This paper studies the effects of unexpected changes in trade policy uncertainty (TPU) on the U.S. economy. Three measures of TPU are constructed using newspaper coverage, firms’ earnings calls, and tariff rates. Firm-level and aggregate macroeconomic data reveal that increases in TPU reduce business investment. The empirical results are interpreted through the lens of a two-country general equilibrium model with nominal rigidities and firms’ export participation decisions. News and increased uncertainty about higher future tariffs reduce investment and activity.
Journal of Monetary Economics (2014)
with G. Eggertsson and A. Ferrero
Structural reforms that increase competition in product and labor markets are often indicated as the main policy option available for peripheral Europe to regain competitiveness and boost output. We show that, in a crisis that pushes the nominal interest rate to its lower bound, these reforms do not support economic activity in the short run, and may well be contractionary. In the absence of the appropriate monetary stimulus, reforms fuel expectations of prolonged deflation, increase the real interest rate, and depress aggregate demand. Our findings carry important implications for the current debate on the timing and the design of structural reforms in Europe.
Journal of Monetary Economics (2012)
with L. Ohanian
We build a dataset of quarterly hours worked for 14 OECD countries. We document that hours are as volatile as output, that a large fraction of labor adjustment takes place along the intensive margin, and that the volatility of hours relative to output has increased over time. We use these data to reassess the Great Recession and prior recessions. The Great Recession in many countries is a puzzle in that labor wedges are small, while those in the U.S. Great Recession – and those in previous European recessions – are much larger.
Journal of Monetary Economics (2008)
with L. Ohanian and R. Rogerson
We document large differences in trend changes in hours worked across OECD countries between 1956 and 2004. We assess the extent to which these changes are consistent with the intratemporal first order condition from the neoclassical growth model, augmented with taxes on labor income and consumption expenditures. We find that the model can account for most of the trend changes in hours worked measured in the data. Differences in taxes explain much of the variation in hours worked both over time and across countries.
Journal of International Economics (2008)
Conventional two-country RBC models interpret countercyclical net exports as reflecting primarily the dynamics of capital. I show that, quantitatively, theoretical economies rely on counterfactual terms of trade effects: trade fluctuations, on the contrary, are driven by consumption smoothing, thus generating procyclical net trade in goods. I then consider a class of preferences that embeds home production in a reduced form: consumption volatility increases so that countercyclical net exports reflect primarily a strong relation between consumption and imports, as in the data. The major discrepancy between theory and data concerns the variability of international prices.