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Jel Classification:E62 

Working Paper
Old, sick, alone, and poor: a welfare analysis of old-age social insurance programs

Poor health, large acute and long-term care medical expenses, and spousal death are significant drivers of impoverishment among retirees. We document these facts and build a rich, overlapping generations model that reproduces them. We use the model to assess the incentive and welfare effects of Social Security and means-tested social insurance programs such as Medicaid and food stamp programs, for the aged. We find that U.S. means-tested social insurance programs for retirees provide significant welfare benefits for all newborn. Moreover, when means-tested social insurance benefits are of the ...
FRB Atlanta Working Paper , Paper 2013-02

Working Paper
Regional Consumption Responses and the Aggregate Fiscal Multiplier

We use regional variation in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (2009-2012) to analyze the effect of government spending on consumer spending. Our consumption data come from household-level retail purchases in Nielsen and auto purchases from Equifax credit balances. We estimate that a $1 increase in county-level government spending increases consumer spending by $0.18. We translate the regional consumption responses to an aggregate fiscal multiplier using a multi-region, New Keynesian model with heterogeneous agents and incomplete markets. Our model successfully generates the ...
Working Paper Series , Paper 2018-4

Report
Credit Frictions in the Great Recession

Although a credit tightening is commonly recognized as a key determinant of the Great Recession, to date, it is unclear whether a worsening of credit conditions faced by households or by firms was most responsible for the downturn. Some studies have suggested that the household-side credit channel is quantitatively the most important one. Many others contend that the firm-side channel played a crucial role. We propose a model in which both channels are present and explicitly formalized. Our analysis indicates that the household-side credit channel is quantitatively more relevant than the ...
Staff Report , Paper 617

Discussion Paper
Municipal Debt Markets and the COVID-19 Pandemic

In March, with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, the market for municipal securities was severely stressed: mutual fund redemptions sparked unprecedented selling of municipal securities, yields increased sharply, and issuance dried up. In this post, we describe the evolution of municipal bond market conditions since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis. We show that conditions in municipal markets have improved significantly, in part a result of the announcement and implementation of several Federal Reserve facilities. Yields have decreased substantially, mutual funds ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20200629

Working Paper
Recycling Carbon Tax Revenue to Maximize Welfare

This paper explores how to recycle carbon tax revenue back to households to maximize welfare. Using a general equilibrium lifecycle model calibrated to reflect the heterogeneity in the U.S. economy, we find the optimal policy uses two thirds of carbon-tax revenue to reduce the distortionary tax on capital income while the remaining one third is used to increase the progressivity of the labor-income tax. The optimal policy attains higher welfare and more equality than the lump-sum rebate approach preferred by policymakers as well as the approach originally prescribed by economists -- which ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2021-023

Working Paper
Hitting the Elusive Inflation Target

Since the 2001 recession, average core inflation has been below the Federal Reserve?s 2% target. This deflationary bias is a predictable consequence of a low nominal interest rates environment in which the central bank follows a symmetric strategy to stabilize inflation. The deflationary bias increases if macroeconomic uncertainty rises or the natural real interest rate falls. An asymmetric rule according to which the central bank responds less aggressively to above-target inflation corrects the bias and allows inflation to converge to the central bank?s target. We show that adopting this ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2019-7

Report
Optimal Monetary Policy According to HANK

We study optimal monetary policy in a heterogeneous agent new Keynesian economy. A utilitarian planner seeks to reduce consumption inequality, in addition to stabilizing output gaps and inflation. The planner does so both by reducing income risk faced by households, and by reducing the pass-through from income to consumption risk, trading off the benefits of lower inequality against productive inefficiency and higher inflation. When income risk is countercyclical, policy curtails the fall in output in recessions to mitigate the increase in inequality. We uncover a new form of time ...
Staff Reports , Paper 916

Working Paper
The Politics of Flat Taxes

We study the determination of flat tax systems using a workhorse macroeconomic model of inequality. Our first result is that, despite the multidimensional policy space, equilibrium policies are typically unique (up to a fine grid numerical approximation). The majority voting outcome features (i) zero labor income taxation, (ii) simultaneous use of capital income and consumption taxation, and (iii) generally low transfers. We discuss the role of three factors?the initial heterogeneity in sources of income, the mobility of income and wealth, and the forward-looking aspect of voting?in ...
Working Papers , Paper 14-42R

Working Paper
Capital Taxation with Heterogeneous Discounting and Collateralized Borrowing

We study optimal long-run capital taxation in a closed economy with heterogeneity in agents' time-discount factors where borrowing is allowed but restricted by a collateral constraint. Financial frictions distort intertemporal optimization margins and the tax system serves a dual role: first, it is used to finance government consumption; second, it serves to alleviate the distortions arising from the binding collateral constraint. The discrepancy between the private and the social discount factors pushes for a subsidy on capital, while the discrepancy introduced by the collateral constraint ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2017-053

Working Paper
The Household Expenditure Response to a Consumption Tax Rate Increase

This study measures the effect of an increase in Japan's Value Added Tax rate on the timing of household expenditures and consumption, which do not necessarily coincide. The analysis finds that durable and storable expenditures surged in the month prior to the tax rate increase, fell sharply upon implementation, but quickly returned to their previous long-run levels. Non-storable non-durable expenditures increased slightly in the month prior to the tax rate increase, but were otherwise unresponsive. A dynamic structural model of household consumption reveals that the observed expenditure ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2017-035

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