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Mr. Francisco Roch and Francisco Roldán
We analyze how concerns for model misspecification on the part of international lenders affect the desirability of issuing state-contingent debt instruments in a standard sovereign default model à la Eaton and Gersovitz (1981). We show that for the commonly used threshold state-contingent bond structure (e.g., the GDP-linked bond issued by Argentina in 2005), the model with robustness generates ambiguity premia in bond spreads that can explain most of what the literature has labeled as novelty premium. While the government would be better off with this bond when facing rational expectations lenders, this additional source of premia leads to welfare losses when facing robust lenders. Finally, we characterize the optimal design of the state-contingent bond and show how it varies with the level of robustness. Our findings rationalize the little use of these instruments in practice and shed light on their optimal design.
Mr. Nooman Rebei and Rashid Sbia
This paper documents the determinants of real oil price in the global market based on SVAR model embedding transitory and permanent shocks on oil demand and supply as well as speculative disturbances. We find evidence of significant differences in the propagation mechanisms of transitory versus permanent shocks, pointing to the importance of disentangling their distinct effects. Permanent supply disruptions turn out to be a bigger factor in historical oil price movements during the most recent decades, while speculative shocks became less influential.
Ms. Yu Shi, Robert M. Townsend, and Wu Zhu
Using business registry data from China, we show that internal capital markets in business groups can propagate corporate shareholders’ credit supply shocks to their subsidiaries. An average of 16.7% local bank credit growth where corporate shareholders are located would increase subsidiaries investment by 1% of their tangible fixed asset value, which accounts for 71% (7%) of the median (average) investment rate among these firms. We argue that equity exchanges is one channel through which corporate shareholders transmit bank credit supply shocks to the subsidiaries and provide empirical evidence to support the channel.
Mr. Sonali Das and Mr. Volodymyr Tulin
This paper studies private investment in India against the backdrop of a significant investment decline over the past decade. We analyze the potential causes of weaker investment at the firm level, using both firm-level financial statements and a novel dataset on firms’ investment project decisions, and find that financial frictions have played a role in the slowdown. Firms with higher financial leverage invest less, as do firms with lower earnings relative to their interest expenses. Consistent with the notion of credit constraints leading to pro-cyclical investment, we also find that firms with higher leverage are (i) less likely to undertake new investment projects, (ii) less likely to complete investment projects once begun, and (iii) undertake shorter-term investment projects.
Diego A. Cerdeiro and Dmitry Plotnikov
The effect that the recent decline in the price of oil has had on growth is far from clear, with many observers at odds to explain why it does not seem to have provided a significant boost to the world economy. This paper aims to address this puzzle by providing a systematic analysis of the effect of oil price shocks on growth for 72 countries comprising 92.8% of world GDP. We find that, on net, shocks driving the oil price in 2015 shaved off 0.2 percentage points of growth for the median country in our sample, and 0.17 percentage points in GDP-weighted terms. While increases in oil supply and shocks to oil-specific demand actually boosted growth in 2015 (by about 0.2 and 0.4 percentage points, respectively), weak global demand more than offset these gains, reducing growth by 0.8 percentage points. Counterfactual simulations for the 72 countries in our sample underscore the importance of diversification, rather than low levels of openness, in shielding against negative shocks to the world economy.
Julia Faltermeier, Mr. Ruy Lama, and Juan Pablo Medina
We study the optimal foreign exchange (FX) intervention policy in response to a positive terms of trade shock and associated Dutch disease episode in a small open economy model. We find that during a Dutch disease episode tradable production drops below the socially optimal level, resulting in lower welfare under learningby- doing (LBD) externalities. FX reserves accumulation improves welfare by preventing a large appreciation of the real exchange rate and by inducing an efficient reallocation between the tradable and non-tradable sectors. For an empirically plausible parametrization of LBD externalities, the model predicts that in response to a 10 percent increase in commodity prices FX reserves should increase by 1.5 percent of GDP. We also find that the welfare gains from optimally using FX reserves are twice as high as the gains from relying only on monetary policy. These results suggest that FX intervention is a beneficial policy to counteract the loss of competitiveness during a Dutch disease episode.
Marzie Taheri Sanjani
This paper investigates financial frictions in US postwar data to understand the interaction between the real business cycle and the credit market. A Bayesian estimation technique is used to estimate a large Vector Autoregression and New Keynesian models demonstrating how financial shocks can have a large and sluggish impact on the economy. I identify the default risk and the maturity mismatch channels of monetary policy transmission; I further employ a generalized-IRF to establish countercyclicality of risk spreads; and I show that the maturity mismatch shocks produce a stronger impact than the default risk shocks.
International Monetary Fund
The December 2015 IMF Research Bulletin features a sampling of key research from the IMF. The Research Summaries in this issue look at “The Impact of Deflation and Lowflation on Fiscal Aggregates (Nicolas End, Sampawende J.-A. Tapsoba, Gilbert Terrier, and Renaud Duplay); and “Oil Exporters at the Crossroads: It Is High Time to Diversify” (Reda Cherif and Fuad Hasanov). Mahvash Saeed Qureshi provides an overview of the fifth Lindau Meeting in Economics in “Meeting the Nobel Giants.” In the Q&A column on “Seven Questions on Financial Frictions and the Sources of the Business Cycle, Marzie Taheri Sanjani looks at the driving forces of the business cycle and macroeconomic models. The top-viewed articles in 2014 from the IMF Economic Review are highlighted, along with recent IMF Working Papers, Staff Discussion Notes, and IMF publications.
Sophia Chen
I study whether firms' reliance on intangible assets is an important determinant of financing constraints. I construct new measures of firm-level physical and intangible assets using accounting information on U.S. public firms. I find that firms with a higher share of intangible assets in total assets start smaller, grow faster, and have higher Tobin’s q. Asset tangibility predicts firm dynamics and Tobin’s q up to 30 years but has diminishing predicative power. I develop a model of endogenous financial constraints in which firm size and value are limited by the enforceability of financial contracts. Asset tangibility matters because physical and intangible assets differ in their residual value when the contract is repudiated. This mechanism is qualitatively important to explain stylized facts of firm dynamics and Tobin’s q.