CURRENT RESEARCH

CEPR Discussion Paper 12218
Revision requested at the Journal of Political Economy
with Moritz Kuhn and Ulrike Steins

This paper studies the distribution of U.S. household income and wealth over the past seven
decades. We introduce a newly compiled household-level dataset based on archival data from historical waves of the Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF). While incomes stagnated, the middle class enjoyed substantial gains in housing wealth from highly concentrated and leveraged portfolios. The housing bust of 2007 triggered the largest spike in wealth inequality in postwar history.


NBER Working Paper 23287
Revision requested at the Review of Economic Studies
with Òscar Jordà, Björn Richter and Alan Taylor

This paper undertakes the first comprehensive analysis of the long-run evolution of the capital structure of modern banking. We document the changing funding mix of banks and study the nexus between capital structure and financial instability over the long run. We find little evidence that higher capital ratios restrain excessive risk-taking and affect the probability of systemic banking crises ex ante.
Media: FAZ


American Economic Review (2012)
with Alan Taylor

We study the behavior of money, credit, and macroeconomic indicators over the long run. Total credit has increased strongly relative to output and money in the second half of the twentieth century. Credit growth is a powerful predictor of financial crises, suggesting that policymakers ignore credit at their peril.

Dataset
Summary on VoxEU


No Price Like Home
American Economic Review (2017)
with Katharina Knoll and Thomas Steger


We are able to show for the first time that house prices in most industrial economies stayed constant in real terms from the 19th to the mid-20th century, but rose sharply in recent decades. Land prices, not construction costs, hold the key to understanding the trajectory of house prices in the long-run.
Summary on VoxEU
Media coverage: Financial Times; FAZ


CEPR Discussion Paper 13073
Revision requested at the Economic Journal
with Benjamin Born, Gernot Müller, Petr Sedlacek

Economic nationalism is on the rise. What are the costs of cutting back international economic integration and rising policy uncertainty? We use the unexpected outcome of the Brexit vote in June 2016 as a natural macroeconomic experiment to study the costs of economic disintegration and their causes. As a methodological innovation, we propose a novel combination of synthetic control methods to identify the output loss caused by the Brexit vote, conjoined with an expectations-augmented vector autoregression to understand its drivers.
Summary on VoxEU


CESIfo Working Paper 4445
Revision requested at the International Economic Review
with Vasiliki Skreta and Karthik Reddy

Legal provisions that protect politicians from arrest and prosecution exist throughout much of the modern democratic world. Why, and with what effects, do societies choose to place their politicians above the law?







CEPR Discussion Paper 12509
Conditionally accepted at the Quarterly Journal of Economics
with Òscar Jordà, Katharina Knoll, Dmitry Kuvshinov, Alan Taylor

This paper answers fundamental questions that have preoccupied modern economic thought since the 18th century. What is the aggregate real rate of return in the economy? Is it higher than the growth rate of the economy and, if so, by how much? Is there a tendency for returns to fall in the long-run? Which particular assets have the highest long-run returns? We answer these questions on the basis of a new and comprehensive dataset for all major asset classes, including—for the first time—total returns to the largest, but oft ignored, component of household wealth, housing.


The Effects of Quasi-Random Monetary Experiments
NBER Working Paper 23074
Revision requested at the Journal of Monetary Economics
with Òscar Jordà and Alan Taylor

Fixing the exchange rate constrains monetary policy. Along with unfettered cross-border capital flows, the trilemma implies that arbitrage, not the central bank, determines how interest rates fluctuate. The annals of international finance thus provide quasi-natural experiments with which to measure how macroeconomic outcomes respond to policy rates. We find that the effects of monetary policy are much larger than previously estimated, and that these effects are state-dependent.


CEPR Working Paper; BIS Working Paper (2018)
Forthcoming,  Journal of International Economics
with Bjoern Richter and Ilhyock Shim

Central banks increasingly rely on macro-prudential measures to manage the financial
cycle, but the effects of such policies on the core objectives of monetary policy are largely unknown. In this paper, we quantify the effects of changes in maximum loan-to-value (LTV) ratios on output and inflation. We rely on a narrative identification approach based on detailed reading of policy-makers’ objectives when implementing the measures.


NBER Working Paper 24677
Forthcoming IMF Economic Review
with Òscar Jordà, Alan Taylor and Felix Ward

Fluctuations in risk premiums, and not risk-free rates and dividends, account for most of the observed equity price synchronization post-1980. We also show that U.S. monetary policy has come to play an important role as a source of fluctuations in risk appetite across global equity markets. These fluctuations are transmitted across both fixed and floating exchange rate regimes, but the effects are muted in floating rate regimes


CEPR Working Paper 12188,
with Bjoern Richter and Paul Wachtel

This paper shows that policy-makers can distinguish between good and bad credit booms with high accuracy and they can do so in real time. Credit booms that are accompanied by house price
booms and a rising loan-to-deposit-ratio are much more likely to end in a systemic banking
crisis. Importantly, we demonstrate that policy-makers have the ability to spot dangerous
credit booms on the basis of data available in real time.