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NBER Working Paper Series

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Опубликовано на портале: 16-11-2004
Robert J. Gordon NBER Working Paper Series. 2000.  w7752.
This paper assesses the standard data on output, labor input, and capital input, which imply one big wave' in multi-factor productivity (MFP) growth for the United States since 1870. The wave-like pattern starts with slow MFP growth in the late 19th century, then an acceleration peaking in 1928-50, and then a deceleration to a slow rate after 1972 that returns to the poor performance of 1870-1891. A counterpart of the standard data is a mysterious doubling in the ratio of output to capital input when the postwar era is compared with 1870-1929. Three types of measurement adjustments are applied to the standard input data. Following the lead of Denison and Jorgenson-Griliches, adjustments for the changing composition (or quality') of labor and capital, currently published by the BLS back to 1948, are estimated for 1870-1948. These composition adjustments take into account the shifting mix of the labor force along the dimensions of education and age-sex composition, and of the capital stock between equipment and structures. Further adjustments are made to capital input data to allow retirement to vary with gross investment rather than to follow a fixed pattern depending only on age, and to add types of capital owned by the government that are particularly productive in the private sector. A new MFP series taking account of all these adjustments grows more slowly throughout, and the big wave' phenomenon is both flatter and extends back further in time to 1891. However, there is no solution to the post-1972 productivity slowdown, and in the new data MFP growth during 1972-96 proceeds at a pathetic 0.1 percent per year. A byproduct of the measurement adjustments is to solve completely the previous puzzle of the jump in the output-capital ratio; in the new data this ratio is actually lower in 1996 than in 1870. The primary substantive explanation for the big wave lies in the timing of inventions. MFP growth during the big wave' period benefited from the diffusion of four great clusters of inventions that dwarf today's information technology revolution in their combined importance. A complementary hypothesis is that the partial closing of American labor markets to immigration and of American goods markets to imports during the big wave period gave an artificial and temporary boost to real wages which fed back into boosting productivity growth, followed by a reopening that contributed to the post-1972 productivity slowdown.
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Опубликовано на портале: 19-10-2004
George J. Borjas, Valerie A. Ramey NBER Working Paper Series. 2000.  No. 7799.
This paper examines the link between interindustry wage differentials and subsequent growth of industry variables such as employment, GDP and labor productivity. We find that industries that paid higher than average wages in 1959 experienced significantly lower employment growth and GDP growth in the subsequent 30 to 40 years, while at the same time experiencing higher-than-average growth in the capital-labor ratio and in labor productivity. We argue that the evidence is best explained by a non-competitive model of the interindustry wage structure, as both firms and the market respond to the wage rigidity implied by the long-run persistence of the interindustry wage structure.
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Опубликовано на портале: 11-11-2004
Frederic S. Mishkin, Miguel A. Savastano NBER Working Paper Series. 2000.  w7617.
The paper examines possible monetary policy strategies for Latin America that may help lock-in the gains in the fight against inflation attained by the region during the 1990s. We start by calling for a refocus of the debate about the conduct of monetary policy away from thinking that it is about whether the nominal exchange rate should be fixed or flexible. Instead we argue that the focus should be on whether the monetary policy regime appropriately constrains discretion in monetary policymaking. This focus suggest that there are three basic frameworks that deserve serious discussion as possible, long-run strategies for monetary policy in Latin America: a hard exchange-rate peg, monetary targeting, and inflation targeting. We look at the advantages and disadvantages of each of these strategies and then examine the recent track record of monetary policy in some Latin American countries for clues as to which of the three strategies might be best suited to economies in the region.
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Опубликовано на портале: 05-10-2004
Alan J. Auerbach, Kevin A. Hassett NBER Working Paper Series. 2000.  No. 7821.
Under the new view' of dividend taxation developed in Auerbach (1979), Bradford (1981) and King (1977) the marginal source of finance for new investment projects is retained earnings. In this case, the tax advantage of retentions precisely offsets the double taxation of subsequent dividends: taxes on dividends have no impact on the investment incentives of firms using retentions as a marginal source of funds and paying dividends with residual cash flows. We find evidence that dividends do respond to investment and cash flow for the nonfinancial corporate sector as a whole in a manner consistent with the new view. We also find that this dividend pattern is weaker for firms with better access to capital markets, as measured by bond rating and the number of analysts following them. Finally, we find that, although new share issues and repurchases respond to the same firm characteristics as dividends do, the pattern of these responses is consistent with a broader interpretation of the new view that preserves the main result of dividend-tax irrelevance with respect to the cost of capital.
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Опубликовано на портале: 05-10-2004
Charles M. Engel NBER Working Paper Series. 2000.  No. 7889.
This paper examines optimal exchange-rate policy in two-country sticky-price general equilibrium models in which households and firms optimize over an infinite horizon in an environment of uncertainty. The models are in the vein of the new open-economy macroeconomics' as exemplified by Obstfeld and Rogoff (1995, 1998, 2000). The conditions under which fixed or floating exchange rates yield higher welfare depend on the exact nature of price stickiness and on the degree of risk-sharing opportunities. This paper presents some preliminary empirical evidence on the behavior of consumer prices in Mexico that suggests failures of the law of one price are important. The evidence on price setting and risk-sharing opportunities is not refined enough to make definitive conclusions about the optimal exchange-rate regime for that country.
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Опубликовано на портале: 15-11-2004
Mark Bils, Peter J. Klenow NBER Working Paper Series. 2000.  w7695.
We introduce an instrumental variables approach to estimate the importance of unmeasured quality growth for a set of 66 durable consumer goods. Our instrument is based on predicting which of these 66 goods will display rapid quality growth. Using pooled cross- relatively sections of households in the 1980 through 1996 U.S. Consumer Expenditure Surveys, we estimate quality Engel curves' for 66 durable consumer goods based on the extent richer households pay more for a good, conditional on purchasing. We use the slopes of these curves to predict the rate of quality-upgrading. Just as if households are ascending these quality Engel curves over time, we find that the average price paid rises faster for goods with steeper quality slopes. BLS prices likewise increase more quickly for goods with steeper quality slopes, suggesting the BLS does not fully net out the impact of quality-upgrading on prices paid. We estimate that quality growth averages about 3.7% per year for our goods, with about 60% of this, or 2.2% per year, showing up as higher inflation rather than higher real growth.
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Опубликовано на портале: 05-10-2004
Francesco Giavazzi, Tullio Jappelli, Marco Pagano NBER Working Paper Series. 2000.  No. 7460.
Several recent studies suggest that the response of national saving to fiscal policy may be non-linear. In this paper we use two data sets to search for the circumstances in which such non-linear responses may arise: a sample of OECD countries used in previous studies, and sample of developing countries, using more recent World Bank data. We find that in both samples non-linear effects tend to be associated with large and persistent fiscal impulses. In the OECD sample the non-linearity of the response is stronger for fiscal contractions than for expansions. An increase in net taxes has no effect on national saving during large fiscal contractions, while it has a positive effect in less pronounced contractions. High or rapidly growing public debt does not appear to be a good predictor of non-linear effects. In the World Bank sample of developing countries, non-linearities in the response national saving to fiscal policy are not limited to large fiscal contractions, and also tend to occur in periods in which debt is accumulating rapidly, regardless of its initial level.
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Опубликовано на портале: 31-10-2007
Marvin J. Barth III, Valerie A. Ramey NBER Working Paper Series. 2000.  No. 7675.
This paper presents evidence that the “cost channel” may be an important part of the monetary transmission mechanism. We argue that if working capital is an essential component of production and distribution, monetary contractions can affect output through a supply channel as well as the traditional demand-type channels. We specify an industry equilibrium model and use it to interpret the results of a VAR analysis. We find that following a monetary contraction, many industries exhibit periods of falling output and rising price-wage ratios, consistent with a supply shock in our model. We also show that the effects are noticeably more pronounced during the period before 1979.
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Опубликовано на портале: 05-02-2003
Herschel I. Grossman NBER Working Paper Series. 2000.  No. 7897.
Traditionally, general-equilibrium models have taken effective property rights to be given and have been concerned only with analyzing the allocation of resources among productive uses and the distribution of the resulting product. But, this formulation of the economic problem is incomplete because it neglects that the appropriative activities by which people create the effective property rights that inform allocation and distribution are themselves an alternative use of scare resources. This paper develops two canonical general-equilibrium models of resource allocation and income distribution that allow for the allocation of time and effort to the creation of effective property rights to valuable resources. In one model the valuable resources are initially in common pool. In the other models the analysis reveals how the amount of time and effort that agents allocate to the creation of effective property rights, on the technology of production, and on the scale of the economy. The paper also analyses the security of initial claims to valuable resources and speculates about why initial claims are perfectly secure.
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Опубликовано на портале: 12-08-2007
Bart Hobijn, Boyan Jovanovic NBER Working Paper Series. 2000.  No. 7684.
В данной статье исследуется поведение фондового рынка США в послевоенные годы. Начиная с 1968 года соотношение капитализации фондового рынка и ВВП менялось в 5 раз. В 1972 году это отношение составляло порядка единицы, но к 1974 году оно упало до 0,45, продержавшись на этом уровне до следующего десятилетия. Затем начался постепенный рост и сегодня данное соотношение составляет порядка двух. Авторы показывают, что за этим ростом стоит революция информационных технологий, более того, соотношение капитализации к ВВП, вероятно, сначала падает, а потом растет после какого-нибудь значительного технологического прорыва. Три предположения, которые позволяют делать такие выводы, следующие: 1. Революция в области информационных технологий не оказалась неожиданной в начале 1973 года. 2. Информационным технологиям было оказано сопротивление со стороны традиционных секторов, что привело к падению их ценности. 3. Различного рода поглощения являются несовершенным инструментом экономической политики, позволившим многим фирмам оставаться неэффективными до середины 1980-х годов. Авторы излагают факты, которые объясняет гипотеза информационных технологий, а альтернативные гипотезы, такие как шоки цен на нефть, возросшая волатильность рынка и пузыри - нет.
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Опубликовано на портале: 03-05-2005
Emmanuel Saez NBER Working Paper Series. 2000.  No. 8037.
This paper analyzes the optimal treatment of tax expenditures. It develops an optimal tax model where individuals derive utility from spending on a contribution' good such as charitable giving. The contribution good has also a public good effect on all individuals in the economy. The government imposes linear taxes on earnings and on the contribution good so as to maximize welfare. The government may also finance directly the contribution good out of tax revenue. Optimal tax and subsidy rates on earnings and the contribution good are expressed in terms of empirically estimable parameters and the redistributive tastes of the government. The optimal subsidy on the contribution good is increasing in the size of the price elasticity of contributions, the size of the crowding-out effect of public contributions on private contributions, and the size of the public good effect of the contribution good. Numerical simulations show that the optimal subsidy on contributions is fairly sensitive to the size of these parameters but that, in most cases, it should be lower than the earnings tax rate.
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Опубликовано на портале: 18-08-2004
Maurice Obstfeld, Kenneth S. Rogoff NBER Working Paper Series. 2000.  No. 7777.
The central claim in this paper is that by explicitly introducing costs of international trade (narrowly, transport costs but more broadly, tariffs, nontariff barriers and other trade costs), one can go far toward explaining a great number of the main empirical puzzles that international macroeconomists have struggled with over twenty-five years. Our approach elucidates J. McCallum's home bias in trade puzzle, the Feldstein-Horioka saving-investment puzzle, the French-Poterba equity home bias puzzle, and the Backus-Kehoe- Kydland consumption correlations puzzle. That one simple alteration to an otherwise canonical international macroeconomic model can help substantially to explain such a broad arrange of empirical puzzles, including some that previously seemed intractable, suggests a rich area for future research. We also address a variety of international pricing puzzles, including the purchasing power parity puzzle emphasized by Rogoff, and what we term the exchange-rate disconnect puzzle.' The latter category of riddles includes both the Meese-Rogoff exchange rate forecasting puzzle and the Baxter-Stockman neutrality of exchange rate regime puzzle. Here although many elements need to be added to our extremely simple model, we can still show that trade costs play an essential role.
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Опубликовано на портале: 17-09-2004
Olivier Jean Blanchard NBER Working Paper Series. 2000.  No. 7550.
The answer to the question in the title is: A lot. In this essay, I argue that the history of macroeconomics during the 20th century can be divided in three epochs: Pre 1940. A period of exploration, where macroeconomics was not macroeconomics yet, but monetary theory on one side, business cycle theory on the other. A period during which all the right ingredients, and quite a few more, were developed. But also a period where confusion reigned, because of the lack of an integrated framework. From 1940 to 1980. A period of consolidation. A period during which an integrated framework was developed starting with the IS-LM, all the way to dynamic general equilibrium models and used to clarify the role of shocks and propagation mechanisms in fluctuations. But a construction with an Achille's heel, namely too casual a treatment of imperfections, leading to a crisis in the late 1970s. Since 1980. A new period of exploration, focused on the role of imperfections in macroeconomics, from the relevance of nominal price setting, to incompleteness of markets, to asymmetric information, to search and bargaining in decentralized markets. Exploration often feels like confusion. But behind it may be one of the most productive periods of research in macroeconomics.
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