We consider how fear of model misspecification on the part of the planner and/or the households affects welfare gains from optimal macroprudential taxes in an economy with occasionally binding collateral constraints as in Bianchi (2011). On the one hand, there exist welfare gains from internalizing how borrowing decisions in good times affect the value of collateral during a crisis. On the other hand, interventions by a robust planner that has in mind a model far from the true underlying distribution of shocks, can result in negligible welfare gains, or even losses. This is because a policy that is robust to misspecification, as in Hansen and Sargent (2011), is optimal under a "worst-case'' scenario but not under alternative distributions of the state. A robust planner introduces taxes that are 5 percentage points higher but does not achieve a significant increase in welfare gains compared to a non-robust planner when the true underlying model is not the worst-case. If households also make choices that are robust to model misspecification, the gains are significantly reduced and a highly-robust planner "underborrows" and induces welfare losses. If, however, the worst-case scenario is indeed realized, then welfare gains are the largest possible.
Mr. Luis Brandao-Marques and Mrs. Esther Perez Ruiz
This paper develops comparable financial conditions indices (FCIs) for the six large and most
financially-integrated Latin American economies (LA6) by following Korobilis (2013) and Koop
and Korobilis (2014). The main findings are as follows. First, the estimated FCIs are influenced
by a commodity cycle, a global financial cycle, as well as country-specific episodes of financial
distress. Second, by early 2017, financial conditions remained favorable in most LA6 economies
relative to historical standards. Third, the impact of financial shocks on economic activity widely
varies across LA6 and is otherwise found to be stronger in periods of financial stress. Fourth,
exposure to regional financial spillovers also differs across LA6.
Shocks stemming from Brazil - the large neighbor in South America - have historically been a source of concern for policy-makers in other countries of the region. This paper studies the importance of Brazil’s influence on its neighboring economies, documenting trade linkages over the last two decades and quantifying spillover effects in a Vector Auto Regression setting. While trade linkages with Brazil are significant for the Southern Cone countries (Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay), they are very weak for others. Consistent with this evidence, econometric results show that, while the Southern Cone economies (especially Mercosur’s members) are vulnerable to output shocks from Brazil, the rest of South America is not. Spillovers can take two different forms: the transmission of Brazil-specific shocks and the amplification of global shocks—through their impact on Brazil’s output. Finally, we also find suggestive evidence that depreciations of Brazil’s currency may not have significant impact on output of its key trading partners.