize some dynamic properties of these equilibria. While multiple steady states clearly signal equilibrium multiplicity in the dynamic setup, this is not a necessary condition. Solutions based on log-linearization around a deterministic steady state are of limited to no help in computing the true dynamics. However, the log-linear solution can hint at the presence of multiple dynamic equilibria.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Author: Steven B. Kamin, Carol C. Bertaut, Charles P. Thomas
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: This paper addresses three questions about the prospects for the U.S. current account deficit. Is it sustainable in the long term? If not, how long will it take for measures of external debt and debt service to reach levels that could prompt some pullback by global investors? And if and when such levels are breached, how readily would asset prices respond and the current account start to narrow?
  • Topic: Economics, Foreign Exchange, Government, International Political Economy, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Enrique G. Mendoza, Marco E. Terrones
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: This paper proposes a methodology for measuring credit booms and uses it to identify credit booms in emerging and industrial economies over the past four decades. In addition, we use event study methods to identify the key empirical regularities of credit booms in macroeconomic aggregates and micro-level data. Macro data show a systematic relationship between credit booms and economic expansions, rising asset prices, real appreciations, widening external deficits and managed exchange rates. Micro data show a strong association between credit booms and firm-level measures of leverage, firm values, and external financing, and bank-level indicators of banking fragility. Credit booms in industrial and emerging economies show three major differences: (1) credit booms and the macro and micro fluctuations associated with them are larger in emerging economies, particularly in the nontradables sector; (2) not all credit booms end in financial crises, but most emerging markets crises were associated with credit booms; and (3) credit booms in emerging economies are often preceded by large capital inflows but not by financial reforms or productivity gains.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Author: Ricardo Nunes, Michael Kumhof, Irina Yakadina
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: This paper asks whether an aggressive monetary policy response to inflation is feasible in countries that suffer from fiscal dominance, as long as monetary policy also responds to fiscal variables. We find that if nominal interest rates are allowed to respond to government debt, even aggressive rules that satisfy the Taylor principle can produce unique equilibria. But following such rules results in extremely volatile inflation. This leads to very frequent violations of the zero lower bound on nominal interest rates that make such rules infeasible. Even within the set of feasible rules the optimal response to inflation is highly negative, and more aggressive inflation fighting is inferior from a welfare point of view. The welfare gain from responding to fiscal variables is minimal compared to the gain from eliminating fiscal dominance.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Political Economy
  • Author: Luca Guerrieri, Christopher Gust, David López-Salido
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: We develop and estimate an open economy New Keynesian Phillips curve (NKPC) in which variable demand elasticities give rise to changes in desired markups in response to changes in competitive pressure from abroad. A parametric restriction on our specification yields the standard NKPC, in which the elasticity is constant, and there is no role for foreign competition to influence domestic inflation. By comparing the unrestricted and restricted specifications, we provide evidence that foreign competition plays an important role in accounting for the behavior of inflation in the traded goods sector. Our estimates suggest that foreign competition has lowered domestic goods inflation about 1 percentage point over the 2000-2006 period. Our results also provide evidence against demand curves with a constant elasticity in the context of models of monopolistic competition.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Charles P. Thomas, Jaime Marquez, Sean Fahle
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: In this paper we construct a new measure of U.S. prices relative to those of its trading partners and use it to reexamine the behavior of U.S. net exports. Our measure differs from existing measures of the dollar's real effective exchange rate (REER) in that it explicitly incorporates both the difference in price levels between the United States and developing economies and the growing importance of these developing economies in world trade. Unlike existing REERs, our measure shows that relative U.S. prices have increased significantly over the past 15 years. In terms of simple correlations, the relationship between our measure of relative prices and U.S. net exports is much more coherent than that between existing REERs and net exports. To explore this relationship further, we use our measure to construct an index of foreign prices relevant for U.S. export volumes and reexamine several export equations. We find that export equations with the new index dominate those with previous measures in terms of in-sample fit, outof- sample fit, and parameter constancy. In addition, we find that with the new index of foreign prices the estimated elasticity of U.S. exports with respect to foreign income is a good bit higher than the unitary elasticity found in previous studies using other price measures. This has implications for U.S. current account adjustment.
  • Topic: Economics, Foreign Exchange, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States
  • 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: Martin Bodenstein, Christopher J. Erceg, Luca Guerrieri
  • Publication Date: 08-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • Abstract: In a stylized DSGE model with an energy sector, the optimal policy response to an adverse energy supply shock implies a rise in core inflation, a larger rise in headline inflation, and a decline in wage inflation. The optimal policy is well-approximated by policies that stabilize the output gap, but also by a wide array of “dual mandate” policies that are not overly aggressive in stabilizing core inflation. Finally, policies that react to a forecast of headline inflation following a temporary energy shock imply markedly different effects than policies that react to a forecast of core, with the former inducing greater volatility in core inflation and the output gap.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy, Inflation, Supply
  • Political Geography: Global Focus