International Finance Discussion Papers (IFDP)
Staff working papers in the International Finance and Discussion Papers (IFDP) series are primarily materials produced by staff in the Division of International Finance. These topics are focused on, though by no means limited to, international macroeconomics, international trade, global finance, financial institutions, and markets, as well as international capital flows.
This paper revisits capital-skill complementarity and inequality, as in Krusell, Ohanian, Rios-Rull and Violante (KORV, 2000). Using their methodology, we study how well the KORV model accounts for more recent data, including the large changes in the labor's share of income that were not present in KORV. We study both labor share of gross income (as in KORV), and income net of depreciation. We also use nonfarm business sector output as an alternative measure of production to real GDP. We find strong evidence for continued capital-skill complementarity in the most recent data, and we also find that the model continues to closely account for the skill premium. The model captures the average level of labor share, though it overpredicts its level by 2-4 percentage points at the end of the period.
Keywords: Capital-skill complementarity, elasticity of substitution, inequality, labor share, skill premium, technological change.
We examine the commonality in international equity risk premiums by linking empirical evidence for the international stock return predictability of US downside and upside variance risk premiums (DVP and UVP, respectively) with implications from an international asset pricing framework, which takes the perspective of a US/global investor and features asymmetric global macroeconomic, financial market, and risk aversion shocks. We find that DVP and UVP predict international stock returns through different global equity risk premium determinants: bad and good macroeconomic uncertainties, respectively. Across countries, US investors demand lower macroeconomic risk compensation but higher financial market risk compensation for more-integrated countries.
Using a sample of 30 countries representing about 65% of the global GDP, we find that real economic uncertainty (REU) has negative long-lasting domestic economic effects and transmits across countries. The international spillover effects of REU are (i) additional to those of domestic REUs, (ii) statistically significant, and (iii) economically meaningful. Trade ties play a key role in explaining why uncertainty generated in one country can affect economic outcomes in other countries. Based on this evidence, we construct a novel index for global REU as the trade-weighted average of all countries' REUs. We disentangle the effects of the domestic and foreign components of global REU and find that, on average, innovations to the foreign component can contribute up to 28% of the future variation in domestic industrial production, with the effect being disproportionately larger on its manufacturing component, the component contributing the most to the tradable goods sector, than on its retail sales component.
Keywords: Economic effects of uncertainty, International transmission, Spillovers
How do changes in aggregate volatility alter the impulse response of output to monetary policy? To analyze this question, I study whether individual prices in Producer Price Index micro data are more likely to change and to move in the same direction when aggregate volatility is high, which would increase aggregate price exibility and reduce the effectiveness of monetary policy. Taking advantage of plausibly exogenous oil price volatility shocks and heterogeneity in oil usage across industries, I find that price changes are more dispersed and less frequent, implying that prices are less likely to move in the same direction when aggregate volatility is high. This contrasts with findings in the literature about idiosyncratic volatility. I use a state-dependent pricing model to interpret my findings. Random menu costs are necessary for the model to match the positive empirical relationship between oil price volatility and price change dispersion. This is the case because random menu costs reduce the extent to which firms with prices far from their optimum all act in a coordinated fashion when volatility increases. The model implies that increases in aggregate volatility do not substantially reduce the ability of monetary policy to stimulate output.
Keywords: Volatility, Ss model, Menu cost, Monetary policy, Oil
We estimate that the supply of sovereign safe assets is a major driver of neutral interest rates--real rates consistent with both economic activity and inflation at their trends. We find this result using an empirical cross-country model with many economic drivers for the neutral rates of 11 advanced economies during the 1960-2019 period. The increasing availability of safe assets after 2008 has pushed up neutral rates, preventing them from continuing their previous decline because of other drivers. We also evaluate the "global savings glut" hypothesis. We estimate that since 1994 the global accumulation of international exchange reserves in safe assets has lowered the availability of these assets to the private sector and, thus pushed down neutral rates. Finally, we find that economies' neutral rates are subject to important global spillovers from developments in other economies.
Keywords: neutral interest rates, safe assets, international reserves, global savings glut.
From Micro to Macro: A Note on the Analysis of Aggregate Productivity Dynamics Using Firm-Level Data
In the empirical literature, the analysis of aggregate productivity dynamics using firm-level productivity has mostly been based on changes in the mean of log-productivity. This paper shows that there can be substantial quantitative and qualitative differences in the results relative to when the analysis is based on changes in the mean of productivity, and discusses the circumstances under which such differences are likely to happen. We use firm-level data for Portugal for the period 2006-2015 to illustrate the point. When the mean of productivity is used, we estimate that TFP and labor productivity for the whole economy increased by 17.7 percent and 5.2 percent, respectively, over this period. But, when the mean of log-productivity is used, we estimate that these two productivity measures declined by 4.3 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively. Similarly disparate results are obtained for productivity decompositions regarding the contributions for productivity growth of surviving, entering and exiting firms.
Keywords: Jensen's inequality, productivity decomposition, geometric mean.
We build a model for simultaneously now-casting economic conditions in the euro area and its three largest member countries|Germany, France, and Italy. The model formalizes how market participants and policymakers monitor the euro area by incorporating all market moving indicators in real time. We find that area wide and country-specific data provide informative signals to now-cast the economic conditions in the euro area and member countries. The model provides accurate predictions of economic conditions in real time over a period that covers the past three recessions.
This paper was reposted April 2, 2021, with the following changes: In Figure 1, bars decomposing the nowcasted euro-area GDP growth across its main countries have been added, and an associated sentence on page 2 has been revised to reflect this.
Keywords: Now-casting, euro area, dynamic factor models
We show that U.S. dollar movements affect syndicated loan terms for U.S. borrowers, even for those without trade exposure. We identify the effect of dollar movements using spread and loan amount adjustments during the syndication process. Using this high-frequency, within loan variation, we find that a one standard deviation increase in the dollar index increases spreads by up to 15 basis points and reduces loan amounts and underpricing by up to 2 percent and 7 basis points, respectively. These effects are concentrated in dollar appreciations. Our results suggest that global factors reflected in the dollar affect U.S. borrowing costs.
Keywords: loan pricing, syndicated loans, dollar, institutional investors, risk taking.
David Hendry has made–and continues to make–pivotal contributions to the econometrics of empirical economic modeling, economic forecasting, econometrics software, substantive empirical economic model design, and economic policy. This paper reviews his contributions by topic, emphasizing the overlaps between different strands in his research and the importance of real-world problems in motivating that research.
Note: This paper was republished shortly after publication to update the date on the title page.
We study the role of global trade imbalances in shaping the adjustment dynamics in response to trade shocks. We build and estimate a general equilibrium, multi-country, multi-sector model of trade with two key ingredients: (a) Consumption-saving decisions in each country commanded by representative households, leading to endogenous trade imbalances; (b) labor market frictions across and within sectors, leading to unemployment dynamics and sluggish transitions to shocks. We use the estimated model to study the behavior of labor markets in response to globalization shocks, including shocks to technology, trade costs, and inter-temporal preferences (savings gluts). We find that modeling trade imbalances changes both qualitatively and quantitatively the short- and long-run implications of globalization shocks for labor reallocation and unemployment dynamics. In a series of empirical applications, we study the labor market effects of shocks accrued to the global economy, their implications for the gains from trade, and we revisit the "China Shock" through the lens of our model. We show that the US enjoys a 2.2 percent gain in response to globalization shocks. These gains would have been 73 percent larger in the absence of the global savings glut, but they would have been 40 percent smaller in a balanced-trade world.
Keywords: Globalization, labor markets, trade imbalances
Global value chain (GVC) participation affects the relationship between trade volumes and exchange rate movements. Guided by a simple theory, we show that exports react to the exchange rate between the country producing value added contained in exports and the country of final absorption for this value added. Three predictions follow: (i) a higher share of foreign value added in exports reduce the responsiveness of export volumes to exchange rate changes, (ii) a greater share of exports that returns as imports also reduce the responsiveness of export volumes and (iii) a higher share of inputs that are further reexported increase the responsiveness of exports to the trading partner's nominal effective exchange rate. Using a large origin-sector-destination level panel data set covering the period 1995-2009 and around 85% of world GDP, we find strong empirical support for these predictions. We further show that some sectors in some countries can experience a decline in gross exports when their currency depreciates.
Keywords: export elasticities, global value chains, currency unions, exchange rate passthrough
We introduce the concept of financial stability real interest rate using a macroeconomic banking model with an occasionally binding financing constraint as in Gertler and Kiyotaki (2010). The financial stability interest rate, r**, is the threshold interest rate that triggers the constraint being binding.
Increasing imbalances in the financial sector measured by an increase in leverage are accom- panied by a lower threshold that could trigger financial instability events. We also construct a theoretical implied financial condition index and show how it is related to the gap between the natural and financial stability interest rates.
Credit gaps are good predictors for financial crises, and banking regulators recommend using them to inform countercyclical capital buffers for banks. Researchers typically create credit gap measures using trend-cycle decomposition methods, which require many modelling choices, such as the method used, and the smoothness of the underlying trend. Other choices hinge on the tradeoffs implicit in how gaps are used as early warning indicators (EWIs) for predicting crises, such as the preference over false positives and false negatives. We evaluate how the performance of credit-gap-based EWIs for predicting crises is influenced by these modelling choices. For the most common trend-cycle decomposition methods used to recover credit gaps, we find that optimally smoothing the trend enhances out-of-sample prediction. We also show that out-of sample performance improves further when we consider a preference for robustness of the credit gap estimates to the arrival of new information, which is important as any EWI should work in real-time. We offer several practical implications.
Keywords: Credit, Credit Gap, Optimization, Predictive Power, Robustness, Trend-cycle decomposition.
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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.