Sudden Stops, Productivity, and the Exchange Rate 

October 2020 [pdf] [online appendix]

Following a sudden stop, real exchange rates can adjust through a nominal exchange rate depreciation, lower domestic prices, or a combination of both. This paper makes three contributions to understand how the type of adjustment shapes the response of macroeconomic variables, in particular productivity, to such an episode. First, using Spanish micro data during two episodes, it documents that in a currency union unproductive firms exit more than in a floating regime. Second, it proposes a small open economy DSGE model featuring firm selection, variable markups and elastic labor supply to rationalize this finding. The model nests three mechanisms through which a sudden stop affects productivity: a pro-competitive, a cost, and a demand channel. While only the former operates when the nominal exchange rate adjusts, all three are active under a currency union. The model delivers general conditions under which the positive impact of the demand channel on productivity dominates. Third, it validates the model’s aggregate predictions against a wider set of economies. In particular, it shows that the decline in productivity after a sudden stop is increasing in the flexibility of the exchange rate.

How Do Central Banks Control Inflation? A Guide For the Perplexed with Ricardo Reis

December 2019 [pdf]

Central banks have a primary task of pursuing price stability. They do so by issuing different forms of money, setting an array of interest rates, producing fiscal revenues, defining the unit of account, and affecting marginal costs of production via credit regulations and other policies. This article surveys the economic theories that justify the central bank’s ability to use these tools to control inflation around a target. It presents alternative approaches as consistent with each other, as opposed to as conflicting ideological camps. Each of them relies on equilibrium forces in different markets within a common dynamic general equilibrium structure.


Paying Bankers: Rents, Risk, and Performance with Sophia Chen and Deniz Igan

Dual Mandates and Excessive Hawkishness: a Principal-Agent Approach