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4 posts from "July 2024"
July 11, 2024

The Mysterious Slowdown in U.S. Manufacturing Productivity 

Photo: assembly line with several men and women in blue overalls.

Throughout the twentieth century, steady technological and organizational innovations, along with the accumulation of productive capital, increased labor productivity at a steady rate of around 2 percent per year. However, the past two decades have witnessed a slowdown in labor productivity, measured as value added per hour worked. This slowdown has been particularly stark in the manufacturing sector, which historically has been a leading sector in driving the productivity of the aggregate U.S. economy. What makes this slowdown particularly puzzling is the fact that manufacturing accounts for the majority of U.S. research and development (R&D) expenditure. Despite several recent studies (see, for example, Syverson [2016]), much remains to be uncovered about the nature of this slowdown. This post illustrates a key facet of the mystery: the productivity slowdown appears to be pervasive across industries and across firms of various sizes.   

July 3, 2024

On the Distributional Consequences of Responding Aggressively to Inflation

decorative photo: curled up shopping receipt with the word price at that top.

This post discusses the distributional consequences of an aggressive policy response to inflation using a Heterogeneous Agent New Keynesian (HANK) model. We find that, when facing demand shocks, stabilizing inflation and real activity go hand in hand, with very large benefits for households at the bottom of the wealth distribution. The converse is true however when facing supply shocks: stabilizing inflation makes real outcomes more volatile, especially for poorer households. We conclude that distributional considerations make it much more important for policy to take into account the tradeoffs between stabilizing inflation and economic activity. This is because the optimal policy response depends very strongly on whether these tradeoffs are present (that is, when the economy is facing supply shocks) or absent (when the economy is facing demand shocks).  

July 2, 2024

On the Distributional Effects of Inflation and Inflation Stabilization

decorative photo: curled up shopping receipt with the word price at that top.

This post and the next discuss the distributional effects of inflation and inflation stabilization through the lenses of a theoretical model—a Heterogeneous Agent New Keynesian (HANK) model. This model combines the features of New Keynesian models that have been the workhorse for monetary policy analysis since the work of Woodford (2003) with inequality in wealth and income at the household level following the seminal contribution of Kaplan, Moll, and Violante (2018). We find that while inflation hurts everyone, it hurts the poor in particular. When the source of inflation is a supply shock, fighting inflation aggressively hurts the poor even more, however, while the opposite is true for demand shocks, as discussed in the companion post.

July 1, 2024

Exploring the TIPS‑Treasury Valuation Puzzle

Decorative image: Treasury Department

Since the late 1990s, the U.S. Treasury has issued debt in two main forms: nominal bonds, which provide fixed-cash scheduled payments, and Treasury Inflation Protected Securities—or TIPS—which provide the holder with inflation-protected payments that rise with U.S. inflation. At the heart of their relative valuation lie market participants’ expectations of future inflation, an object of interest for academics, policymakers, and investors alike. After briefly reviewing the theoretical and empirical links between TIPS and Treasury yields, this post, based on a recent research paper, explores whether market perceptions of U.S. sovereign credit risk can help explain the relative valuation of these financial instruments.

Posted at 7:00 am in Treasury | Permalink | Comments (0)
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Liberty Street Economics features insight and analysis from New York Fed economists working at the intersection of research and policy. Launched in 2011, the blog takes its name from the Bank’s headquarters at 33 Liberty Street in Manhattan’s Financial District.

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