1,066 research outputs found

    Current and Anticipated Deficits, Interest Rates and Economic Activity

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    There is widespread feeling that current deficits, in Europe and the U.S.,may hurt rather than help the recovery. This paper examines some of the issues involved, through a sequence of three models.The first model focuses on sustainability and characterizes its determinants. It suggests that the issue of sustainability may indeed ber elevant in some countries.The second model focuses on the effects of fiscal policy on real interestrates, and in particular on the relative importance of the level of deficits andthe level of debt in determining interest rates.The third model focuses on the effects of fiscal policy on the speed of the recovery. It shows how a sharply increasing fiscal expansion might be initially contractionary rather than expansionary.

    The Wage Price Spiral

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    This paper rehabilitates the old wage price spiral. It shows that, after an increase in aggregate demand, the process of adjustment of nominal prices and nominal wages results from attempts by workers to maintain or increase their real wage and by firms to maintain or increase their markups of prices over wages. Under continuous price and wage setting, the process of adjustment would be instantaneous ; under staggering of price and wage decisions, the adjustment takes time. The more inflexible real wages and markups are to shifts in demand, the higher is the degree of price level inertia, the longer lasting are the effects of aggregate demand on output.

    Empirical Structural Evidence on Wages, Prices and Employment in the US

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    In this paper, I investigate US post war price, wage and employment dynamics by identifying and estimating a price and a wage equation. I reach the following two main conclusions: Nominal wages adjust faster to prices than prices do to nominal wages. This may be taken as evidence that price inertia is more important empirically than nominal wage inertia. The wage equation implies that the effect on wage inflation of a permanent increase in unemployment, given prices, is largely temporary. This can be interpreted in various ways. One is that, if the wage equation is interpreted as a Phillips curve, both the rate of change and the level of unemployment play an important role in wage determination. The methodology of the paper is somewhat different from the traditional approach to the estimation of price and wage equations. Its spirit is to impose on the reduced form a just identifying set of restrictions. In this way, a structural interpretation is made possible, while the data are left free to speak.

    Price Asynchronization and Price Level Inertia

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    If price decisions are taken neither continuously nor in perfect synchronization, the process of adjustment of all prices to a new nominal level will imply temporary movements in relative prices. It might then well be that, to avoid these movements in relative prices, each price setter will want to move his own price slowly compared to others. The result will be a slow movement of all prices to their new nominal level, and substantial inertia of the price level. This paper formalizes this intuitive argument and reaches four main conclusions: (1) Even small departures from perfect synchronization can generate substantial price level inertia. (2) If price decisions are desynchronized, even anticipated movements in money will usually have an effect on economic activity. It is however possible to find paths of money deceleration which reduce inflation at no cost in output. (3) Price desynchronization has implications for relative price movements as well as for the price level. Goods early in the chain of production have more price and profit variability than goods further down the chain. (4) Price inertia, if it is due to price desynchronization, may be difficult to remove. It may well be that, given the timing decisions of others, no agent has an incentive to change his own timing decision: the time structure of price desynchronization may be stable.

    Debt, Deficits and Finite Horizons

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    Many issues in macroeconomics, such as the level of the steady state interest rate, or the dynamic effects of government deficit finance, depend crucially on the horizon of economic agents. This paper develops a simple analytical model in which such issues can be examined and in which the horizon of agents is a parameter which can be chosen arbitrarily.The first three sections of the paper characterize the dynamics and steady state of the economy in the absence of a government. The focus is on the effects of the horizon index on the economy. The paper clarifies in particular the separate roles of finite horizons and declining labor income through life in the determination of steady state interest rates.The next three sections study the effects and the role of fiscal policy.The focus is on the effects of deficit finance both in closed and open economies. The paper clarifies the respective roles of government spending, deficits and debt in the determination of interest rates.

    The Macroeconomic Effects of Oil Shocks: Why are the 2000s So Different from the 1970s?

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    We characterize the macroeconomic performance of a set of industrialized economies in the aftermath of the oil price shocks of the 1970s and of the last decade, focusing on the differences across episodes. We examine four different hypotheses for the mild effects on inflation and economic activity of the recent increase in the price of oil: (a) good luck (i.e. lack of concurrent adverse shocks), (b) smaller share of oil in production, (c) more flexible labor markets, and (d) improvements in monetary policy. We conclude that all four have played an important role.

    Monopolistic Competition, Aggregate Demand Externalities and Real Effects of Nominal Money

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    A long standing issue in macroeconomics is that of the relation of imperfect competition to fluctuations in output. In this paper we examine the relation between monopolistic competition and the role of aggregate demand in the determination of output. We first show that monopolistically competitive economies exhibit an aggregate demand externality. We then show that, because of this externality, small menu costs, that is small costs of changing prices may lead to large effects of aggregate demand on output and on welfare.

    Cyclical Behavior of Prices and Quantities in the Automobile Market

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    This paper has a simple goal, that of understanding the joint behaviorof prices and quantities in a particular market. More precisely, it examines whether we can find decision problems for suppliers and buyers, together with a market equilibrium structure, which are consistent with the observed price and quantity time series. Because of the relative homogeneity of the product, of the size of the market, end of the quality of the data, the market chosen is the automobile market.The first conclusion we reach is that this goal is difficult to achieve.The behavior of prices appears inconsistent with simple -- competitive, monopolistically competitive or monopolistic -- market structures. Prices appear, in a well defined sense, to be too "sticky". We then consider potentiail explanations and extensions. None appears completely satisfactory. In particular, the introduction of costs of changing prices does not seem able to explain the joint behavior of prices and quantities.
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