Business and Economics > Investments: Bonds

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Mr. Bas B. Bakker, Marta Korczak, and Mr. Krzysztof Krogulski
In the last decade, over half of the EU countries in the euro area or with currencies pegged to the euro were hit by large risk premium shocks. Previous papers have focused on the impact of these shocks on demand. This paper, by contrast, focuses on the impact on supply. We show that risk premium shocks reduce the output level that maximizes profit. They also lead to unemployment surges, as firms are forced to cut costs when financing becomes expensive or is no longer available. As a result, all countries with risk premium shocks saw unemployment surge, even as euro area core countries managed to contain unemployment as firms hoarded labor during the downturn. Most striking, wage bills in euro area crisis countries and the Baltics declined even faster than GDP, whereas in core euro area countries wage shares actually increased.
Issouf Samaké
This paper applies and extends a theoretical model built by Agénor and Montiel (2007) by exploring the effectiveness of government bonds and monetary policy in a small, open, credit-based economy with a fixed exchange rate. The model is applied to Benin, a member of a currency union, using a general equilibrium model with stochastic simulation. Model calibration replicates the historical pattern for 1996–2009. Policy experiments simulated an increase in government securities in Benin’s regional market and a cut in the reserve requirement. Simulations produced mixed results. It appears that, among other factors, excess bank liquidity lowers the effectiveness of monetary policy instruments through the credit channel and that government bonds can help mop up excess bank liquidity.
Mr. Robin Brooks
This paper explores whether changes in the age distribution have significant effects on financial markets that are rational and forward-looking. It presents an overlapping generations model in which agents make a portfolio decision over stocks and bonds when saving for retirement- Using the model to simulate a baby boom-baby bust demonstrates that returns to baby boomers will be substantially below returns to earlier generations, even when markets are rational and forward-looking. This result is important because the current debate over how to reform pay-as-you-go pension systems often takes historical returns on financial assets—and on the equity premium—as given.