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From the Finance and Economics Discussion Paper Series

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    Isabel Argimon, Clemens Bonner, Ricardo Correa, Patty Duijm, Jon Frost, Jakob de Haan, Leo de Haan, and Viktors Stebunovs | Global financial institutions play an important role in channeling funds across countries and, therefore, transmitting monetary policy from one country to another. In this paper, we study whether such international transmission depends on financial institutions' business models. In particular, we use Dutch, Spanish, and U.S. confidential supervisory data to test whether the transmission operates differently through banks, insurance companies, and pension funds. We find marked heterogeneity in the transmission of monetary policy across the three types of institutions, across the three banking systems, and across banks within each banking system. While insurance companies and pension funds do not transmit home-country monetary policy internationally, banks do, with the direction and strength of the transmission determined by their business models and balance sheet characteristics.

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    Manuel P. Gonzalez-Astudillo | This paper proposes a methodology to estimate the euro-area output gap by taking advantage of two types of data heterogeneity. On the one hand, the method uses information on real GDP, inflation, and the unemployment rate for each member state; on the other hand, it jointly considers this information for all the euro-area countries to extract an area-wide output gap measure. The setup is an unobserved components model that theorizes a common cycle across euro-area economies in addition to country- specific cyclical components. I estimate the model with Bayesian methods using data for the 19 countries of the euro area from 2000:Q1 through 2017:Q2 and perform model comparisons across different specifications of the output trend. The estimation of the model preferred by the data indicates that, because of negative shocks to trend output during the global financial crisis, output remained slightly above potential in that period, but an output gap of about negative 3-1⁄2 percent emerged during the European debt crisis. At the end of the sample period, output is estimated to be about 1 percent above potential.

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    Andrew C. Chang | What is the policy uncertainty surrounding expiring taxes? How uncertain are the approvals of routine extensions of temporary tax policies? To answer these questions, I use event studies to measure cumulative abnormal returns (CARs) for firms that claimed the U.S. research and development (R&D) tax credit from 1996-2015. In 1996, the U.S. R&D tax credit was statutorily temporary but was routinely extended ten times until 2015, when it was made permanent. I take the event dates as both when these ten extensions of the R&D tax credit were introduced into committee and when significant CARs on these dates, which suggests that the market anticipated these extensions to become law. My results support the fact that a routine extension of a temporary tax policy is not a generator of policy uncertainty and, therefore, that a routine extension of temporary tax policy is not a fiscal shock.

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    Daniel A. Dias, Carlos Robalo Marques, and Christine Richmond | Recent empirical studies document that the level of resource misallocation in the service sector is significantly higher than in the manufacturing sector. We quantify the importance of this difference and study its sources. Conservative estimates for Portugal (2008) show that closing this gap, by reducing misallocation in the service sector to manufacturing levels, would boost aggregate gross output by around 12 percent and aggregate value added by around 31 percent. Differences in the effect and size of productivity shocks explain most of the gap in misallocation between manufacturing and services, while the remainder is explained by differences in firm productivity and age distribution. We interpret these results as stemming mainly from higher output-price rigidity, higher labor adjustment costs, and higher informality in the service sector.

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    Manuel P. Gonzalez-Astudillo | This paper proposes a methodology to estimate the euro-area output gap by taking advantage of two types of data heterogeneity. On the one hand, the method uses information on real GDP, inflation, and the unemployment rate for each member state; on the other hand, it jointly considers this information for all the euro-area countries to extract an area-wide output gap measure. The setup is an unobserved components model that theorizes a common cycle across euro-area economies in addition to country- specific cyclical components. I estimate the model with Bayesian methods using data for the 19 countries of the euro area from 2000:Q1 through 2017:Q2 and perform model comparisons across different specifications of the output trend. The estimation of the model preferred by the data indicates that, because of negative shocks to trend output during the global financial crisis, output remained slightly above potential in that period, but an output gap of about negative 3-1⁄2 percent emerged during the European debt crisis. At the end of the sample period, output is estimated to be about 1 percent above potential.

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    David M. Arseneau and Brendan Epstein | This paper presents a model in which mismatch employment arises in a constrained efficient equilibrium. In the decentralized economy, however, mismatch gives rise to a congestion externality whereby heterogeneous job seekers fail to internalize how their individual actions affect the labor market outcomes of competitors in a common unemployment pool. We provide an analytic characterization of this distortion, assess the distributional nature of the associated welfare effects, and relate it to the relative productivity of low- and high-skilled workers competing for similar jobs.

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    John Ammer, Stijn Claessens, Alexandra Tabova, and Caleb Wroblewski | We analyze how interest rates affect cross-border portfolio investments. Data on U.S. bond holdings by foreign investors from 31 countries for the period 2003 - 2016 and a large variety in movements in interest rates in these countries provide for a unique way to analyze shifts in investment behavior in response to interest rates. We find that low(er) interest rates, now prevailing in many advanced countries, lead to greater investment in general into the United States, with the effects generally driven by investment in (higher yielding) corporate bonds, rather than in Treasury bonds. In addition to affecting overall investments, lower interest rates at home are associated with a greater weight on corporate bonds, consistent with search-for-yield. The results are economically important and robust to controlling for a number of country-specific macroeconomic and financial conditions as well as to sample restrictions and choices of interest rate. Our findings have important policy implications in that they suggest that low interest rates can lead to shifts in the volume and composition of overseas investments.

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    Ufuk Akcgit, Sina T. Ates, and Giammario Impullitti | How do import tariffs and R&D subsidies help domestic firms compete globally? How do these policies affect aggregate growth and economic welfare? To answer these questions, we build a dynamic general equilibrium growth model where firm innovation endogenously determines the dynamics of technology, market leadership, and trade flows, in a world with two large open economies at different stages of development. Firms' R&D decisions are driven by (i) the defensive innovation motive, (ii) the expansionary innovation motive, and (iii) technology spillovers. The theoretical investigation illustrates that, statically, globalization (defined as reduced trade barriers) has ambiguous effects on welfare, while, dynamically, intensified globalization boosts domestic innovation through induced international competition. Accounting for transitional dynamics, we use our model for policy evaluation and compute optimal policies over different time horizons. The model suggests that the introduction of the Research and Experimentation Tax Credit in 1981 proves to be an effective policy response to foreign competition, generating substantial welfare gains in the long run. A counterfactual exercise shows that increasing tariffs as an alternative policy response improves domestic welfare only when the policymaker cares about the very short run, and only when introduced unilaterally. Tariffs generate large welfare losses in the medium and long run, or when there is retaliation by the foreign economy. Protectionist measures generate large dynamic losses by distorting the impact of openness on innovation incentives and productivity growth. Finally, our model predicts that a more globalized world entails less government intervention, thanks to innovation-stimulating effects of intensified international competition.

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    Sarah S. Baker, David López-Salido, and Edward Nelson | We argue that Schularick and Taylor's (2012) comparison of credit growth and monetary growth as financial-crisis predictors does not necessarily provide a valid basis for achieving one of their stated intentions: evaluating the relative merits of the "money view" and "credit view" as accounts of macroeconomic outcomes. Our own analysis of the postwar evidence suggests that money outperforms credit in predicting economic downturns in the 14 countries in Schularick and Taylor's dataset. This contrasts with Schularick and Taylor's (2012) highly negative verdict on the money view. In accounting for the difference in findings, we first explain that Schularick and Taylor's characterization of the money view is defective, both because their criterion for its validity (that rapid monetary growth predicts financial crises) is misplaced, and because they incorrectly take the money view's proponents as relying on the notion that monetary aggregates are a good proxy for credit a ggregates. In fact, the money view of Friedman and Schwartz does not predict an automatic relationship between rapid monetary growth and (financial or economic) downturns, nor does it rest on money being a good proxy for credit. We further show that Schularick and Taylor's data on money have systematic faults. For our reexamination of the evidence, we have constructed new, and more reliable, annual data on money for the countries studied by Schularick and Taylor.

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