IFDP 2002-751
International Monetary Policy Coordination and Financial Market Integration

Alan Sutherland


The welfare gains from international coordination of monetary policy are analysed in a two-country model with sticky prices. The gains from coordination are compared under two alternative structures for financial markets: financial autarky and risk sharing. The welfare gains from coordination are found to be largest when there is risk sharing and the elasticity of substitution between home and foreign goods is greater than unity. When there is no risk sharing the gains to coordination are almost zero. It is also shown that the welfare gain from risk sharing can be negative when monetary policy is uncoordinated.

Keywords: Monetary policy coordination, financial integration, risk sharing

IFDP 2002-750
Monetary Policy and the Financial Accelerator in a Monetary Union

Simon Gilchrist, Jean-Olivier Hairault, and Hubert Kempf


In this paper, we consider the effect of a monetary union in a model with a significant role for financial market imperfections. We do so by introducing a financial accelerator into a stochastic general equilibrium macro model of a two country economy. We show that financial market imperfections introduce important cross-country transmission mechanisms to asymmetric shocks to supply and demand. Within this framework, we study the likely costs and benefits of monetary union. We also consider the effects of cross-country heterogeneity in financial markets. Both the presence of financial frictions and the use of a single currency have significant impacts on the international propagation of exogenous shocks. The introduction of asymmetries in the financial contract widens the difference in cyclical behavior of national economies in a monetary union, but financial integration compensates the loss of policy instruments.

Keywords: Financial accelerator, exchange rate policy

IFDP 2002-749
Inflation Persistence and Optimal Monetary Policy in the Euro Area

Pierpaolo Benigno and J. David Lopez-Salido


In this paper we first present supporting evidence of the existence of heterogeneity in inflation dynamics across euro area countries. Based on the estimation of New Phillips Curves for five major countries of the euro area, we find that there is significant inertial (backward looking) behavior in inflation in four of them, while inflation in Germany has a dominant forward looking component. In the second part of the paper we present an optimizing agent model for the euro area emphasizing the heterogeneity in inflation persistence across regions. Allowing for such a backward looking component will affect the evaluation of the degree of nominal rigidities relevant for the monetary policy design. We explore the welfare implications of this circumstance by comparing the adjustment of the economies and the area as a whole in response to terms-of-trade shocks under four monetary policy rules: fully optimal, optimal inflation targeting, HICP targeting and output gap stabilization.

Keywords: Optimal monetary policy, currency areas, inflation dynamic

IFDP 2002-748
Optimal Monetary Policy with Durable and Non-Durable Goods

Christopher J. Erceg and Andrew T. Levin


We document that the durable goods sector is much more interest-sensitive than the non-durables sector, and then investigate the implications of these these sectoral differences for monetary policy. We formulate a two-sector general equilibrium model that is calibrated both to match the sectoral responses to a monetary policy shock derived from our empirical VAR, and to imply an empirically-realistic degree of sectoral output volatility and comovement. While the social welfare function involves sector-specific output gaps and inflation rates, the performance of the optimal policy rule can be closely approximated by a simple rule that targets a weighted average of aggregate wage and price inflation. In contrast, a rule that stabilizes a more narrow measure of final goods price inflation performs poorly in terms of social welfare.

Related Material: Technical Appendix (PDF): This appendix shows how we derive a second order approximation to the social welfare function of our model.

Original version (PDF)

Keywords: VAR analysis, DGE models, sectoral disaggregation

IFDP 2002-747
A Theory of the Currency Denomination of International Trade

Philippe Bacchetta and Eric van Wincoop


Nominal rigidities due to menu costs have become a standard element in closed economy macroeconomic modeling. The "New Open Economy Macroeconomics" literature has investigated the implications of nominal rigidities in an open economy context and found that the currency in which prices are set has significant macroeconomic and policy implications. In this paper we solve for the optimal invoicing choice by integrating this microeconomic decision at the firm level into a general equilibrium open economy model. Strategic interactions between firms play a critical role in the analysis. We find that the less competition firms face in foreign markets, as reflected in market share and product differentiation, the more likely they will price in their own currency. We also show that when a set of countries forms a monetary union, the new currency is likely to be used more extensively in trade than the sum of the currencies it replaces.

Keywords: Exchange rate pass-through, currency invoicing, new open economy, macroeconomics

IFDP 2002-746
Regional Inflation in a Currency Union: Fiscal Policy vs. Fundamentals

Margarida Duarte and Alexander L. Wolman


We develop a general equilibrium model of a two-region currency union. There are two types of goods: non-trade goods, and traded goods for which markets are segmented. Monetary policy is set by a central monetary authority and is non-neutral due to nominal price rigidities. Fiscal policy is determined at the regional level by each region's government. We find that productivity shocks alone generate significant variation in inflation across the two countries. Government spending shocks, in contrast, do not account for a significant portion of inflation variation. Varying relative country size, we find that smaller countries experience higher variability of their inflation differential in response to shocks to productivity growth. Moreover, we show that regional governments can suppress incipient inflation differentials associated with shocks to productivity growth by letting the income tax rate respond negatively to inflation differentials.

Keywords: Currency union, fiscal policy, inflation differentials, productivity differentials, nominal rigidities

IFDP 2002-745
Inflation Dynamics and International Linkages: A Model of the United States, the Euro Area, and Japan

Gunter Coenen and Volker Wieland


In this paper we estimate a small macroeconometric model of the United States, the euro area and Japan with rational expectations and nominal rigidities due to staggered contracts. Comparing three popular contracting specifications we find that euro area and Japanese inflation dynamics are best explained by Taylor-style contracts, while Buiter-Jewitt/Fuhrer-Moore contracts perform somewhat better in fitting U.S. inflation dynamics. We are unable to fit Calvo-style contracts to inflation dynamics in any of the three economies without allowing either for ad-hoc persistence in unobservables or a significant backward-looking element. The completed model matches inflation and output dynamics in the United States, the euro area and Japan quite well. We then use it to evaluate the role of the exchange rate for monetary policy. Preliminary results, which are similar across the three economies, indicate little gain from a direct policy response to the exchange rate.

Keywords: Macroeconomic modelling, nominal rigidities, inflation persistence, international linkages, monetary policy rules

IFDP 2002-744
Macroeconomics of International Price Discrimination

Giancarlo Corsetti and Luca Dedola


This paper builds a baseline two-country model of real and monetary transmission under optimal international price discrimination. Distributing traded goods to consumers requires nontradables; because of distributive trade, the price elasticity of export demand depends on the exchange rate. Profit-maximizing monopolistic firms drive a wedge between wholesale and retail prices across countries. This entails possibly large deviations from the law of one price and incomplete pass-through on import prices. Yet, consistent with expenditure-switching effects, a nominal depreciation generally worsens the terms of trade. Moreover, the exchange rate and the terms of trade can be more volatile than fundamentals. For plausible ranges of the distribution margin, there can be multiple steady states, whereas large differences in nominal and real exchange rates across equilibria translate into small differences in consumption, employment and the price level. Finally, we show that with competitive goods markets international policy cooperation is redundant even under financial autarky.

Keywords: Exchange rate pass-through, wholesale and retail services, nominal rigidities, optimal cyclical monetary policy, international cooperation

IFDP 2002-743
Sticky Prices, No Menu Costs


A model that contains no costs to changing prices but in which prices do not respond to nominal shocks is presented. In models that do not feature superneutrality of money flexible price equilibria will allow certain types of monetary shocks to affect the real economy. Sticky price behavior may in fact be better at protecting the real economy from the effects of monetary shocks in such environments. This point is demonstrated in a standard monetary model with liquidity effects. An equilibrium in which sticky prices are supported without menu costs is then constructed. In equilibrium firms choose to keep prices fixed in response to nominal shocks because doing so provides a service to their customers, increasing profits by expanding the customer base.

Keywords: Price adjustment, optimality

IFDP 2002-742
Productivity, Investment, and Current Accounts: Reassessing the Evidence

Jaime Marquez


The most widely accepted explanation for the inverse association between private investments and current accounts [Glick and Rogoff, 1995] rests on data for manufactures through 1990. Is this consensus robust to revisions to the national accounts and the expansion of information technologies since 1990? To address this question I replicate their results and I find that post 1990 developments eliminate the support for such a conclusion. I also implement alternative formulations and find, again, a lack of empirical support for their findings. Thus I examine the role of measurement errors and focus on the treatment of the manufacturing sector as representative of the whole economy and the exclusion of the contribution of capital when measuring productivity. Correcting these two measurement errors restores to Glick and Rogoff's conclusion its original strength.

Keywords: G-7 countries, FIML, endogenous growth

IFDP 2002-741
The Road to Adopting the Euro: Monetary Policy and Exchange Rate Regimes in EU Candidate Countries

Fabio M. Natalucci and Federico Ravenna


This paper examines the choice of exchange rate regime in EU candidate countries during the process of accession to the European Monetary Union (EMU). In the presence of real exchange rate appreciation due to the Balassa-Samuelson effect, candidate countries face a trade-off between trend appreciation of the nominal exchange rate and high inflation rates. In a general equilibrium model of an emerging market economy, we show that under a fixed or heavily managed exchange rate the Balassa-Samuelson effect might prevent compliance with the Maastricht inflation criterion, unless a contractionary policy is adopted. We then discuss how the real exchange rate appreciation shifts the output gap/inflation variance trade-off, increasing the cost of managing or fixing the exchange rate. As a consequence, the requirement of membership in the Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM-II) and the Maastricht inflation criterion constrain the policy choice while providing no additional benefit to countries credibly committed to joining the Euro. Finally, we show that relaxing either the exchange rate requirement or the inflation criterion has sharply different business cycle implications for the accession countries.

Keywords: Balassa-Samuelson Effect, European Union Enlargement, European Monetary Union, Taylor Rule, transition economies

IFDP 2002-740
Monetary Union, Price Level Convergence, and Inflation: How Close is Europe to the United States?


In light of 50 years of economic policies designed to integrate Europe -- culminating in the elimination of euro zone national currencies in early 2002 -- and a vast academic literature on international economic integration, it is of interest to assess how far European integration has come in practice. Using a unique data set, I document the pattern of price dispersion across European and U.S. cities from 1990 to 2001. I find a striking decline in dispersion for traded goods prices in Europe, most of which took place between 1991 and 1994. The level of traded goods price dispersion in the euro area is now quite close to that of the United States. A decline in dispersion of non-tradeables prices in Europe has also taken place, but to a smaller extent. For U.S. cities, there is no evidence of a decline in price dispersion, even for tradeables. I examine several possible explanations for the decline in European price dispersion, including harmonization of tax rates, convergence of incomes and labor costs, liberalization of trade and factor markets, and increased coherence of monetary policy. I also investigate how much of the variation in national inflation rates in Europe can be explained by price level convergence. Finally, after showing that prices in likely next-round entrants into the euro zone are well below prices in Western Europe, I discuss the potential inflationary consequences of accession into monetary union for Eastern Europe.

Keywords: Economic integration, prices, exchange rates, euro

IFDP 2002-739
Identifying the Effects of Monetary Policy Shocks on Exchange Rates Using Figh Frequency Data

Jon Faust, John H. Rogers, Eric Swanson, and Jonathan H. Wright


This paper proposes a new approach to identifying the effects of monetary policy shocks in an international vector autoregression. Using high-frequency data on the prices of Fed Funds futures contracts, we measure the impact of the surprise component of the FOMC-day Federal Reserve policy decision on financial variables, such as the exchange rate and the foreign interest rate. We show how this information can be used to achieve identification without having to make the usual strong assumption of a recursive ordering.

Keywords: Vector autoregression, identification

IFDP 2002-738
Exchange Rate Regimes and Financial Dollarization: Does Flexibility Reduce Bank Currency Mismatches?

Carlos O. Arteta


The dollarization of bank deposits and credit is widespread in developing countries, resulting in varying degrees of currency mismatches in domestic financial intermediation, which in turn might accentuate bank balance sheet fragility. It is widely argued that flexible exchange rate regimes encourage banks to match dollar-denominated liabilities with a corresponding amount of dollar-denominated assets, ameliorating currency mismatches. Does the behavior of dollar deposits and credit in financially dollarized economies support that presumption? A new database on deposit and credit dollarization in developing and transition countries is assembled and used to address this question. Empirical results suggest that, if anything, floating regimes seem to exacerbate, rather than ameliorate, currency mismatches in domestic financial intermediation, as those regimes seem to encourage deposit dollarization more strongly than they encourage matching via credit dollarization.

Original version (PDF)

Keywords: Dollarization, exchange rate, regimes, currency mismatches, banks

IFDP 2002-737
Are Depreciations as Contractionary as Devaluations? A Comparison of Selected Emerging and Industrial Economies


According to conventional models, flexible exchange rates play an equilibrating role in open economies, depreciating in response to adverse shocks, boosting net exports, and stimulating aggregate demand. However, critics argue that, at least in developing countries, devaluations are more contractionary and more inflationary than conventional theories would predict. Yet, it is not clear whether devaluations per se have led to adverse outcomes, or rather the disruptive abandonments of pegged exchange-rate regimes associated with devaluations. To explore this hypothesis, we estimate VAR models to compare the responses to devaluation of developing economies and two types of industrial economies: those that have consistently floated, and those that have sustained fixed exchange-rate regimes as well. We find that both of these types of industrial economies exhibit conventional (i.e., expansionary) responses to devaluation shocks, compared with the contractionary responses exhibited by developing countries. This finding suggests that exchange rate movements may be more destabilizing in developing countries than in industrial countries, regardless of exchange rate regime.

Keywords: Contractionary devaluations, exchange rate regimes

IFDP 2002-736
Identifying the Role of Moral Hazard in International Financial Markets


Considerable attention has been paid to the possibility that large-scale IMF-led financing packages may have distorted incentives in international financial markets, leading private investors to provide more credit to emerging market countries, and at lower interest rates, than might otherwise have been the case. Yet, prior attempts to identify such distortions have yielded mixed evidence, at best. This paper makes three contributions to our ability to assess the empirical importance of moral hazard in international financial markets. First, it is argued that because large international "bailouts" did not commence until the 1995 Mexican crisis, financial indicators prior to that time could not have reflected a significant degree of this type of moral hazard. Therefore, one test for the existence of moral hazard is that the access of emerging markets to international credit is significantly easier than it was prior to 1995. Second, the paper argues that because private investors expect large-scale IMF-led packages to be extended primarily to economically or geo-politically important countries, moral hazard, if it exists, should lead these countries to have easier terms of access to credit than smaller, non-systemically important countries. Finally, in addition to looking at bond spreads, the focus of earlier empirical analyses of moral hazard, the paper also examines trends in capital flows to gauge the access of emerging market countries to external finance. Looking at the evidence in light of these considerations, the paper concludes that there is little support for the view that moral hazard is significantly distorting international capital markets at the present time.

Keywords: Spreads, capital flows, emerging markets

IFDP 2002-735
On the Fragility of Gains from Trade under Continuously Differentiated Bertrand Competition

Mario Marazzi


One of the most widely accepted principles of economics is the existence of gains from trade for every nation under certain conditions including perfect competition. In the last twenty years, trade economists have revolutionized the field by firmly establishing the possibility of modeling imperfectly competitive international markets. Despite this development, most still agree there are good reasons to believe that gains from trade are still present. However, we show that in the absence of international redistributions the presence of a positive profit sector in a general equilibrium model can lead to a situation in which some nations may lose from the reduction of international trade barriers.

Keywords: Gains from trade, imperfectly competitive international markets, international price Nash duopoly, spatial price competition

IFDP 2002-734
The Inflation Persistence of Staggered Contracts


One of the criticisms routinely advanced against models of the business cycle with staggered contracts is their inability to generate inflation persistence. This paper finds that staggered Taylor contracts are, in fact, capable of reproducing the inflation persistence implied by U.S. data. Following Fuhrer and Moore, I capture the moments that the contract specification needs to replicate by using the correlograms from a small vector autoregression (VAR) that includes inflation among the endogenous variables. A simple structural model substitutes the inflation equation from the VAR with the contract specification. I estimate the contract parameters in the structural model by maximum likelihood. The correlogram for the endogenous variables from the estimated structural model, including that for inflation, are very close to the correlograms from the VAR (and are contained within their 90% confidence intervals). By the same metric, where Taylor contracts do not fare well is in reproducing the cross-correlations between inflation and output.

Keywords: Maximum likelihood, Phillips curve

IFDP 2002-733
Productivity Shocks, Habits, and the Current Account


Empirical work regarding Intertemporal Current Account (ICA) models has centered around two distinct testing methodologies, present value tests and a productivity shock approach as formulated in Glick and Rogoff (1995). In previous work, Gruber (2001), I have tested an ICA model that allows for habits in aggregate consumption via the present value method. This paper applies the alternative Glick and Rogoff style approach to testing the model. The benefits of doing such are an ability to separate country-specific from worldwide output changes, a distinction of considerable importance, as well as to impose restrictions on the relationship between investment and output, neither of which are possible in the present value framework. The results of the test are supportive of the existence of habits and coincide with the results of Gruber (2001). The degree of habit persistence implied by the model is estimated for the G-7 countries. The paper also proposes habit formation as a possible solution to an empirical puzzle identified in the original Glick and Rogoff paper.

Keywords: Current account, habit formation

IFDP 2002-732
Testing the Null of Identification in GMM

Jonathan Wright


This paper proposes a new test of the null hypothesis that a generalized method of moments model is identified. The test can detect local or global underidentification, and underidentification in some or all directions. The idea of the test is to compare the volume of two confidence sets - one that is robust to lack of identification and one that is not. Under the null hypothesis the relative volume of these two sets is Op(1), but under the alternative, the robust confidence set has infinite relative volume.

Original version (330 KB PDF)

Keywords: Identification, Robust Confidence Sets, Weak Instruments, Generalized Method of Moments

IFDP 2002-731
Factor Endowments and Industrial Structure


What determines industrial structure? Do sector-specific characteristics such as unionization, regulation, and trade policy dominate production patterns? One is inclined to believe so based on countless industry-level studies and the many political battles that are continually fought over trade and industrial policy. In contrast, standard neoclassical trade theory suggests that industrial structure is primarily driven by relative factor supplies. This paper demonstrates that aggregate factor endowments explain much of the structure of production---independent of industry idiosyncrasies---and quantifies the extent to which shifts in industrial structure in a cross section of countries are driven by the broad forces of factor accumulation. This result has important implications for policy. In particular, investment in physical capital and education may have as great an impact on the pattern of production as sector-specific trade and industrial policies. Thus, general equilibrium effects should not be ignored in efforts either to understand industrial structure or to form policies that attempt to alter it. These conclusions are reached through an empirical application of the factor proportions model of production.

Keywords: Factor proportions, endowments, production, industrial structure, international trade, Heckscher-Ohlin

IFDP 2002-730
Recent U.S. Macroeconomic Stability: Good Policies, Good Practices, or Good Luck?

Shaghil Ahmed, Andrew Levin, and Beth Anne Wilson


The volatility of U.S. real GDP growth since 1984 has been markedly lower than that over the previous quarter-century. In this paper, we utilize frequency-domain and VAR methods to distinguish among several competing explanations for this phenomenon: improvements in monetary policy, better business practices, and a fortuitous reduction in exogenous disturbances. We find that reduced innovation variances account for much of the decline in aggregate output volatility. Our results support the "good-luck" hypothesis as the leading explanation for the decline in aggregate output volatility, although "good-practices" and "good-policy" are also contributing factors. Applying the same methods to consumer price inflation, we find that the post-1984 decline in inflation volatility can be attributed largely to improvements in monetary policy.

Keywords: GDP volatility, inflation stabilization, business cycles, frequency domain

IFDP 2002-729
Preventing Deflation: Lessons from Japan's Experience in the 1990s

Alan Ahearne, Joseph Gagnon, Jane Haltmaier, and Steve Kamin


This paper examines Japan’s experience in the first half of the 1990s to shed some light on several issues that arise as inflation declines toward zero. Is it possible to recognize when an economy is moving into a phase of sustained deflation? How quickly should monetary policy respond to sharp declines in inflation? Are there factors that inhibit the monetary transmission mechanism as interest rates approach zero? What is the role for fiscal policy in warding off a deflationary episode? We conclude that Japan’s sustained deflationary slump was very much unanticipated by Japanese policymakers and observers alike, and that this was a key factor in the authorities' failure to provide sufficient stimulus to maintain growth and positive inflation. Once inflation turned negative and short-term interest rates approached the zero-lower-bound, it became much more difficult for monetary policy to reactivate the economy. We found little compelling evidence that in the lead up to deflation in the first half of the 1990s, the ability of either monetary or fiscal policy to help support the economy fell off significantly. Based on all these considerations, we draw the general lesson from Japan’s experience that when inflation and interest rates have fallen close to zero, and the risk of deflation is high, stimulus, both monetary and fiscal, should go beyond the levels conventionally implied by baseline forecasts of future inflation and economic activity.

Keywords: Monetary policy, Taylor Rule, fiscal policy

IFDP 2002-728
Finding Numerical Results to Large Scale Economic Models Using Path-Following Algorithms: A Vintage Capital Example


This paper describes the numerical optimization methods used in Berger (2001) to find the complete time paths of key economic variables in neoclassical vintage capital models. An interior and a non-interior point method are discussed. Both of the methods are part of the general class of "path-following" algorithms. These algorithms can be efficiently applied to convex programming problems; and due to the standard shape of production and utility functions, many economic problems can be written as convex programming problems. Vintage capital models add scale and complexity to standard growth models because one must now handle the dynamics of multiple capital stocks. This increase in complexity will often prevent the discovery (or existence) of closed form solutions, making numerical solutions of the type found in Berger (2001) necessary.

Keywords: Optimization, productivity, technology

IFDP 2002-727
International Comparisons of Productivity Growth: The Role of Information Technology and Regulatory Practices

Christopher Gust and Jaime Marquez


While information technologies (IT) are credited with the recent acceleration in productivity in the United States, many other industrial countries have not experienced a pickup in productivity growth. To explain this productivity divergence, we use panel data from 1992 to 1999 for 13 industrial countries and find that this divergence is driven in part by differences in both the production and adoption of information technologies. Based on this finding, we proceed to investigate what factors might play a role in explaining differences in IT adoption. Our results support the view that burdensome regulatory environments and in particular regulations affecting labor market practices have impeded the adoption of information technologies and slowed productivity growth in a number of industrial countries. We then develop a theoretical model with vintage capital and labor to evaluate the effect of more stringent labor market regulations on a firm's decision to adopt new technologies. We establish conditions under which a tax on firing workers delays the adoption of IT technology. These conditions occur when technological change is skill-biased and a firm must upgrade the quality of its workforce through labor turnover. The resulting delay in adopting IT technology then has negative implications for economy-wide productivity and is largely consistent with our empirical results.

Keywords: International panel data, employment protection legislation

IFDP 2002-726
A Guide to Choosing Absolute Bank Capital Requirements


Resampling implementation of a stress-scenario approach to estimating portfolio default loss distributions is proposed as the basis for estimates of the appropriate absolute level of economic capital allocations for portfolio credit risk. Estimates are presented for stress scenarios of varying severity. Implications of use of different analysis time horizons are analyzed. Results for a numeraire portfolio are quite sensitive to such variations. Although the analysis is framed in terms of recent proposals to revise regulatory capital requirements for banks, the arguments and results are also relevant for bankers making capital structure decisions.

Keywords: Risk management, credit risk, capital requirements, bank regulation

IFDP 2002-725
To What Extent Will the Banking Industry be Globalized? A Study of Bank Nationality and Reach in 20 European Nations

Allen N. Berger, Qinglei Dai, Steven Ongena, and David C. Smith


We model two dimensions of bank globalization -- bank nationality (a bank from the firm’s host nation, its home nation, or a third nation) and bank reach (a global, regional, or local bank) -- using a two-stage nested multinomial logit model. Our data set includes over 2,000 foreign affiliates of multinational corporations operating in 20 European nations. We find that these firms frequently use host nation banks for cash management services, and that bank reach may be strongly influenced by this choice of bank nationality. Our results suggest limits to the degree of future bank globalization.

Keywords: Bank, Globalization, Europe, Mergers

IFDP 2002-724
Equity Prices, Household Wealth, and Consumption Growth in Foreign Industrial Countries: Wealth Effects in the 1990s


Although most recent empirical research regarding the size and significance of the impact of changes in wealth on consumption has looked for such effects in the United States, equity prices in the 1990s rose considerably in most other industrial countries as well. This paper investigates the strength of the wealth effect across countries. Using a variety of methods, I find evidence of significant wealth effects in the United Kingdom and Canada of a size comparable to that in the United States, reflecting the importance of equities in aggregate household wealth in these countries. A significant wealth effect is also evident in Japan, but because household wealth has changed little on balance in Japan in recent years, this channel has been less important in explaining Japanese consumption growth in the second half of the 1990s. Despite a rapid appreciation in equity prices and an increase in equity ownership in the major continental European countries since 1995, equities remain a less important form of household wealth in most of these countries, and the consumption response to changes in wealth remains limited. However, in some smaller European countries where equity issuance is more common, the emerging evidence suggests that wealth effects may be more important.

Keywords: Stock ownership, housing

IFDP 2002-723
International Coordination of Macroeconomic Policies: Still Alive in the New Millennium?

Laurence H. Meyer, Brian M. Doyle, Joseph E. Gagnon, and Dale W. Henderson


In this paper we provide two building blocks for an analysis of international policy coordination: (1) a survey of models of policy coordination, and (2) an account of experience with policy coordination among the G-7 countries and within Europe since the breakdown of the Bretton Woods System. Using these building blocks, we investigate the correspondence between the models and experience and attempt to draw lessons for both the modelers and the practitioners. We find that the correspondence is close enough that the models help in analyzing several instances of actual policy coordination, but that the correspondence could be even closer. As for lessons for modelers, we suggest that they devote more attention to the analysis of information exchange, a key feature of practical policy coordination; to the coordination of different types of policies; to the ramifications of political divisions within countries; and to the implications of market irrationality and speculative bubbles. As for lessons for policy makers, we suggest that they give more consideration to the choice of their ultimate objectives, in particular to whether the current account should always be close to balance; to achieving better internal policies; and to the greater use of fiscal policy as a stabilization tool.

Keywords: International policy coordination, cooperation, information exchange, monetary policy, fiscal policy, G-7, European economic and monetary union

IFDP 2002-722
Financial Centers and the Geography of Capital Flows

Francis E. Warnock and Chad Cleaver


We examine an assumption common in empirical work on bilateral portfolio capital flows that the countries the flows are attributed to are also the countries of the security’s issuer, seller, or ultimate buyer. We do this by estimating U.S. investors’ holdings of debt and equities in over 40 countries and, for the same countries, foreign investors’ holdings of U.S. debt and equities. A comparison of our estimates with data from benchmark surveys provides insight into U.S. data on international debt and equity transactions. We find that, contrary to the common assumption, the data do not track the location of U.S. investment or the location of investors in U.S. assets very well. Because the U.S. portfolio flow data collection system was designed to measure cross-border transactions with foreign counterparties who are often intermediaries, the majority of the flows are attributed to financial centers. By aggregating our country-level estimates, we find that U.S. data accurately portray net inflows into U.S. equities and net outflows into foreign bonds. However, the data substantially overcount net inflows into U.S. bonds and may undercount net outflows into foreign equities. We conclude with a discussion of the implications of our findings for research on capital flows.

Keywords: Portfolio flows, equity and bond flows, international investment position, net foreign assets

IFDP 2002-721
Regional Influences on U.S. Monetary Policy: Some Implications for Europe

Ellen E. Meade and D. Nathan Sheets


This paper looks at the monetary policy decisions of the U.S. Federal Reserve and asks whether those decisions have been influenced solely by national concerns, or whether regional factors have played a role. All of the Federal Reserve’s policymakers have some regional identity, i.e., either their positions explicitly carry some regional affiliation or their region of origin is a factor that must be considered in the selection process. This research is relevant for the Fed, and it may also be relevant for Europe’s fledgling central bank in Frankfurt. Critics have asserted that ECB policymakers have an incentive to base policy on national developments and respond to national political pressures. We find that Fed policymakers do take into account developments in regional unemployment when deciding monetary policy, and that these regional developments are more important for central bankers at the hub than in the spokes. These findings are robust to a variety of different specifications of the voting equation.

Keywords: Central banking, Federal Reserve, FOMC, European Central Bank, ECB

IFDP 2002-720
Identifying VARs Based on High Frequency Futures Data

Jon Faust, Eric Swanson, and Jonathan H. Wright


Using the prices of federal funds futures contracts, we measure the impact of the surprise component of Federal Reserve policy decisions on the expected future trajectory of interest rates. We show how this information can be used to identify the effects of a monetary policy shock in a standard monetary policy VAR. This constitutes an alternative approach to identification that is quite different, and, we would argue, more plausible, than the conventional short-run restrictions. We find that the usual recursive identification of the model is rejected, but we nevertheless agree with the literature's conclusion that only a small fraction of the variance of output can be attributed to monetary policy shocks.

Keywords: Partial identification, monetary policy, vector autoregressions

IFDP 2002-719
Inflation Targeting and Nominal Income Growth Targeting: When and Why Are They Suboptimal?

Jinill Kim and Dale W. Henderson


We derive optimal monetary stabilization rules and compare them to simple rules under both full and partial information. The nominal interest rate is the instrument of monetary policy. Special attention is devoted to inflation targeting and nominal-income-growth targeting. We use an optimizing-agent model of a closed economy which features monopolistic competition in both product and labor markets. A stabilization problem exists because there are one-period nominal contracts, either for wages alone or for both wages and prices, and three shocks that are unknown when contracts are signed. In order to highlight basic theoretical results, we deliberately keep our model simple enough that we can obtain exact solutions. Optimal rules maximize the expected utility of the representative agent subject to the information set of the policymaker. A key result, possibly surprising at first, is that even with monopolistic competition, the optimal full information policy makes the economy mimic the hypothetical equilibrium with flexible prices and wages. We explain why strict versions of inflation targeting, nominal income growth targeting, and other such simple rules are suboptimal under both full and partial information and derive flexible versions that are optimal under certain partial information assumptions. Nominal income growth targeting dominates inflation targeting for plausible parameter values.

Original version (426 KB PDF)

Keywords: Monetary policy, monetary rule, wage contracts, price contracts, full information, partial information

IFDP 2002-718
On the Sequencing of Projects, Reputation Building, and Relationship Finance

Dominik Egli, Steven Ongena, and David C. Smith


We study the decision an entrepreneur faces in financing multiple projects and show that relationship financing will arise endogenously in an environment where strategic defaults are likely, even when firms have access to arm's-length financing. Relationship financing allows an entrepreneur to build a private reputation for repayment that reduces the cost of financing. However, in an environment where the risk of strategic default is low, the benefits from reputation building are outweighed by holdup rents extractable by the incumbent lender. Entrepreneurs then choose to finance projects from single or multiple arm's-length lenders.

Keywords: Relationship financing, reputation building, staged financing, contract enforcement, judicial efficiency

IFDP 2002-717
Determinants and Repercussions of the Composition of Capital Inflows

Mark Carlson and Leonardo Hernandez


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.

Keywords: Capital flows, crisis, contagion

Back to Top
Last Update: January 29, 2021