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Published papers

The New Keynesian Transmission Mechanism: a Heterogeneous-Agent Perspective, The Review of Economic Studies, 2020

with Tobias Broer, Per Krusell and Erik Oberg

We present a tractable heterogeneous-agent version of the New Keynesian model that allows us to study the interaction between inequality and monetary policy. Though formulated as a precautionary-saving model a la Huggett-Aiyagari, its reduced form is a two-agent model with a highly concentrated wealth distribution. When prices are sticky and wages flexible, as in the textbook representative-agent model, monetary policy affects the distribution of consumption, but has no effect on output as workers choose not to change their hours worked in response to wage movements. This highlights a transmission mechanism of the textbook model that we find implausible: in response to a monetary stimulus, the representative worker's labor supply is greatly affected by the profits she receives. First, the lower profits induced by higher wages raise labor supply through a wealth effect and, secondly, the mere presence of profits reduces the negative income effect of a wage rise. When wages are rigid, in contrast, our model exhibits plausible responses of output and hours worked to monetary policy shocks.

Gender Disparities in Top Earnings: Measurement and Facts for Denmark 1980-2013, Journal of Economic Inequality, 2021

with Karl Harmenberg, Hans Henrik Sievertsen, and Erik Oberg.

Extending the work of Atkinson et al. (2018), we decompose top-earnings gender disparities into a glass-ceiling coefficient and a top-earnings gender gap. The decomposition uses that both male and female top earnings are Pareto distributed. If interpreting top-earnings gender disparities as caused by a female-specific earnings tax, the top-earnings gender gap and glass-ceiling coefficient measure the tax level and tax progressivity, respectively. Using Danish data on earnings, we show that the top-earnings gender gap and the glass-ceiling coefficient evolve differently across time, the life cycle, and educational groups. In particular, while the top-earnings gender gap has been decreasing in Denmark over the period 1980-2013, the glass-ceiling coefficient has been remarkably stable.

COVID-19 Vaccines: A Shot in Arm for the Economy, IMF Economic Review, 2022

with Rui Mano.

We quantify the effect of vaccinations on economic activity in the United States using weekly county level data covering the period end-2020 to mid-2021. Causal effects are identified through instrumenting vaccination rates with county-level pharmacy density interacted with state-level vaccine allocations, and by including county and state-time fixed effects to control for unobserved factors. We find that vaccinations are a significant and substantial shot in the arm of the economy. Specifically, an increase of initiated vaccination rates of 1 percentage point increases weekly consumer spending by 0.6 percent and reduces weekly initial unemployment claims by 0.004 percentage points of the 2019 labor force. Vaccinations also increase workrelated mobility. Importantly, we find that the effects vary with county characteristics. Specifically, urban counties and counties with initially worse socioeconomic conditions and lower education levels exhibit larger effects of vaccinations. This way, vaccinations are also a fair shot in the arm for the economy, which highlights that equitable distribution of vaccines is important to reduce inequality. Our results are specific to the United States, but hold important lessons for the expected economic impact of vaccinations in other countries.

Gender and Employment in the COVID-19 Recession: Evidence on "She-cessions", Labour Economics, forthcoming

with John Bluedorn, Francesca Caselli, Ippei Shibata, and Marina M Tavares.

Early evidence on the pandemic's effects pointed to women's employment falling disproportionately, leading observers to call a "she-cession." This paper documents the extent and persistence of this phenomenon in a quarterly sample of 38 advanced and emerging market economies. We show that there is a large degree of heterogeneity across countries, with over half to two-thirds exhibiting larger declines in women's than men's employment rates. These gender differences in COVID-19's effects are typically short-lived, lasting only a quarter or two on average. We also show that she-cessions are strongly related to COVID-19's impacts on gender shares in employment within sectors.

Mask Mandates Save Lives, Journal of Health Economics, forthcoming

[Working paper]
with Rui Mano.

We quantify the effect of mask mandates in the United States. Our regression discontinuity design exploits county-level variation in COVID-19 cases, hospital admissions, and deaths across the border between states with and without mandates. We find a significant and substantial effect -- mask mandates reduced new weekly COVID-19 cases, hospital admissions, and deaths by 55, 11 and 0.7 per 100,000 inhabitants on average. Crucially, we find that the effect of mask mandates depends on the attitudes toward mask wearing at the county level, with larger effects in counties more positively inclined towards mask wearing. Our results imply that mandates saved 87,000 lives through December 19, 2020, while a nationwide mandate could have saved 58,000 additional lives. These large effects suggest that mask mandates are a crucial tool to counter pandemics, particularly if accepted widely by the population. Our results are thus also relevant for countries who will not be able to immunize large swaths of their population in the short term.

Working papers

Wage-Price Spirals: What is the Historical Evidence?, IMF Working Paper, 2022

with Jorge Alvarez, John Bluedorn, Youyou Huang, Evgenia Pugacheva, and Alexandre Sollaci

How often have wage-price spirals occurred, and what has happened in their aftermath? We investigate this by creating a database of past wage-price spirals among a wide set of advanced economies going back to the 1960s. We define a wage-price spiral as an episode where at least three out of four consecutive quarters saw accelerating consumer prices and rising nominal wages. Perhaps surprisingly, only a small minority of such episodes were followed by sustained acceleration in wages and prices. Instead, inflation and nominal wage growth tended to stabilize, leaving real wage growth broadly unchanged. A decomposition of wage dynamics using a wage Phillips curve suggests that nominal wage growth normally stabilizes at levels that are consistent with observed inflation and labor market tightness. When focusing on episodes that mimic the recent pattern of falling real wages and tightening labor markets, declining inflation and nominal wage growth increases tended to follow – thus allowing real wages to catch up. We conclude that an acceleration of nominal wages should not necessarily be seen as a sign that a wage-price spiral is taking hold.

Transitioning to a Greener Labor Market: Cross-Country Evidence from Microdata, IMF Working Paper, 2022

with John Bluedorn, Diaa Noureldin, Ippei Shibata, and Marina M. Tavares.

This paper builds a new set of harmonized indicators of the environmental properties of jobs using micro-level labor force survey data from 34 economies between 2005 and 2019 and analyzes the labor market implications of the green economic transition and environmental policies. Based on the new set of indicators, the paper's main findings are that greener and more polluting jobs are concentrated among smaller subsets of workers, individual workers rarely move from more pollution-intensive to greener jobs, and workers in green-intensive jobs earn on average 7 percent more than workers in pollution-intensive jobs.

Supply Bottlenecks: Where, Why, How Much, and What Next?, IMF Working Paper, 2022

with Oya Celasun, Aiko Mineshima, Mariano Spector, and Jing Zhou.

Supply constraints hurt the economic recovery and boosted inflation in 2021. We find that in the euro area, manufacturing output and GDP would have been about 6 and 2 percent higher, respectively, and half of the rise in manufacturing producer price inflation would not have occurred in the absence of supply bottlenecks. Globally, shutdowns can explain up to 40 percent of the supply shocks. Sectors that are more reliant on differentiated inputs—such as autos—are harder hit. Late last year industry experts expected supply shortages for autos to largely dissipate by mid-2022 and broader bottlenecks by end-2022, but given the Omicron wave, disruptions will last for longer, possibly into 2023. With supply constraints adding to price pressures, the challenge for policymakers is to support recovery without allowing high inflation to become entrenched.

Dampening Global Financial Shocks: Can Macroprudential Regulation Help (More than Capital Controls)?, IMF Working Paper, 2020

with Katharina Bergant, Francesco Grigoli, and Damiano Sandri.

We show that macroprudential regulation can considerably dampen the impact of global financial shocks on emerging markets. More specifically, a tighter level of regulation reduces the sensitivity of GDP growth to VIX movements and capital flow shocks. A broad set of macroprudential tools contribute to this result, including measures targeting bank capital and liquidity, foreign currency mismatches, and risky forms of credit. We also find that tighter macroprudential regulation allows monetary policy to respond more countercyclically to global financial shocks. This could be an important channel through which macroprudential regulation enhances macroeconomic stability. These findings on the benefits of macroprudential regulation are particularly notable since we do not find evidence that stricter capital controls provide similar gains.

Should Inequality Factor into Central Banks' Decisions?, IMF Working Paper, 2020

with Alessandro Lin and Rui Mano, .

Inequality is increasingly a concern. Fiscal and structural policies are well-understood mitigators. However, less is known about the potential role of monetary policy. This paper investigates how inequality matters for monetary policy within a tractable Two-Agent New Keynesian model that captures important dimensions of inequality. We find some support for making inequality an explicit target for monetary policy, particularly if central banks follow standard Taylor rules.

Recent Shifts in Capital Flow Patterns in Korea: An Investor Base Perspective, IMF Working Paper, 2019

with Signe Krogstrup.

Koreas cross border capital flows have tended to respond negatively in global risk-off episodes, resulting in volatility in the foreign exchange market and occasional policy responses in the form of foreign exchange interventions. We study the relationship between Korean capital flows and global volatility up to 2018. The response of capital flows during risk-off episodes have become more muted over time, and occasional safe-haven type flows into Korean bond markets have helped counterbalance the tendency for portfolio investors to leave. We describe these changing patterns and relate them to shifts in Korea’s domestic investor base. We discuss whether they reflect a sustained shift in the sensitivity of Koreas capital flow pressures to global risk-off episodes, and implications for monetary and exchange rate policies.

Interest Rate Pass-Through during the Global Financial Crisis: the case of Sweden, OECD Working Paper, 2010

with Peter Welz

A stable relationship between monetary policy rates and bank lending and deposit rates faced by consumers and companies is essential for the effective transmission of monetary policy decisions. This paper studies how changes in the policy rate set by the Swedish central bank, the Riksbank, have been transmitted to money market rates and, in turn, to retail rates before and during the financial turmoil that erupted in summer 2007. Historically, the Riksbank has been successful in effectively controlling money market rates, but during the financial turmoil the transmission of impulses from the policy rate to money market rates appears to have been weakened by elevated and volatile risk premia, although these increased less in Sweden than in the euro area, United Kingdom and United States. The pass-through from money market rates to retail rates is found to have been complete, but sluggish, before the turmoil. Pass-through was also faster into short-term loan rates for non-financial companies than for households. During the turmoil the pass-through from money market to lending rates has been preserved at short maturities, but not at longer maturities. Lack of access to long-term funding has likely played a role.

Credit Growth in Latin America, IMF Working Paper, 2013

with Olga Sulla

Banking credit to the private sector in Latin America has on average increased by 7 percent of GDP from primo 2004 to ultimo 2011, with real credit in some countries growing by up to 20 percent per year. This paper documents and analyzes the patterns of credit growth in 18 countries in Latin America and uses econometric methods to determine whether it is indicative of financial deepening or poses risks of credit booms. The strongest credit growth occurred for consumption and mortgages within the household sector and for construction within the corporate sector. At the same time credit has de-dollarized in most countries and there are some signs of maturity lengthening. To assess whether the recent credit growth is excessive two different methods are applied. First, by application of HPfilters the paper finds that credit-to-GDP levels in a number of countries are above their longterm trend. Second, using a panel co-integration approach on 107 high and mid-income countries the paper estimates a model for the credit-to-GDP levels. Comparing the actual levels of credit with the ones predicted by the model we find that some countries in Latin America show significant and positive deviations. These results indicate the existence of a certain level of risk in the recent credit developments.

Policy papers

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