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242 posts on "Macroeconomics"
May 3, 2024

Has Market Concentration in U.S. Manufacturing Increased? 

Photo: worker cleaning up car shells on a production line

The increasing dominance of large firms in the United States has raised concerns about pricing power in the product market. The worry is that large firms, facing fewer competitors, could increase their markups over marginal costs without fear of losing market share. In a recently published paper, we show that although sales of domestic firms have become more concentrated in the manufacturing sector, this development has been accompanied by the entry and growth of foreign firms. Import competition has lowered U.S. producers’ share of the U.S. market and put smaller, less efficient domestic firms out of business.  Overall, market concentration in manufacturing was stable in recent decades, though import penetration has greatly altered the makeup of the U.S. manufacturing sector.

Posted at 7:00 am in Macroeconomics | Permalink | Comments (0)
March 26, 2024

What Happens to U.S. Activity and Inflation if China’s Property Sector Leads to a Crisis?

Photo: Construction site of three tall building towers with threes crane

A previous post explored the potential implications for U.S. growth and inflation of a manufacturing-led boom in China. This post considers spillovers to the U.S. from a downside scenario, one in which China’s ongoing property sector slump takes another leg down and precipitates an economic hard landing and financial crisis.

March 4, 2024

Global Supply Chains and U.S. Import Price Inflation

decorative photo of several cargo ships in a harbor. One is moving out of port.

Inflation around the world increased dramatically with the reopening of economies following COVID-19. After reaching a peak of 11 percent in the second quarter of 2021, world trade prices dropped by more than five percentage points by the middle of 2023. U.S. import prices followed a similar pattern, albeit with a lower peak and a deeper trough. In a new study, we investigate what drove these price movements by using information on the prices charged for products shipped from fifty-two exporters to fifty-two importers, comprising more than twenty-five million trade flows. We uncover several patterns in the data: (i) From 2021:Q1 to 2022:Q2, almost all of the growth in U.S. import prices can be attributed to global factors, that is, trends present in most countries; (ii) at the end of 2022, U.S. import price inflation started to be driven by U.S. demand factors; (iii) in 2023, foreign suppliers to the U.S. market caught up with demand and account for the decline in import price inflation, with a significant role played by China. 

February 28, 2024

Can Electric Cars Power China’s Growth?

Decorative image: photo of woman charging an electric car

China’s aggressive policies to develop its battery-powered electric vehicle (BEV) industry have been successful in making the country the dominant producer of these vehicles worldwide. Going forward, BEVs will likely claim a growing share of global motor vehicle sales, helped along by subsides and mandates implemented in the United States, Europe, and elsewhere. Nevertheless, China’s success in selling BEVs may not contribute much to its GDP growth, owing both to the maturity of its motor vehicle sector and the strong tendency for countries to protect this high-profile industry.  

January 8, 2024

Measuring Price Inflation and Growth in Economic Well‑Being with Income‑Dependent Preferences

Photo: Young minority family unloading groceries from car

How can we accurately measure changes in living standards over time in the presence of price inflation? In this post, I discuss a novel and simple methodology that uses the cross-sectional relationship between income and household-level inflation to construct accurate measures of changes in living standards that account for the dependence of consumption preferences on income. Applying this method to data from the U.S. suggests potentially substantial mismeasurements in our available proxies of average growth in consumer welfare in the U.S.

December 15, 2023

The New York Fed DSGE Model Forecast—December 2023

decorative illustration: chart and stock prices background.

This post presents an update of the economic forecasts generated by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) model. We describe very briefly our forecast and its change since September 2023. As usual, we wish to remind our readers that the DSGE model forecast is not an official New York Fed forecast, but only an input to the Research staff’s overall forecasting process. For more information about the model and variables discussed here, see our DSGE model Q & A.

Posted at 9:00 am in DSGE, Forecasting, Macroeconomics | Permalink
November 21, 2023

A Bayesian VAR Model Perspective on the Lagged Effect of Monetary Policy

Decorative image: Factory workers on an assembly line with baseball caps on.

Over the last few years, the U.S. economy has experienced unusually high inflation and an unprecedented pace of monetary policy tightening. While inflation has fallen recently, it remains above target, and the economy continues to expand at a robust pace. Does the resilience of the U.S. economy imply that monetary policy has been ineffectual? Or does it reflect that policy acts with “long and variable lags” and so we haven’t yet observed the full effect of the monetary tightening that has already taken place? Using a Bayesian vector autoregressive (BVAR) model, we show that economic activity has, indeed, been substantially stronger than would have been anticipated considering the rapid policy tightening. Still, the model expects a significant slowdown in 2024-25, even though short-term interest rates are forecasted to fall.

October 19, 2023

Can China Catch Up with Greece?

Decorative image: Chinese men and women assembling products in a factory?

China’s leader Xi Jinping recently laid out the goal of reaching the per capita income of “a mid-level developed country by 2035.” Is this goal likely to be achieved? Not in our view. Continued rapid growth faces mounting headwinds from population aging and from diminishing returns to China’s investment-centered growth model. Additional impediments to growth appear to be building, including a turn    toward increased state management of the economy, the   crystallization of legacy credit issues in real estate and other sectors, and limits on access to key foreign technologies. Even given generous assumptions concerning future growth fundamentals, China appears likely to close only a fraction of the gap with high-income countries in the years ahead.

October 18, 2023

An Update on the Health of the U.S. Consumer

Illustrative photo: Americans shopping inside a store.

The strength of consumer spending so far this year has surprised most private forecasters. In this post, we examine the factors behind this strength and the implications for consumption in the coming quarters. First, we revisit the measurement of “excess savings” that households have accumulated since 2020, finding that the estimates of remaining excess savings are very sensitive to assumptions about measurement, estimation period, and trend type, which renders them less useful. We thus broaden the discussion to other aspects of the household balance sheet. Using data from the New York Fed’s Consumer Credit Panel, we calculate the additional cash flows made available for consumption as a result of households’ adjustments to their debt holdings. To detect signs of stress in household financial positions, we examine recent trends in delinquencies and find the evidence to be mixed, suggesting that certain stresses have emerged for some households. In contrast, we find that the New York Fed’s Survey of Consumer Expectations still points to a solid outlook for consumer spending.

Posted at 10:00 am in Household Finance, Macroeconomics | Permalink
October 12, 2023

Do Large Firms Generate Positive Productivity Spillovers?

Photo: large corporate buildings photographed from the ground to the sky.

Numerous studies have documented the rising dominance of large firms over the last few decades in many industrialized countries. Many research papers have focused on the potential negative effects of this increased market concentration, raising concerns about market power in both labor and product markets. In a new study, we investigate whether large firms also generate positive effects. Our research shows that large firms generate significant positive total factor productivity (TFP) spillovers to their domestic suppliers. To date, these types of spillovers have only been identified for multinational enterprises located in developing countries. Using firm-to-firm transaction data for an industrialized country, Belgium, we find that large domestic firms, as well as multinationals, generate positive TFP spillovers.

Posted at 7:00 am in Macroeconomics | Permalink
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