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Working Paper
Applications of Markov Chain Approximation Methods to Optimal Control Problems in Economics

In this paper we explore some of the benefits of using the finite-state Markov chain approximation (MCA) method of Kushner and Dupuis (2001) to solve continuous-time optimal control problems. We first show that the implicit finite-difference scheme of Achdou et al. (2017) amounts to a limiting form of the MCA method for a certain choice of approximating chains and policy function iteration for the resulting system of equations. We then illustrate the benefits of departing from policy function iteration by showing that using variations of modified policy function iteration to solve income ...
Working Papers , Paper 21-04

Working Paper
Employment Effects of Unconventional Monetary Policy : Evidence from QE

This paper investigates the effect of the Federal Reserve's unconventional monetary policy on employment via a bank lending channel. We find that banks with higher mortgage-backed securities holdings issued relatively more loans after the first and third rounds of quantitative easing (QE1 and QE3). While additional volume is concentrated in refinanced mortgages after QE1, increases are driven by newly originated home purchase mortgages and additional commercial and industrial lending after QE3. Using spatial variation, we show that regions with a high share of affected banks experienced ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2018-071

Working Paper
Variation in the Phillips Curve Relation across Three Phases of the Business Cycle

We use recently developed econometric tools to demonstrate that the Phillips curve unemployment rate?inflation rate relationship varies in an economically meaningful way across three phases of the business cycle. The first (?bust phase?) relationship is the one highlighted by Stock and Watson (2010): A sharp reduction in inflation occurs as the unemployment rate is rising rapidly. The second (?recovery phase?) relationship occurs as the unemployment rate subsequently begins to fall; during this phase, inflation is unrelated to any conventional unemployment gap. The final (?overheating phase?) ...
Working Papers , Paper 19-09

Working Paper
Non-Stationary Dynamic Factor Models for Large Datasets

We study a Large-Dimensional Non-Stationary Dynamic Factor Model where (1) the factors Ft are I (1) and singular, that is Ft has dimension r and is driven by q dynamic shocks with q less than r, (2) the idiosyncratic components are either I (0) or I (1). Under these assumption the factors Ft are cointegrated and modeled by a singular Error Correction Model. We provide conditions for consistent estimation, as both the cross-sectional size n, and the time dimension T, go to infinity, of the factors, the loadings, the shocks, the ECM coefficients and therefore the Impulse Response Functions. ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2016-024

Working Paper
On the Structural Interpretation of the Smets-Wouters “Risk Premium” Shock

This article shows that the "risk premium" shock in Smets and Wouters (2007) can be interpreted as a structural shock to the demand for safe and liquid assets such as short-term US Treasury securities. Several implications of this interpretation are discussed.
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2014-8

Working Paper
A Macroprudential Theory of Foreign Reserve Accumulation

This paper proposes a theory of foreign reserves as macroprudential policy. We study an open economy model of financial crises, in which pecuniary externalities lead to over-borrowing, and show that by accumulating international reserves, the government can achieve the constrained-efficient allocation. The optimal reserve accumulation policy leans against the wind and significantly reduces the exposure to financial crises. The theory is consistent with the joint dynamics of private and official capital flows, both over time and in the cross section, and can quantitatively account for the ...
Working Papers , Paper 761

Working Paper
A Local-Spillover Decomposition of the Causal Effect of U.S. Defense Spending Shocks

This paper decomposes the causal effect of government defense spending into: (i) a local (or direct) effect, and (ii) a spillover (or indirect) effect. Using state-level defense spending data, we show that a negative cross-state spillover effect explains the existing simultaneous findings of a low aggregate multiplier and a high local multiplier. We show that enlisting disaggregate data improves the precision of aggregate effect estimates, relative to using aggregate time series alone. Moreover, we compare two-step efficient GMM with two alternative moment weighting approaches used in ...
Working Papers , Paper 2020-014

Working Paper
Why Have Interest Rates Fallen Far Below the Return on Capital

Risk-free rates have been falling since the 1980s while the return on capital has not. We analyze these trends in a calibrated OLG model with recursive preferences, designed to encompass many of the "usual suspects'' cited in the debate on secular stagnation. Declining labor force and productivity growth imply a limited decline in real interest rates and deleveraging cannot account for the joint decline in the risk free rate and increase in the risk premium. If we allow for a change in the (perceived) risk to productivity growth to fit the data, we find that the decline in the risk-free rate ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2018-1

Report
RBC Methodology and the Development of Aggregate Economic Theory

This essay reviews the development of neoclassical growth theory, a unified theory of aggregate economic phenomena that was first used to study business cycles and aggregate labor supply. Subsequently, the theory has been used to understand asset pricing, growth miracles and disasters, monetary economics, capital accounts, aggregate public finance, economic development, and foreign direct investment. {{p}} The focus of this essay is on real business cycle (RBC) methodology. Those who employ the discipline behind the methodology to address various quantitative questions come up with ...
Staff Report , Paper 527

Working Paper
Applications of Markov Chain Approximation Methods to Optimal Control Problems in Economics

In this paper we explore some benefits of using the finite-state Markov chain approximation (MCA) method of Kushner and Dupuis (2001) to solve continuous-time optimal control problems in economics. We first show that the implicit finite-difference scheme of Achdou et al. (2022) amounts to a limiting form of the MCA method for a certain choice of approximating chains and policy function iteration for the resulting system of equations. We then illustrate that, relative to the implicit finite-difference approach, using variations of modified policy function iteration to solve income fluctuation ...
Working Papers , Paper 21-04R

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