Working Papers

The objective of the Working Papers series is to disseminate original research studies on economics and finance, which since 2003 have been reviewed on an anonymous basis. Through their publication, the Banco de España hopes to contribute to the economic analysis and knowledge of the Spanish economy and its international context.

The opinions and analyses published in the Working Papers series are the responsibility of the authors and are not necessarily shared by the Banco de España or the Eurosystem.

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  • 1722 Ricardo Gimeno and Alfredo Ibáñez The eurozone (expected) inflation: an option’s eyes view (1 MB)

    We estimate inflation risk-neutral densities (RNDs) in the Euro area since 2009. We use Euro inflation swaps and caps/floors options, and introduce a simple and parsimonious approach to jointly estimate the RNDs across horizons. This way, we obtain the implicit RND for forward measures, like the five-on-five years inflation rate, which, although it is not directly traded in the market, it is a key rate for monetary policy. Then, we discuss several indicators derived from the information content of the historical RNDs that are useful for monetary policy and compare them in the light of the ECB’s decisions and communication over the last few years. Specically, the evolution of tails risks (associated with deflation and high inflation); the balance of inflation risks; measures of risk aversion from the ECB’s Survey of Professional Forecasters (SPF); and how forward inflation rates react to the ECB’s non-conventional monetary policies (Longer Term Renancing Operations, LTRO, Securities Market Programme, SMP, Asset Purchase Programme, APP, and its variants and extensions).

  • 1721 Paula Gil, Francisco Martí, Richard Morris, Javier J. Pérez and Roberto Ramos The output effects of tax changes: narrative evidence from Spain (597 KB)

    This paper estimates the GDP impact of legislated tax changes in Spain using a newly constructed narrative record for the period 1986-2015. Our baseline estimates suggest that a 1% of GDP increase in exogenous taxes depresses output by around 1.3% after one year, this negative effect fading away at more distant horizons. We also find that the effect of changes in indirect taxes are larger and that, following a tax increase, investment reacts more than consumption. Overall, our set of estimates is consistent with negative output effects triggered by tax increases, yet the quantitative effects are subject to non-negligible uncertainty that is refected in wide confidence bands, in line with the extant literature for other countries.

  • 1720 Luis J. Álvarez and Ana Gómez-Loscos A menu on output gap estimation methods (675 KB)

    This paper presents a survey of output gap modeling techniques, which are of special interest for policy making institutions. We distinguish between univariate -which estimate trend output on the basis of actual output, without taking into account the information contained in other variables–, and multivariate methods –which incorporate useful information on some other variables, based on economic theory. We present the main advantages and drawbacks of the different methods.

  • 1719 Paulo Soares Esteves and Elvira Prades On domestic demand and export performance in the euro area countries: does export concentration matter? (535 KB)

    During economic downturns, weak domestic demand developments seem to be an additional driver of exports, as firms increase their efforts to serve markets abroad to compensate the fall in domestic sales. This may constitute an additional mechanism adjustment for the euro area countries where real exchange rate variations are limited by the common currency itself and the present low inflation environment. However, this substitution effect between domestic and foreign sales could be different across euro area members. This paper uses panel data techniques to assess the role of the export structure in explaining these differences. Building a novel indicator for product concentration, the results suggest that domestic demand developments are more relevant to explain exports in countries with a lower product concentration index (that is, more diversified exports). This contributes to explain why euro area countries under stress registered different economic performance during the most recent years.

  • 1718 Cristina Guillamón, Enrique Moral-Benito and Sergio Puente High growth firms in employment and productivity: dynamic interactions and the role of financial constraints (836 KB)

    Using a panel of Spanish firms over the period 2002-2012, we investigate the interactions between high growth episodes in terms of size and productivity. We find that high growth in productivity (size) increases the likelihood of high growth in size (productivity). However, the effect from size to productivity is smaller than the effect from productivity to size. We also explore the potential role of firm-level financial constraints using information from the Central Credit Register (CIR) of Banco de España. Our results indicate that credit constraints hamper high growth episodes in terms of both size and productivity.

  • 1717 Alberto Fuertes Exchange rate regime and external adjustment: an empirical investigation for the U.S. (947 KB)

    This paper analyses the relationship between the U.S. net external position and the exchange rate regime. I find a structural break in the U.S. net external position at the end of the Bretton Woods system of fixed exchange rates that changed both the mean and variance of the series. On average, the U.S. changed from a creditor to a debtor position and the variance of the external position increased during the floating period. This increase is to a large extent due to the valuation component of external adjustment, which accounts for 54% of the variance of the U.S. external position during the floating period but only 29% during the fixed exchange rate period. Further analysis shows that the exchange rate regime mainly affects the valuation channel of external adjustment. There is also evidence of another structural break in the U.S. external position around the time of the introduction of the euro. Finally, I document asset pricing implications from the relationship between the exchange rate regime and the external adjustment process, as external imbalances predict future exchange rate developments once the exchange rate regime is taken into account.

  • 1716 Francesco Furlanetto and Ørjan Robstad Immigration and the macroeconomy: some new empirical evidence (1 MB)

    We propose a new VAR identification scheme that enables us to disentangle immigration shocks from other macroeconomic shocks. Identification is achieved by imposing sign restrictions on Norwegian data over the period 1990Q1 - 2014Q2. The availability of a quarterly series for net immigration is crucial to achieving identification. Notably, immigration is an endogenous variable in the model and can respond to the state of the economy. We find that domestic labour supply shocks and immigration shocks are well identified and are the dominant driversof immigration dynamics. An exogenous immigration shock lowers unemployment (evenamong native workers), has a small positive effect on prices and on public finances, no impact on house prices and household credit, and a negative effect on productivity.

  • 1715 Sergio Mayordomo, Antonio Moreno, Steven Ongena and María Rodríguez-Moreno “Keeping it personal” or “getting real”? On the drivers and effectiveness of personal versus real loan guarantees (635 KB)

    Little is known about the drivers and effectiveness of personal as opposed to real loan guarantees provided by firms. This paper studies a dataset of 477,209 loan contracts granted over the 2006-2014 period by one Spanish financial institution consisting of several distinguishable organisational units. While personal guarantees are mostly driven by the economic environment as reflected in firm and bank conditions, real guarantees are mostly explained by loan characteristics. In response to higher capital requirements imposed by the European authorities in 2011, personal guarantee requirements increased signifi cantly more than their real counterparts. Our results imply that personal guarantees can discipline firms in their risk-taking, but their overuse can limit this positive effect and damage their performance.

  • 1714 Fátima Herranz González and Carmen Martínez-Carrascal The impact of firrms’ financial position on fixed investment and employment. An analysis for Spain (643 KB)

    Using a large sample of Spanish companies, this paper investigates the impact that firms’ financial health has on their investment and employment decisions. The results indicate that firms’ financial position is important for explaining firms’ capital expenditures and their employment levels, since cash flow, indebtedness and the debt burden appear to be relevant for explaining investment and employment dynamics. Likewise, the results obtained point to a non-linear impact of financial position on these decisions, this being larger for companies in a less sound financial situation, and suggest that the role of financial factors in explaining investment and employment dynamics is likely to be greater in recessionary periods.

  • 1713 Knut Are Aastveit, Francesco Furlanetto and Francesca Loria Has the Fed responded to house and stock prices? A time-varying analysis (1 MB)

    In this paper we use a structural VAR model with time-varying parameters and stochastic volatility to investigate whether the Federal Reserve has responded systematically to asset prices and whether this response has changed over time. To recover the systematic component of monetary policy, we interpret the interest rate equation in the VAR as an extended monetary policy rule responding to inflation, the output gap, house prices and stock prices. We find some time variation in the coefficients for house prices and stock prices but fairly stable coefficients over time for inflation and the output gap. Our results indicate that the systematic component of monetary policy in the US, i) attached a positive weight to real house price growth but lowered it prior to the crisis and eventually raised it again, and ii) only episodically took real stock price growth into account.

  • 1712 Sebastian Gechert, Christoph Paetz and Paloma Villanueva Top-down vs. bottom-up? Reconciling the effects of tax and transfer shocks on output (621 KB)

    Using the bottom-up approach of Romer and Romer (2010), we construct a narrative dataset of net-revenue shocks for Germany by extending the tax shock series of Hayo and Uhl (2014) and coding a shock series for social security contributions, benefits and transfers. We estimate the multiplier effects of shocks to net revenues, taxes, social security contributions, benefits and transfers in a proxy SVAR framework [Mertens and Ravn (2013)] and compare them with the top-down identification [Blanchard and Perotti (2002)]. We find multiplier effects of net-revenue components between 0 and 1 for both approaches. These estimates are comparably low and we investigate the differences.

  • 1711 Iván Kataryniuk and Jaime Martínez-Martín TFP growth and commodity prices in emerging economies (627 KB)

    In this paper we aim at empirically testing cross-country impacts of commodity price shocks to aggregate TFP growth for a sample of emerging economies. Under a growth accounting framework, we estimate country-specific TFP growth (1992-2014) and select the attendant robust determinants by means of a Bayesian Model Averaging (BMA) approach. To identify the effects of structural shocks, we propose a Bayesian panel VAR model and calculate cyclically adjusted TFP growth net of demand shocks (i.e. output gap) and commodity prices. Our results suggest that: i) the relationship of commodity prices to TFP growth has been very high in small commodity-exporting economies (i.e. an increase of 10% in commodity prices is associated with a sizable expansion of TFP growth in a year for an average commodity exporter); ii) although our evidence is not sufficient to empirically distinguish among theoretical explanations, our results favour an interpretation that weights short-term effects of commodity prices on productivity, either through transitional dynamics to the manufacturing sector or through mismeasurement of TFP; and iii) cyclically adjusted TFP growth highlights the importance of negative supply shocks in commodity-exporting countries. All in all, much of the increase in TFP growth in the last decade was related to a favourable cyclical environment, a result with potentially significant policy implications for commodity-dependent economies.

  • 1710 Henrique S. Basso and James Costain Fiscal delegation in a monetary union: instrument assignment and stabilization properties (950 KB)

    Motivated by the failure of fiscal rules to eliminate deficit bias in the euro area, this paper analyzes an alternative policy regime in which each Member State government delegates at least one fiscal instrument to an independent authority with a mandate to avoid excessive debt. Other fiscal decisions remain in the hands of member governments, including the allocation of spending across different public goods, and the composition of taxation. We study the short-and long-run properties of dynamic games representing different institutional configurations in a monetary union. Delegation of budget balance responsibilities to a national or union-wide fiscal authority implies large long-run welfare gains due to much lower steady-state debt. The presence of the fiscal authority also reduces the welfare cost of fluctuations in the demand for public spending, in spite of the fact that the authority imposes considerable “austerity” when it responds to fiscal shocks.

  • 1709 Carlos Sanz Direct democracy and government size: evidence from Spain (821 KB)

    Direct democracy is spreading across the world, but little is known about its effects on policy. I provide evidence from a unique scenario. In Spain, national law determines that municipalities follow either direct or representative democracy, depending on their population. Regression discontinuity estimates indicate that direct democracy leads to smaller government, reducing public spending by around 8%. Public revenue decreases by a similar amount and, therefore, there is no effect on budget deficits. These findings can be explained by a model in which direct democracy allows voters to enforce lower special interest spending.

  • 1708 María Dolores Gadea, Ana Gómez-Loscos and Gabriel Pérez-Quirós Dissecting US recoveries (534 KB)

    We propose a set of new quantitative measures to characterise more fully the features of economic recoveries. We apply these measures to post-war US expansions and use cluster analysis to determine that there are two different types of recoveries in recent US economic history, with most expansions before 1984 (Great Moderation) looking quite different from those after.

    Published in: Economics Letters, vol. 154, pp. 59–63.

  • 1707 Mónica Correa-López and Rafael Doménech Service regulations, input prices and export volumes: evidence from a panel of manufacturing firms (959 KB)

    Using a panel of firm-level data from Spanish manufacturers, this study shows that better service regulation reduces the price of intermediate inputs paid by downstream firms. The beneficial cost effects of services reforms extend to both large and small-to-medium sized corporations (SMEs), but the former tend to enjoy greater gains. This feature also manifests itself in international markets. We identify an input cost channel through which service regulations affect the volume of exports of large manufacturers, while the evidence of such channel is weaker for SMEs. Our estimates indicate that, from 1991 till 2007, large firms increased their volume of exports by an average of 22% as a result of the direct input cost effect of services reforms, such that the firms that benefited the most typically belonged to industries more dependent on service inputs. Furthermore, convergence to the “best practice” regulatory framework in services would have raised exports at least by an additional 10%. We conclude that firm size is relevant for the connection between services reforms, intermediate input prices and export volumes.

  • 1706 Esteban García-Miralles The crucial role of social welfare criteria for optimal inheritance taxation (1 MB)

    This paper calibrates the full social optimal inheritance tax rate derived by Piketty and Saez (2013) and shows that different assumptions on the form of the social welfare function lead to very different optimal inheritance tax rates, ranging from negative (under a utilitarian criterion) to positive and large (even assuming joy of giving motives). The paper also calibrates the optimal tax rate by percentile of the distribution of bequest received, as Piketty and Saez do, but accounting for heterogeneity in wealth and labor income. The result is that the optimal tax rate from the perspective of the non-receivers varies significantly, contrary to the constant tax rate obtained by these authors.

  • 1705 María Dolores Gadea-Rivas, Ana Gómez-Loscos and Danilo Leiva-Leon The evolution of regional economic interlinkages in Europe (5 MB)

    This paper studies the dynamics of the propagation of regional business cycle shocks in Europe and uncovers new features of its underlying mechanisms. To address the lack of high frequency data at the regional level, we propose a new method to measure timevarying synchronization in small samples that combines regime-switching models and dynamic model averaging. The results indicate that: (i) in just two years, the Great Recession synchronized Europe twice as much as the European Union integration process did over several decades; (ii) Ile de France is the region acting as the main channel for the transmission of business cycle shocks in Europe; followed by Inner London and Lombardia; and (iii) we identify a nonlinear relationship between sectoral composition and regional synchronization, which was amplified in the wake of the Great Recession. Similarities in services sectors are primarily responsible for this nonlinear relationship.

  • 1704 Mikel Bedayo Creating associations as a substitute for direct bank credit. Evidence from Belgium (553 KB)

    Firms’ incentives to join up with other firms to apply collectively for a single loan are studied empirically in this paper. When several firms make a joint application for a single loan an association of firms is created. We identify the associations that had access to credit in Belgium over the period 2001-2011 and the firms that made up each association, observing the amount of credit that both the firms and the associations obtained from each financial institution they used. We analyse the amount of credit obtained by firms according to whether or not they belonged to an association, the likelihood of firms forming associations, the impact of belonging to an association on the amount of credit firms receive from banks and the effect of firms not obtaining any direct credit on the amount obtained by the associations formed by such firms. We also analyse whether associations formed by common-ownership firms are able to access more credit than other associations. We find that large and long-established firms are more likely to join up with other firms to make joint loan applications and that associations obtain more credit if all their members use the same bank as the association does to obtain credit. Furthermore, the lower a firm’s credit over the previous year, the more likely it is to form an association to obtain credit, and we show that associations comprising small firms with no credit history are especially credit constrained.

  • 1703 Enrique Moral-Benito, Paul Allison and Richard Williams Dynamic panel data modelling using maximum likelihood: an alternative to Arellano-Bond (550 KB)

    The Arellano and Bond (1991) estimator is widely-used among applied researchers when estimating dynamic panels with fixed effects and predetermined regressors. This estimator might behave poorly in finite samples when the cross-section dimension of the data is small (i.e. small N), especially if the variables under analysis are persistent over time. This paper discusses a maximum likelihood estimator that is asymptotically equivalent to Arellano and Bond (1991) but presents better finite sample behaviour. Moreover, the estimator is easy to implement in Stata using the xtdpdml command as described in the companion paper Williams et al. (2016), which also discusses further advantages of the proposed estimator for practitioners.

  • 1702 Luis J. Álvarez Business cycle estimation with high-pass and band-pass local polynomial regression (653 KB)

    Filters constructed on the basis of standard local polynomial regression (LPR) methods have been used in the literature to estimate the business cycle. We provide a frequency domain interpretation of the contrast filter obtained by the difference between a series and its long-run LPR component and show that it operates as a kind of high-pass filter, meaning it provides a noisy estimate of the cycle. We alternatively propose band-pass local polynomial regression methods aimed at isolating the cyclical component. Results are compared to standard high-pass and band-pass filters. Procedures are illustrated using the US GDP series.

    Published in: Econometrics 2017, 5(1), 1Opens in a new window

  • 1701 Javier Andrés, Javier J. Pérez and Juan A. Rojas Implicit public debt thresholds: an empirical exercise for the case of Spain (704 KB)

    We extend previous work that combines the Value at Risk approach with estimation of the correlation pattern of the macroeconomic determinants of public debt dynamics by means of Vector Auto Regressions (VARs). These estimated models are used to compute the probability that the public debt ratio exceeds a given threshold, by means of MonteCarlo simulations. We apply this methodology to Spanish data and compute time-series probabilities to analyse the possible correlation with market risk assessment, measured by the spread over the German bond. Taking into account the high correlation between the probability of crossing a pre-specified debt threshold and the spread, we go a step further and ask what would be the threshold that maximises the correlation between the two variables. The aim of this exercise is to gauge the implicit debt threshold or “prudent debt level” that is most consistent with market expectations as measured by the sovereign yield spread. The level thus obtained is consistent with the medium-term debt-to-GDP ratio anchor of 60% of GDP.

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