Abstract: The drift of two different diffusion processes (asset returns) is determined by a state variable which can take on two values. It jumps between the two according to Poisson increments (this is called a 'regime-switch'). For any given position of the state variable the drift of one process is high and the other is low. I find that the posterior probability that the 1st asset has higher average returns, conditional on observing the path (returns) of each process, follows a diffusion process and calculate its infinitesimal parameters. I also derive analytical expressions for its stationary density and for some of its path properties. I compare the filtering problem to the Kalman Filtering problem and find that even though the dynamics of the mean of the distribution are very similar, the dynamics of the variance are subject to stochastic fluctuations. The model is parsimonious in that the conditional mean and variance are functions of a single variable.
I characterize the interest-rate and total-returns processes in a Cox-Ingersoll-Ross style model where the productivities of assets are unobserved, but inferred as above. I find that this model is capable of reproducing three stylized facts of stock-market returns and interest-rates. These are the skewness and kurtosis of returns and the 'Predictive-Asymmetry' of returns: excess-returns and future changes in volatility are negatively correlated. Further negative returns cause reactions of larger magnitude. The success of the model in generating these features depends on the speed of learning about the regime switches. Parameter values which lead to faster learning, are consistent with large negative skewness of returns and the Predictive Asymmetry property. The slower learning version leads to greater kurtosis of returns. I show that a model based on the same fundamentals but with observed 'regime-shifts' is not reconcilable with these features. My analysis suggests that learning about the productivities of assets of the kind introduced here may be an important determinant of portfolio choices and observed asset returns.
Abstract: Argentina became highly "dollarized" during its hyperinflations of 1989 and early 1990. Although inflation has returned to very low rates, a high degree of dollarization has persisted during the early 1990s, counter to what the currency substitution hypothesis predicts. This paper provides new evidence that explains the continued dollarization of the Argentine economy.
First, we develop a new measure of dollar currency circulating in foreign countries. This measure improves our ability to analyze dollarization and currency substitution by distinguishing between dollar currency holdings and dollar deposits, and thereby represents an important advance over previous studies that focused on dollar deposit holdings only. Empirically, these components of dollar assets for Argentina have responded differently to recent macroeconomic shocks.
Second, cointegration analysis of peso money demand in Argentina finds a negative "ratchet effect" from inflation on the demand for pesos. The reduction in peso money demand attributable to the ratchet effect is similar in magnitude to the estimated stock of all dollar assets held domestically by Argentine residents, consistent with the hypothesis of irreversible dollarization.
Keywords: Argentina, broad money, dynamic specification, cointegration, conditional models, currency substitution, dollarization, error correction, exogeneity, hyperinflation, irreversibility, money demand, parameter constancy, ratchet effect
Abstract: This paper examines the welfare gains from strategic trade and industrial policy in the U.S. steel industry, focusing particularly on the potential gains from capturing labor rents. I take into account product market distortions such as price-setting firms, factor market distortions in the form of union-created labor rents, and the presence of fixed capital and underutilized capacity in U.S. steel production.
The existence of underutilized capacity means that firms respond to protection by reducing the share of labor in production, eliminating the rents targeted by the policy and thus reducing the potential gains. At the same time, the union takes advantage of protection to "skim off" rents, further reducing the effectiveness of the optimal policy. Taking into account these endogenous responses substantially reduces the welfare gains from optimal policies. And simply reducing domestic labor market distortions results in a welfare gain nearly as large as that from optimal policies. This suggests that the focus on labor rents as the subject of U.S. trade and industrial policy is overstated, at least in manufacturing industries such as integrated steel.
A Comparison of Some Basic Monetary Policy Regimes for Open Economies: Implications of Different Degrees of Instrument Adjustment and Wage Presistence (PDF)
Abstract: Monetary policy regime combinations are compared for symmetric and asymmetric temporary shocks to money demand, goods demand, and productivity. In every region, the interest-rate instrument is either kept constant or changed to eliminate (full instrument adjustment) or reduce (partial instrument adjustment) the gap between actual and desired values for an intermediate target: the money supply, nominal income, or output plus inflation. Nominal wage persistence may be absent (Contract hypothesis) or present (Phillips hypothesis and Taylor hypothesis). There are analytical and simulation results from a two-region workhorse model and simulation results from the McKibbin-Sachs Global model. The ranking of regime combinations depends not only on the ultimate target and the source of shocks but also on the degrees of instrument adjustment and wage persistence.
Abstract: Virtually all previous narrow money demand studies for the United Kingdom have used seasonally adjusted data for money, prices, and expenditure. This paper develops a constant, data-coherent M1 demand equation for the United Kingdom with seasonally unadjusted data. For that model, we address issues of cointegration, error correction, general-to-specific modeling, dynamic specification, model evaluation and testing, parameter constancy, and exogeneity. We also establish theoretical and empirical relationships between seasonally adjusted and unadjusted data, and so between models using those data. Finally, we derive and implement encompassing tests for comparing models using adjusted data with models using unadjusted data. Unlike the "standard" encompassing framework, variance dominance is not always a necessary condition for encompassing.
Keywords: Cointegration, conditional models, dynamic specification, encompassing, error correction models, exogeneity, general-to-specific modeling, model evaluation, money demand, parameter constancy, sequential reduction, testing, United Kingdom
Abstract: This paper studies the responsiveness of external balances--trade volumes and prices--to changes in exchange rates. Our objectives are twofold: to provide an analytical review of the literature in this area and to assess the influence of exchange rate movements on external adjustment in the two countries whose external imbalances have dominated all others over the past decade, the United States and Japan.
We find that the conventional partial-equilibrium model of the trade balance has performed generally quite well in predicting the path of the U.S. and Japanese external balance over the past decade. Second, in a partial-equilibrium setting, exchange-rate changes have a significant and substantial influence on movements in external balances. This view is supported by a massive empirical literature focusing on the estimation of price elasticities in trade, by casual inspection of the data, and by our own econometric estimates of trade elasticities. Third, Japanese real trade flows appear to be considerably less responsive to exchange-rate changes than U.S. real trade flows. This asymmetry can be traced only in part to evidence that Japanese exporter and U.S. exporters differ in the extent to which they pass-through exchange-rate changes to the foreign-currency prices of their exports. Finally, Japanese exporters tend to pass-through significantly less of any given percentage exchange rate change than U.S. exporters. Part of that difference is attributable to the greater sensitivity of Japanese production costs to exchange rate changes--Japanese export prices fall when the yen appreciates, partly because the prices of petroleum and other imported raw materials in Japan tend to fall in proportion to the appreciation of the yen.
Abstract: The different approaches to large-scale privatization in Hungary, Poland, and the Czech Republic imply somewhat different patterns of corporate governance--that is, ownership, monitoring, and control of firms. Corporate governance affects economic incentives within the firm, and therefore economic performance of the firm. Similarly, patterns of ownership implied by the programs affect the distribution of gains from reform. Privatizing the large enterprises will importantly influence resource allocation, employment, and output. Consequently, the patterns of corporate governance embodied in the privatization strategies could affect macroeconomic performance and the development of constituencies in favor of or against continued reforms.
Abstract: This study uses panel data techniques to estimate a common component to the ex post real interest rates of nine countries with liberal capital markets over the past 15 years. We show that the residuals from such a regression have almost no serial correlation, and that each country's real interest rate is highly correlated with the estimated world real interest rate. The primary exception to these findings is the behavior of the U.S. real interest rate, which exhibits large and persistent deviations from the estimated world real interest rate.
Macroeconomic Stabilization through Monetary and Fiscal Policy Coordination: Implications for European Monetary Union (PDF)
Abstract: In a two-country model, we consider the implications of monetary and fiscal policy coordination for macroeconomic stabilization. We show that the optimal regime is one of monetary and fiscal policy coordination under flexible exchange rates. In the context of the European Community, this suggests that the desire to fix exchange rates may not be costless. In addition, we show that, under an asymmetric demand shock, fiscal coordination requires a relatively high degree of flexibility in fiscal policy. This suggests that limits on the flexibility of fiscal policies, as suggested in the Delors Report, may hinder macroeconomic stabilization.
Abstract: I examine the relationship between a financial intermediary ("bank") and a borrowing firm in a three-period overlapping generations model. The model can accommodate two financing arrangements between the bank and the firm: one requires commitment to a long-term contract, the other does not. Which arrangement is chosen depends on whether such a commitment can be credibly made. After defining the two arrangements, I compare their features with real-world financial dealings. Once the form of the long-term relationship between the bank and the firm is set, investment and output of the economy can be determined. Disruptions in financial markets can affect real investment and output by disrupting established long-term relationships.
Abstract: A general-equilibrium model is developed to highlight the link between neo-Keynesian models of unemployment and recent results on the constrained suboptimality of competitive economies with incomplete asset markets. Although the model deviates from the Arrow-Debreu paradigm only by the absence of some contingent claims, the competitive equilibrium exhibits under-employment and balanced-budget fiscal policies have Keynesian effects which are Pareto improving.
Abstract: An extensive and increasingly persuasive body of empirical evidence has linked a firm's fixed investment expenditure to its supply of internally generated funds. The central concerns of this paper are (1) the theoretical justifiability of such empirically-based investment functions, particularly those where internal funds affect only the speed of adjustment, and (2) the dynamic properties of this latter class of investment functions. A class of models is explored featuring intertemporal profit maximization under conditions of increasing costs of external finance (attributable to bankruptcy or agency costs). The paper shows that, for a major part of the optimal investment path, the function implied by the theory is remarkably close to the most promising variant found empirically: the supply of internal funds affects the speed of adjustment, but not the level of the optimal capital stock. Such investment functions possess the unusual dynamic property that the speed of adjustment increases monotonically along the optimal path.
Abstract: The covariance between domestic and foreign equity return innovations is decomposed into components associated with news about future real and financial variables. In an application to fifteen national stock markets, we find that news about future dividend growth tends to be more highly correlated than contemporaneous output measures, suggesting that there are lags in the international transmission of real economic shocks. In addition, results from a longer sample period suggest that both real and financial linkages between the U.S. and the U.K. appear to have increased after the Bretton Woods currency arrangement was abandoned in the early 1970's.
Abstract: This paper develops and applies a new maximum likelihood method for estimating the Arbitrage Pricing Theory (APT) model with observable risk factors. The approach involves simultaneous estimation of the factor loadings and risk premiums and can be applied to return panel with more securities than time series observations per security. Observable economic factors are found to account for 25 to 40 percent of the covariation in U.S. equity returns, and the APT pricing restrictions cannot be rejected for most sample periods. A significant "firm size anomaly" is measured, but it may be partly due to sample selection bias.
Abstract: A number of recent papers have discussed the fact that difference stationary and trend stationary processes are nearly observationally equivalent. The meaning of this fact, however, remains clouded. This paper defines near observational equivalence and derives several implications of the notion for classical and Bayesian unit root inference. For example, unless restrictions are imposed on the general difference and trend stationary models, the exact size of any consistent unit root test rises to one with sample size. Bayesian posteriors regarding unit roots are arbitrary in the sense that given any prior, there are other priors that agree with the first regarding empirical outcomes, but that imply arbitrarily different unit root posteriors.
Abstract: This paper explores the relationship between exchange rate pass-through and market share for monopolistically competitive exporters. Under fairly general assumptions we show that pass-through should be high for exporters based in a country with a very large share of total destination market sales. For source countries with small and intermediate market shares, the theoretical relationship is potentially nonlinear and sensitive to assumptions about the nature of consumer demand and firm interactions. The model is estimated using a panel data set of automobile exports from France, Germany, Sweden, and the United States to a variety of destinations over the period 1970-88. The empirical relationship between pass-through and market share is significantly nonlinear: pass-through is lowest when the source country's market share is around 45 percent and it is highest when the source country's share approaches 100 percent.
Abstract: Robust and numerous small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) are a hallmark of the market economy and development of these firms is an integral part of the structural transformation of the economies of East-Central Europe (ECE). Data for Hungary on changes in the size distribution of firms and their importance for output and employment indicates that industry restructuring is taking place. One measure of the success of restructuring is export performance. That is, increased exports by those industries undergoing restructuring suggests that the process is creating firms that are successfully responding to market demand and international price signals. Disaggregated industry data from Hungary support the propositions that restructured industries and industries that have historically been important for domestic and export markets have become more important exporters. Moreover, it appears that Hungarian exporters have been effectively exploiting the switch from the CMEA market and the opening up of the border with the European Community. However, perhaps because of the short time series of the investigation, it is too early to tell whether Hungarian exports will respond systematically to standard determinants of trade, such as changes in EC income and relative prices.
Abstract: In "Exchange Rates and Direct Investment: An Imperfect Capital Markets Approach," Kenneth Froot and Jeremy Stein  develop a new finance-based theory to answer an old question--the relationship, if any, between the flow of foreign direct investment and the exchange rate. Their theory, based on the possibility that a foreign firm's borrowing opportunities for financing a U.S. acquisition may be a function of its net worth in dollars, implies a negative relationship between a dollar appreciation and direct investment inflows into the United States. Empirically, the authors find statistically significant evidence of the implied negative relationship for quarterly and annual time series regressions, over the period 1973-88.
The major purpose of this note is to show that this empirical support for the theory is weak. The authors' regressions show evidence of serious instability, and the significant negative relationship between direct investment inflows and the value of the dollar disappears for important subperiods of the 1973-88 period and for the sample period extended through 1991.
Abstract: For G-7 countries over the period 1961-1990, there appears to be a strong and stable negative correlation between annual changes in the current account and investment. Here we explore this correlation using a highly tractable empirical model that distinguishes between global and country-specific shocks. This distinction turns out to be quite important empirically, as global shocks account for roughly fifty percent of the overall variance of productivity. An apparent puzzle, however, is that the current account seems to respond by much less than investment to country-specific productivity shocks. Given the near random walk behavior of these shocks, this observation would appear to contradict a central cross-equation inequality restriction implied by the intertemporal approach. We show analytically, however, that the theoretically-predicted current account response can be extremely sensitive to small changes in the degree of mean reversion in country-specific productivity; in general, the current account response is more sensitive than is the investment response. Our results thus support the view that there is a significant convergent component to country-specific productivity shocks.
Abstract: By freeing Europe's regional and international trade from tariffs and other trade barriers, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) has often been hailed as a key factor in promoting the post-war economic recovery in Western Europe and in preventing a return to the disaster of the interwar period. This paper describes and assesses the contribution of the GATT in supporting economic recovery in Western Europe in the decade after 1947. The formation of the GATT by itself does not appear to have stimulated a particularly rapid liberalization of world trade during this period. It is therefore difficult to attribute much of a role to the GATT in the dramatic economic recovery during the immediate post-war period beyond that of an effective supporting actor. The principal contribution of the GATT during its first decade of operation rests more in securing binding agreements on early tariff reductions, thereby preventing countries from instituting higher tariffs as import quotas and foreign exchange controls were being phased out during the 1950s under the auspices of other international institutions. Yet despite the GATT's weaknesses on several fronts, the institution succeeded in establishing among major countries a fairly credible commitment to an open and stable environment for world trade that fostered the post-war rise in trade and income.
Abstract: When estimates of variances are used to make asset allocation decisions, underestimates of population variances lead to lower expected utility than equivalent overestimates: a utility based criterion is asymmetric, unlike standard criteria such as mean squared error. To illustrate how to estimate a utility based criterion, we use five bilateral weekly dollar exchange rates, 1973-1989, and the corresponding pair of Eurodeposit rates. Of homoskedastic, GARCH, autoregressive and nonparametric models for the conditional variance of each exchange rate, GARCH models tend to produce the highest utility, on average. A mean squared error criterion also favors GARCH, but not as sharply.
Abstract: Structural breaks in stationary time series can induce apparent unit roots in those series. Thus, using recently developed recursive Monte Carlo techniques, this paper investigates the properties of several cointegration tests when the marginal process of one of the variables in the cointegrating relationship is stationary with a structural break. The break has little effect on the tests' size. However, tests based on estimated error correction models generally are more powerful than Engle and Granger's two-step procedure employing the Dickey-Fuller unit root test. Discrepancies in power arise when the data generation process does not have a common factor.
Keywords: Cointegration, econometrics, error correction, Monte Carlo, parameter nonconstancy, power, regime shifts, size, statistical inference, structural breaks, unit roots