## CFS working paper series

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#### Keywords

- Venture Capital (17)
- Monetary Policy (12)
- monetary policy (10)
- Liquidity (9)
- Financial Crisis (8)
- Corporate Governance (6)
- Financial Literacy (6)
- GARCH (6)
- Monetary Policy (6)
- Precautionary Saving (6)

- 2011, 06
- Saving rates and portfolio choice with subsistence consumption (2011)
- We analytically show that a common across rich/poor individuals Stone-Geary utility function with subsistence consumption in the context of a simple two-asset portfolio-choice model is capable of qualitatively and quantitatively explaining: (i) the higher saving rates of the rich, (ii) the higher fraction of personal wealth held in risky assets by the rich, and (iii) the higher volatility of consumption of the wealthier. On the contrary, time-variant “keeping-up-with-the-Joneses” weighted average consumption which plays the role of moving benchmark subsistence consumption gives the same portfolio composition and saving rates across the rich and the poor, failing to reconcile the model with what micro data say. JEL Classification: G11, D91, E21, D81, D14, D11 Keywords: Elasticity of Intertemporal Substitution, Stone-Geary Preferences, Two-asset Portfolio, Household Portfolios, Wealth Inequality, Controlled Diffusion

- 2003, 12
- Optimal monetary policy with imperfect common knowledge (2003)
- We study optimal nominal demand policy in an economy with monopolistic competition and flexible prices when firms have imperfect common knowledge about the shocks hitting the economy. Parametrizing firms´ information imperfections by a (Shannon) capacity parameter that constrains the amount of information flowing to each firm, we study how policy that minimizes a quadratic objective in output and prices depends on this parameter. When price setting decisions of firms are strategic complements, for a large range of capacity values optimal policy nominally accommodates mark-up shocks in the short-run. This finding is robust to the policy maker observing shocks imperfectly or being uncertain about firms´ capacity parameter. With persistent mark-up shocks accommodation may increase in the medium term, but decreases in the long-run thereby generating a hump-shaped price response and a slow reduction in output. Instead, when prices are strategic substitutes, policy tends to react restrictively to mark-up shocks. However, rational expectations equilibria may then not exist with small amounts of imperfect common knowledge. Klassifikation: E31, E52, D82

- 2003, 03
- Learning and equilibrium selection in a monetary overlapping generations model with sticky prices (2003)
- We study adaptive learning in a monetary overlapping generations model with sticky prices and monopolistic competition for the case where learning agents observe current endogenous variables. Observability of current variables is essential for informational consistency of the learning setup with the model set up but generates multiple temporary equilibria when prices are flexible and prevents a straightforward construction of the learning dynamics. Sticky prices overcome this problem by avoiding simultaneity between prices and price expectations. Adaptive learning then robustly selects the determinate (monetary) steady state independent from the degree of imperfect competition. The indeterminate (non-monetary) steady state and non-stationary equilibria are never stable. Stability in a deterministic version of the model may differ because perfect foresight equilibria can be the limit of restricted perceptions equilibria of the stochastic economy with vanishing noise and thereby inherit different stability properties. This discontinuity at the zero variance of shocks suggests to analyze learning in stochastic models. Revised version published in: Review of Economic Studies, Vol 70 (4), pp. 887-908, 2003 Klassifikation: E31, D84, C62

- 2003, 01
- Learning to forecast and cyclical behavior of output and inflation (2003)
- This paper considers a sticky price model with a cash-in-advance constraint where agents forecast inflation rates with the help of econometric models. Agents use least squares learning to estimate two competing models of which one is consistent with rational expectations once learning is complete. When past performance governs the choice of forecast model, agents may prefer to use the inconsistent forecast model, which generates an equilibrium where forecasts are inefficient. While average output and inflation result the same as under rational expectations, higher moments differ substantially: output and inflation show persistence, inflation responds sluggishly to nominal disturbances, and the dynamic correlations of output and inflation match U.S. data surprisingly well. Klassifikation: E31, E32, E37

- 2003, 02
- On the relation between robust and Bayesian decision making (2003)
- This paper compares Bayesian decision theory with robust decision theory where the decision maker optimizes with respect to the worst state realization. For a class of robust decision problems there exists a sequence of Bayesian decision problems whose solution converges towards the robust solution. It is shown that the limiting Bayesian problem displays infinite risk aversion and that decisions are insensitive (robust) to the precise assignment of prior probabilities. This holds independent from whether the preference for robustness is global or restricted to local perturbations around some reference model. Klassifikation: D81

- 2005, 16
- Discretionary monetary policy and the zero lower bound on nominal interest rates (2005)
- Ignoring the existence of the zero lower bound on nominal interest rates one considerably understates the value of monetary commitment in New Keynesian models. A stochastic forward-looking model with lower bound, calibrated to the U.S. economy, suggests that low values for the natural rate of interest lead to sizeable output losses and deflation under discretionary monetary policy. The fall in output and deflation are much larger than in the case with policy commitment and do not show up at all if the model abstracts from the existence of the lower bound. The welfare losses of discretionary policy increase even further when inflation is partly determined by lagged inflation in the Phillips curve. These results emerge because private sector expectations and the discretionary policy response to these expectations reinforce each other and cause the lower bound to be reached much earlier than under commitment. Klassifikation: E31, E52. First Version: October 3, 2003. Current Version: March 14, 2005.

- 2004, 13
- Optimal monetary policy under commitment with a zero bound on nominal interest rates (2004)
- We determine optimal monetary policy under commitment in a forwardlooking New Keynesian model when nominal interest rates are bounded below by zero. The lower bound represents an occasionally binding constraint that causes the model and optimal policy to be nonlinear. A calibration to the U.S. economy suggests that policy should reduce nominal interest rates more aggressively than suggested by a model without lower bound. Rational agents anticipate the possibility of reaching the lower bound in the future and this amplifies the effects of adverse shocks well before the bound is reached. While the empirical magnitude of U.S. mark-up shocks seems too small to entail zero nominal interest rates, shocks affecting the natural real interest rate plausibly lead to a binding lower bound. Under optimal policy, however, this occurs quite infrequently and does not require targeting a positive average rate of inflation. Interestingly, the presence of binding real rate shocks alters the policy response to (non-binding) mark-up shocks. Klassifikation: C63, E31, E52 . First Version: March 24, 2003. This Version: May 7, 2004.

- 2004, 15
- Are stationary hyperinflation paths learnable? (2004)
- Earlier studies of the seigniorage inflation model have found that the high-inflation steady state is not stable under adaptive learning. We reconsider this issue and analyze the full set of solutions for the linearized model. Our main focus is on stationary hyperinflationary paths near the high-inflation steady state. The hyperinflationary paths are stable under learning if agents can utilize contemporaneous data. However, in an economy populated by a mixture of agents, some of whom only have access to lagged data, stable inflationary paths emerge only if the proportion of agents with access to contemporaneous data is sufficiently high. Klassifikation: C62, D83, D84, E31

- 2005, 32
- Do consumers choose the right credit contracts? (2005)
- We find that on average consumers chose the contract that ex post minimized their net costs. A substantial fraction of consumers (about 40%) still chose the ex post sub-optimal contract, with some incurring hundreds of dollars of avoidable interest costs. Nonetheless, the probability of choosing the sub-optimal contract declines with the dollar magnitude of the potential error, and consumers with larger errors were more likely to subsequently switch to the optimal contract. Thus most of the errors appear not to have been very costly, with the exception that a small minority of consumers persists in holding substantially sub-optimal contracts without switching. Klassifikation: G11, G21, E21, E51

- 2008, 01
- The reaction of consumer spending and debt to tax rebates – evidence from consumer credit data (2008)
- We use a new panel dataset of credit card accounts to analyze how consumer responded to the 2001 Federal income tax rebates. We estimate the monthly response of credit card payments, spending, and debt, exploiting the unique, randomized timing of the rebate disbursement. We find that, on average, consumers initially saved some of the rebate, by increasing their credit card payments and thereby paying down debt. But soon afterwards their spending increased, counter to the canonical Permanent-Income model. Spending rose most for consumers who were initially most likely to be liquidity constrained, whereas debt declined most (so saving rose most) for unconstrained consumers. More generally, the results suggest that there can be important dynamics in consumers’ response to “lumpy” increases in income like tax rebates, working in part through balance sheet (liquidity) mechanisms. JEL Classification: D91, E21, E51, E62, G2, H31