Inflation, growth, and financial intermediation
Endogenous policy choice: the case of pollution and growth
What determines the relationship between pollution and growth? Are the forces that explain the behavior over time of these quantities potentially useful to understand more generally the relationship between policies and growth? In this paper, we make a first attempt to analyze the equilibrium behavior of two quantities?the level of pollution and the level of income?in a setting in which societies choose, via voting, how much to regulate pollution. Our major finding is that, consistent with the evidence, the relationship between pollution and growth need not be monotone and that the precise ...
Growth and business cycles
We present a class of convex endogenous growth models and analyze their performance in terms of both growth and business cycle criteria. The models we study have close analogs in the real business cycle literature. We interpret the exogenous growth rate of productivity as an endogenous growth rate of human capital. This perspective allows us to compare the strengths of the two classes of models. ; To highlight the mechanism that gives endogenous growth models the ability to improve upon their exogenous growth relatives, we study models that are symmetric in terms of human and physical capital ...
Fertility and Social Security
The data show that an increase in government provided old-age pensions is strongly correlated with a reduction in fertility. What type of model is consistent with this finding? We explore this question using two models of fertility: one by Barro and Becker (1989), and one inspired by Caldwell (1978, 1982) and developed by Boldrin and Jones (2002). In Barro and Becker's model parents have children because they perceive their children's lives as a continuation of their own. In Boldrin and Jones' framework parents procreate because children care about their parents' utility, and thus provide ...
The economics of split-ticket voting in representative democracies
In U.S. elections, voters often vote for candidates from different parties for president and Congress. Voters also express dissatisfaction with the performance of Congress as a whole and satisfaction with their own representative. We develop a model of split-ticket voting in which government spending is financed by uniform taxes but the benefits from this spending are concentrated. While the model generates split-ticket voting, overall spending is too high only if the president?s powers are limited. Overall spending is too high in a parliamentary system, and our model can be used as the basis ...
A reconsideration of the problem of social cost: free riders and monopolists
We examine the validity of one version of the Coase Theorem: In any economy in which property rights are fully allocated, competition will lead to efficient allocations. This version of the theorem implies that the public goods problem can be solved by allocating property rights fully and letting markets do their work. We show that this mechanism is not likely to work well in economies with either pure public goods or global externalities. The reason is that the privatized economy turns out to be highly susceptible to strategic behavior in that the free-rider problem in public goods economies ...
Why are married women working so much?
We study the large observed changes in labor supply by married women in the United States over 1950-1990, a period when labor supply by single women has hardly changed at all. We investigate the effects of changes in the gender wage gap, technological improvements in the production of nonmarket goods and potential inferiority of these goods on understanding this change. We find that small decreases in the gender wage gap can explain simultaneously the significant increases in the average hours worked by married women and the relative constancy in the hours worked by single women, and single ...
The growth effects of monetary policy
This article investigates the relationship between inflation and output, in the data and in standard models. The article reports that empirical cross-country studies generally find a nonlinear, negative relationship between inflation and output, a relationship that standard models cannot come close to reproducing. The article demonstrates that the models' problem may be due to their standard narrow assumption that all money is held by the public for making transactions. When the models are adjusted to also assume that banks are required to hold money, the models do a much better job. The ...
Technology (and policy) shocks in models of endogenous growth
Our objective is to understand how fundamental uncertainty can affect the long-run growth rate and what factors determine the nature of the relationship. Qualitatively, we show that the relationship between volatility in fundamentals and policies and mean growth can be either positive or negative. We identify the curvature of the utility function as a key parameter that determines the sign of the relationship. Quantitatively, we find that when we move from a world of perfect certainty to one with uncertainty that resembles the average uncertainty in a large sample of countries, growth rates ...
Risk sharing, inequality, and fertility
We use an extended Barro-Becker model of endogenous fertility, in which parents are heterogeneous in their labor productivity, to study the efficient degree of consumption inequality in the long run. In our environment a utilitarian planner allows for consumption inequality even when labor productivity is public information. We show that adding private information does not alter this result. We also show that the informationally constrained optimal insurance contract has a resetting property - whenever a family line experiences the highest shock, the continuation utility of each child is ...