Staff working papers in the Finance and Economics Discussion Series (FEDS) investigate a broad range of issues in economics and finance, with a focus on the U.S. economy and domestic financial markets.

FEDS 2024-010
Land development and frictions to housing supply over the business cycle

Abstract:

Using a novel data set of U.S. residential land developments, we document that the average time to develop residential properties—which includes both the time spent preparing land infrastructures and construction—is about three years, consistent with sizable lags in housing investment projects. We show that the time to develop is highly dispersed across locations, a finding that helps quantify the housing supply elasticity that is relevant for assessing local housing variations over the business cycle. We also show that incorporating long and dispersed time to develop into an otherwise standard housing investment model helps rationalize some empirical facts on the housing market. Our model implies that policies to boost housing supply are less effective in immediately stabilizing house prices for regions where land development takes a long time.

Keywords: house price dynamics, housing supply, residential investment

DOI: https://doi.org/10.17016/FEDS.2024.010

FEDS 2024-009
Reexamining the 'Role of the Community Reinvestment Act in Mortgage Supply and the U.S. Housing Boom'

Abstract:

Concerns have lingered since the 2007 subprime crisis that government housing policies promote risky mortgage lending. The first peer-reviewed evidence of a causal effect was published by the Review of Financial Studies in a paper (Saadi, 2020) linking the crisis to changes in the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) in 1995. A review of that paper, however, shows that it misrepresents the policy changes as having taken effect in mid-1998, 2.5 years after they were implemented. When the correct timing is used, a similar analysis yields no evidence of a relationship between CRA and riskier mortgage lending. Instead, the results are shown to reflect an unrelated confounding event, the first collapse of the U.S. subprime mortgage market following Russia’s debt default in August 1998.

Keywords: Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), house prices, mortgage lending, subprime crisis

DOI: https://doi.org/10.17016/FEDS.2024.009

FEDS 2024-008
Difference-in-Differences in the Marketplace

Robert Minton and Casey B. Mulligan

Abstract:

Price theory says that the most important effects of policy and technological change are often found beyond their first point of contact. This appears opposed to econometric methods that rule out spillovers of one person's treatment on another's outcomes. This paper uses the industry model from price theory to represent the statistical concepts of treatments and controls. When treated and control observations are in the same market, the controls are indirectly affected by the treatment. Moreover, even the effect of the treatment on the treated reveals only part of the consequence for the treated of treating the entire market, which is often the parameter of interest. Marshall's Laws of Derived Demand provide a guide for empirical work: precise price-theoretic interpretations of the direct and spillover effects of a treatment, the quantitative relationships between them, and how they correspond to the scale and substitution effects emphasized in price theory.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.17016/FEDS.2024.008

FEDS 2024-007
Has Intergenerational Progress Stalled? Income Growth Over Five Generations of Americans

Kevin Corinth and Jeff Larrimore

Abstract:

We find that each of the past four generations of Americans was better off than the previous one, using a post-tax, post-transfer income measure constructed annually from 1963-2022 based on the Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement. At age 36–40, Millennials had a real median household income that was 18 percent higher than that of the previous generation at the same age. This rate of intergenerational progress was slower than that experienced by the Silent Generation (34 percent) and Baby Boomers (27 percent), but similar to that experienced by Generation X (16 percent). Slower progress for Generation X and Millennials is due to their stalled growth in work hours—holding work hours constant, they experienced a greater intergenerational increase in real market income than Baby Boomers. Intergenerational progress for Millennials under age 30 has remained robust as well, although their income growth largely results from higher reliance on their parents. We also find that the higher educational costs incurred by younger generations is far outweighed by their lifetime income gains.

Keywords: Full income, Growth, Generations, Mobility, Millennials

DOI: https://doi.org/10.17016/FEDS.2024.007

FEDS 2024-006
The Informational Centrality of Banks

Abstract:

The equity and debt prices of large nonbank firms contain information about the future state of the banking system. In this sense, banks are informationally central. The amount of this information varies over time and over equity and debt. During a financial crisis banks are, by definition of a crisis, at risk of failure. Debt prices became about 50 percent more informative than equity prices about the future state of the banking system during the financial crisis of 2007-2009. This was partly due to investors' fears that banks might not be able to refinance the firms' debt.

Keywords: Price informativeness, Asset pricing, Banking system, Financial crises

DOI: https://doi.org/10.17016/FEDS.2024.006

FEDS 2024-005
Nonlinear Inflation Dynamics in Menu Cost Economies

Andres Blanco, Corina Boar, Callum Jones, Virgiliu Midrigan

Abstract:

Canonical menu cost models, when parameterized to match the micro-price data, cannot reproduce the extent to which the fraction of price changes increases with inflation. They also predict implausibly large menu costs and misallocation in the presence of strategic complementarities. We resolve these shortcomings by extending the multiproduct menu cost model along two dimensions. First, the products sold by a firm are imperfect substitutes. Second, strategic complementarities are at the firm, not product level. In contrast to standard models, the fraction of price changes increases rapidly with the size of monetary shocks, so our model implies a non-linear Phillips curve.

Keywords: Menu costs, Inflation, Phillips curve

DOI: https://doi.org/10.17016/FEDS.2024.005

FEDS 2024-004
What makes a job better? Survey evidence from job changers

Katherine Lim and Mike Zabek

Abstract:

Changes in pay and benefits alone incorrectly predict self-assessed changes in overall job quality 30 percent of the time, according to survey evidence from job changers. Job changers also place more emphasis on their interest in their work than they do on pay and benefits in evaluating whether their new job is better. Parents particularly emphasize work-life balance, and we find some indications that mothers value it more than fathers. Improvements in pay are highly correlated with improvements in other amenities for workers with less education but not for workers with a bachelor's degree or more. The higher positive correlation implies that differences in pay and benefits understate differences in total job quality to a greater degree among workers with less education.

Keywords: Job quality, Amenities, Surveys, Employment

DOI: https://doi.org/10.17016/FEDS.2024.004

FEDS 2024-003
Reasons Behind Words: OPEC Narratives and the Oil Market

Celso Brunetti, Marc Joëts, Valérie Mignon

Abstract:

We analyze the content of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) communications and whether it provides information to the crude oil market. To this end, we derive an empirical strategy which allows us to measure OPEC's public signal and test whether market participants find it credible. Using Structural Topic Models, we analyze OPEC narratives and identify several topics related to fundamental factors, such as demand, supply, and speculative activity in the crude oil market. Importantly, we find that OPEC communication reduces oil price volatility and prompts market participants to rebalance their positions. Our analysis indicates that market participants assess OPEC communications as providing an important signal to the crude oil market.

Keywords: OPEC Announcements, Structural Topic Models, Volatility, Traders' Positions

DOI: https://doi.org/10.17016/FEDS.2024.003

FEDS 2024-002
Government-Sponsored Mortgage Securitization and Financial Crises

Wayne Passmore and Roger Sparks

Abstract:

This paper analyzes a model of the mortgage market, considering scenarios with and without government-sponsored mortgage securitization. Conventional wisdom says that securitization, by fostering diversification and creating a “safe” asset in the form of mortgage-backed security (MBS), will reduce risk and enhance liquidity, thereby mitigating financial crises. We construct a strategic-game framework to model the interaction between the securitizer and banks. In this framework, the securitizer initiates the process by setting the MBS contract terms, which includes the guaranteed rate and the criterion that qualifies a mortgage for securitization. The bank then selects which qualifying mortgages to exchange for the MBS. Our investigation leads to a key result: government-sponsored securitization, somewhat counterintuitively, is more likely to exacerbate the severity and frequency of financial crises.

Keywords: Financial Crises, Government Sponsored, Mortgage Market, Mortgage-backed securities (MBS), Securitization

DOI: https://doi.org/10.17016/FEDS.2024.002

FEDS 2024-001
A Field Guide to Monetary Policy Implementation Issues in a New World with CBDC, Stablecoin, and Narrow Banks

Abstract:

This paper develops an analytical framework aimed at shedding light on the implications of the evolution of financial market structure for monetary policy implementation and transmission. The basic model builds on that developed in Chen et. al. (2014) which, in turn, draws inspiration from the pioneering work of Tobin (1969) and Gurley and Shaw (1960). The paper focuses, in particular, on the implications of introducing new types of fixed-rate financial assets in the financial system including retail and wholesale central bank digital currency (CBDC), stablecoins issued by narrow nonbanks, and deposits issued by narrow banks. The analysis also provides a crude way of capturing some of the effects of bank capital and liquidity regulation on financial intermediation and monetary policy implementation. Perhaps the most important conclusion is that the introduction of new fixed-rate assets by the Federal Reserve or by other financial intermediaries can have significant effects on equilibrium interest rates and patterns of financial intermediation and may also affect the potency of monetary policy tools. These effects are most pronounced when new financial assets are close substitutes for existing financial assets.

Keywords: Bank Regulation, Financial Innovation, Monetary Policy Implementation, Monetary policy

DOI: https://doi.org/10.17016/FEDS.2024.001

Disclaimer: The economic research that is linked from this page represents the views of the authors and does not indicate concurrence either by other members of the Board's staff or by the Board of Governors. The economic research and their conclusions are often preliminary and are circulated to stimulate discussion and critical comment.

The Board values having a staff that conducts research on a wide range of economic topics and that explores a diverse array of perspectives on those topics. The resulting conversations in academia, the economic policy community, and the broader public are important to sharpening our collective thinking.

ISSN 2767-3898 (Online)

ISSN 1936-2854 (Print)

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Last Update: January 04, 2023