Working Papers

The aim of the Working Papers series is to disseminate research papers on economics and finances by Banco de España researchers. The Working Papers are published once they have successfully come through an anonymous evaluation process. Through their publication, the Banco de España seeks 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.

All the Working Papers published since 1990 are available here. Earlier ones, going back to the first one published in 1978, are available in the Institutional RepositoryOpens in a new window

All documents are available in PDF format PDF File. Opens in a new window

  • 09/01/2004
    0322. Análisis comparado de la demanda de exportación de manufacturas en los países de la UEM (632 KB) Ana Buisán y Juan Carlos Caballero

    El trabajo pretende profundizar en la evolución de los determinantes de la demanda de las exportaciones de manufacturas en los países de la UEM así como en la distinta respuesta de estas ante cambios en sus variables explicativas. Para ello se han estimado para cada uno de los países de la UEM una función de demanda de exportación de manufacturas totales, es decir, incluyendo la demanda proveniente de los demás países de la zona euro y del resto del mundo, con datos trimestrales procedentes de la OCDE correspondientes al período 1975 2002. Las elasticidades obtenidas en las estimaciones difieren mucho entre países, tanto en relación con los precios como con la renta. En particular, se observa que la elasticidad de las exportaciones frente a los mercados de exportación es más elevada en aquellos países que partían de una posición económica menos avanzada y que, a lo largo del período, han registrado un rápido proceso de integración en los mercados internacionales de bienes. Las distintas elasticidades precio de largo plazo parecen venir explicadas, en términos generales, por la distinta composición de las exportaciones, aunque en algunos casos, aspectos idiosincrásicos pueden ser relevantes para justificar ciertos valores. En el corto plazo resultan más importantes y más inmediatos los efectos sobre las exportaciones de la variable de renta que los de la competitividad.

  • 07/01/2004
    0321. Understanding the effects of government spending on consumption (739 KB) Jordi Galí, J. David López Salido y Javier Vallés

    Recent evidence on the effect of government spending shocks on consumption cannot be easily reconciled with existing optimizing business cycle models. We extend the standard New Keynesian model to allow for the presence of rule-of-thumb (non-Ricardian) consumers. We show how the interaction of the latter with sticky prices and deficit financing can account for the existing evidence on the effects of government spending.

    Publicado en: Journal of the European Economic Association (2007)

  • 05/01/2004
    0320. Rule-of-thumb consumers and the design of interest rate rules (1 MB) Jordi Galí, J. David López Salido and Javier Vallés

    We introduce rule-of-thumb consumers in an otherwise standard dynamic sticky price model, and show how their presence can change dramatically the properties of widely used interest rate rules. In particular, the existence of a unique equilibrium is no longer guaranteed by an interest rate rule that satisfies the so called Taylor principle. Our findings call for caution when using estimates of interest rate rules in order to assess the merits of monetary policy in specific historical periods.

    Published in: Journal of Money, Credit and Banking (2004)

  • 15/12/2003
    0319. The impact of financial variables on firms' real decisions: evidence from Spanish firm-level data (892 KB) Ignacio Hernando and Carmen Martínez-Carrascal

    This paper analyses the impact of alternative measures of firms' financial health on their investment and employment decisions. The emphasis is on the analysis of disaggregated data on such financial indicators. For this purpose, itemised data from a sample of the non-financial firms reporting to the Banco de España Central Balance Sheet Data Office Annual Database for the period 1985-2001 is used. We find that corporate financial position –proxied by alternative indicators– affects business activity and that this impact is non-linear and becomes relatively more intense when financial pressure exceeds a certain threshold. We also construct, using different financial variables, composite indicators that summarize the non-linear impact that the financial position has on investment and employment. Our results suggest that the use of firm-level data is particularly relevant in episodes where the financial pressure on a significant number of firms reaches levels at which it has a pronounced influence on real activity. In these episodes, indicators based on aggregate data may not reliably reflect the system's financial soundness since they do not adequately reflect the vulnerability of the most fragile companies.

    Published in: Journal of Macroeconomics (2008)

  • 09/12/2003
    0318. Demographic Maturity and Economic Performance: The Effect of Demographic Transitions on Per Capita GDP Growth (700 KB) Rafael Gómez and Pablo Hernández de Cos

    This paper estimates the response of per capita GDP growth to changes in the proportion of mature workers across countries. We define and estimate the effect of demographic maturity in two ways. First, a growing cohort of working age persons (15-64) is found to have a large positive effect on growth of GDP per capita. Second, an increase in the number of prime age workers (35-54) as a fraction of the total working age population (15-64) is found to have a positive but diminishing effect on per capita GDP growth. We find that growth peaks when the ratio of prime age workers over the potentially active population reaches 0.36. Beyond this ratio, diminishing returns set in. Several well known theoretical models of economic growth and labour market performance are consistent with these findings. In particular, the standard life-cycle framework, "Mincerian" earnings equations and personnel economic models of optimal mixes of youth and mature human capital all find confirmation in these estimates.

    Published in: Journal of Population Economics (2008)

  • 04/12/2003
    0317. Contagion and portfolio shift in emerging countries' sovereign bonds (1 MB) Antonio Díez de los Ríos and Alicia García Herrero

    The paper tests whether there were events of contagion, and portfolio shift, in the sovereign bond markets of eleven emerging countries' between January 1995 and November 2001. From existing definitions, we narrow down the concept of contagion by focusing on pricing errors, after general market movements haven been taken into account with a three factor asset pricing model. We measure contagion (and portfolio shift) in terms of a causal positive (negative) dynamic co movement between sovereign bond pricing errors. Downgrades of sovereign ratings are used as proxies for a shock. We find empirical support for contagion and portfolio shift for a number of countries on the basis of our definition.

    Published in: Research in Banking and Finance (2004)

  • 01/12/2003
    0316. Balance sheet effects and the country risk premium: an empirical investigation (587 KB) Juan Carlos Berganza, Roberto Chang and Alicia García Herrero

    This paper investigates empirically whether there is a negative relationship between a country's risk premium and the balance sheet effect, as implied by recent theories emphasizing financial imperfections. We find evidence that balance sheet effects, stemming from the increase in the external debt service after an unexpected real depreciation, significantly raise the risk premium. We also show that the increase in the risk premium is not due to the debt service as such. While the result holds for the whole sample, we show that it is mainly driven by those countries with the largest financial imperfections, as argued by imperfect capital market theories. Particularly large real depreciations also seem to be disproportionately important, meaning that the balance sheet effects may be strongest at times of economic crisis, when large devaluations occur.

    Published in: Review of World Economics (2004)

  • 04/11/2003
    0315. Financial stability and the design of monetary policy (923 KB) Alicia García Herrero y Pedro del Río

    This paper builds upon the existing empirical literature on the factors behind financial stability, focusing on the role of monetary policy design. In particular, it analyzes a sample of 79 countries in the period 1970 to 1999 to evaluate the effect of the choice of the central bank objectives and the monetary policy strategy on the occurrence of banking crises. We find that focusing the central bank objectives on price stability reduces the likelihood of a banking crisis. This result is robust, in general, to several model specifications and groups of countries. As for the monetary policy strategy, the results are less clear. For a few model specifications, particularly for the group of countries in transition, the choice of an exchange rate-based strategy appears to reduce the likelihood of a banking crisis. Finally, a large degree of independence of the central bank and locating regulatory and supervisory responsibilities at the central bank seem to reduce the likelihood of a banking crisis.

  • 09/10/2003
    0314. Automatic stabilizers, fiscal rules and macroeconomic stability (741 KB) Javier Andrés and Rafael Doménech

    This paper analyzes the effect of the fiscal structure upon the trade-off between inflation and output stabilization in the presence of technological shocks in a DGE model with nominal and real rigidities. The model reproduces the main features of European economies and it integrates a rich menu of fiscal variables as well as a target on the debt to output ratio. The main result of this paper is that distortionary taxes tend to increase output volatility relative to lump-sum taxes unless substantial rigidities are present. We explore in detail the mechanisms that generate such a result, and the conditions under which the supply-side effects of distortionary taxes and the procyclical behaviour of public spending induced by fiscal rules prevail over the conventional effect of automatic stabilizers operating through disposable income.

    Published in: European Economic Review (2007)

  • 23/09/2003
    0313. The daily market for funds in Europe: what has changed with the EMU (627 KB) Gabriel Pérez Quirós and Hugo Rodríguez Mendizábal

    This paper presents evidence that the existence of deposit and lending facilities combined with an averaging provision for the reserve requirement are powerful tools to stabilize the overnight rate. We reach this conclusion by comparing the behavior of this rate in Germany before and after the start of the EMU. The analysis of the German experience is useful because it allows to isolate the effects on the overnight rate of these particular instruments of monetary policy. To show that this outcome is a general conclusion and not a particular result of the German market, we develop a theoretical model of reserve management which is able to reproduce our empirical findings.

    Published in: Journal of Money, Credit and Banking (2006)

  • 19/09/2003
    0312. Labour demand, flexible contracts and financial factors: new evidence from Spain (605 KB) Andrew Benito and Ignacio Hernando

    We estimate models of labour demand for a panel of 3,400 Spanish manufacturing firms over the period 1985-2001. We examine the roles of flexible labour through temporary contracts, financial factors and a policy reform in 1997 affecting permanent contracts by lowering payroll taxes and dismissal costs. Compared to permanent employment, the demand for flexible labour displays (i) greater sensiti vity to financial factors (ii) greater cyclical sensitivity (iii) a larger average wage elasticity (iv) less inertia. Our analysis of the 1997 policy reform finds an effect of payroll taxes on employment. A 5 percentage point reduction in the payroll tax increases labour demand by 8 per cent.

    Published in: Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics (2008)

  • 16/09/2003
    0311. The macroeconomic effects of fiscal policy in Spain (676 KB) Francisco de Castro

    This paper focuses on the effects of fiscal policy in Spain analysed in a VAR context. Fiscal shocks are found to have small, though significant, effects on GDP, private consumption, private investment, interest rates and prices. The pattern of responses and the multipliers obtained seem to accord with some recent pieces of empirical evidence in several cases, while observing some counterintuitive responses in others. Shocks to different readings of spending or taxes yield divergent profiles of responses. When the sample is restricted to the 1990s a different pattern of responses to fiscal shocks is observed, with GDP and interest rate responses being non-significant.

    Published in: Applied Economic Letters (2003)

  • 12/09/2003
    0310. The capital structure decisions of firms: is there a pecking order? (760 KB) Andrew Benito

    This paper considers the "trade-off" and "pecking order" theories, the two most influential approaches to understanding firms' capital structure decisions. The paper adopts two approaches to examining capital structures using firm-level panel data for firms in both Spain and the United Kingdom. First, debt ratios are examined and found to be decreasing in cash flow or profitability and increasing in the investment of the firm in both countries. Second, aspects of the two different financial systems are examined. In Spain, a bank-based financial system, there is some modest evidence that such effects are weaker for larger firms and for firms with equity held by financial institutions. In the United Kingdom, a market-based financial system, the propensity to issue additional debt is compared to that for issuing new equity and found to be more sensitive to financial characteristics of the firm. The results are consistent with the pecking order approach and generally inconsistent with the tradeoff approach suggesting behaviour consistent with the existence of a hierarchy of finance faced by firms in Spain and the United Kingdom.

  • 20/08/2003
    0309. Misalignment, liabilities dollarization and exchange rate adjustment in Latin America (968 KB) Enrique Alberola

    Exchange rates in Latin America display a large volatility, constitute a central element of the policy strategies and their evolution have an important impact on financial stability due to the dollarization of liabilities which most countries exhibit. However, assessments on equilibrium exchange rates are scarce in the region. This paper aims at both filling this gap and analysing the impact of the adjustment of the exchange rates to equilibrium on financial stability. Building on the methodology of Alberola et al (1999-2002), we show that the stock of net foreign assets and the evolution of productivity are the fundamentals underlying the behavior of the real exchange rate. Using an unobserved components methodology in a cointegration framework, a time varying equilibrium real exchange rate is derived, and deviations from this equilibrium provide an estimate of the degree of multilateral misalignment. The results uncover among other things the large overvaluation of the Argentinean peso in 2001, which was only partially explained by the estimated dollar overvaluation. The adjustment of exchange rates in 2002 corrected this and, to a lesser extent, other misalignments. The final part of the paper addresses the impact of liability dollarization on the adjustment of exchange rates. It is argued that the real exchange rate will tend to overshoot its equilibrium level, due to the need to foster higher current account surplus in the aftermath of depreciation to make up for to the increase in liabilities. An adjustment to account for this effect is performed on the previous results. This overshooting, when coupled with sudden stops of capitals, may help explaining the higher volatility of real exchange rates in the region.

  • 16/06/2003
    0308. Technology shocks and job flows (857 KB) Claudio Michelacci and David López-Salido

    We decompose the low-frequency movements in labour productivity into an investment-neutral and investment-specific technology component. We show that neutral technology shocks cause a short run increase in job creation and job destruction and leads to a reduction in aggregate employment. Investmentspecific technology shocks reduce job destruction, have mild effects on job creation and are expansionary. We construct a general equilibrium search model with neutral and investment-specific technological progress. We show that the model can replicate these findings if neutral technological progress is mainly embodied into new jobs, while investment-specific technological progress benefits (almost) equally old and new jobs. This provides evidence in favor of models where old jobs can (at least partially) reap the benefits of ongoing technological progress.

    Published in: Review of Economic Studies (2007)

  • 12/06/2003
    0307. Analysis of house prices in Spain (718 KB) Jorge Martínez Pagés and Luis Ángel Maza

    House prices in Spain have shown one of the biggest cumulative growth rates among the OECD countries over the past five years and, indeed, over a more extensive period. This paper focuses on analysing this development and its possible determinants. The evidence provided suggests income and nominal interest rates are pivotal explanatory factors, although equity returns may also have been influential in the final years of the sample. According to the estimated models, house prices are currently above their long-term equilibrium level by an amount not unlike other times in the past. Therefore, something of a correction –of an intensity difficult to estimate but not necessarily sharper than in past episodes– may be expected in the future.

  • 22/05/2003
    0306. Capacity utilization and Monetary Policy (755 KB) Pedro Pablo Álvarez Lois

    This paper presents a model featuring variable utilization rates across firms due to production inflexibilities and idiosyncratic demand uncertainty. Within a New Keynesian framework, we show how the corresponding bottlenecks and stock-outs generate asymmetries in the transmission mechanism of monetary policy. We derive an expression for the Phillips curve where the dynamics of inflation depend on real marginal costs and on a measure of resource underutilization.

  • 19/05/2003
    0305. Persistent inflation differentials in Europe (445 KB) Eva Ortega

    This paper studies the recent empirical evidence available on the evolution of the real exchange rates within the main European economies in order to understand the possible main determinants of future inflation differentials within the EMU. The real exchange rate is decomposed into that of the traded sector and the differential across countries of the relative price of the non traded sector. Persistent deviations from PPP are found, also in the traded sector. It is also found that the main factor behind the annual bilateral real appreciation with respect to Germany since 1995 has been the differential growth of relative non traded prices across countries. In the case of France, that differential was mainly explained by a different growth of relative labor productivities in the two economies, while in the case of Spain and Italy it was mainly due to the different growth of relative non-traded markups and wages, respectively.

  • 14/05/2003
    0304. House prices and rents: an equilibrium asset pricing approach (596 KB) Juan Ayuso y Fernando Restoy

    In this paper we use a relatively general intertemporal asset pricing model where housing services and consumption are non-separable to obtain a measure of the potential overvaluation of housing in relation to rents in Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States. The results show that part of the increase in real house prices during the late nineties can be seen as a return to equilibrium following some undershooting of house prices after previous peaks. However, more recently, marked increases in house prices have led price-to-rent ratios to well above equilibrium in all three countries by 2002. More specifically, the price-to-rent ratios were around 20% above equilibrium in Spain and the UK, and around 7% in the US. Part of that overvaluation "particularly in Spain and the UK" may be attributable to the sluggishness of supply in the presence of large demand shocks in this market and/or the slow adjustment of observed rents to the conditions prevailing in the housing market.

  • 03/04/2003
    0303. The incidence and persistence of dividend omissions by Spanish firms (854 KB) Andrew Benito

    This paper examines the dividend policies of firms in Spain. Using firm-level panel data, models are estimated for dividend omissions as functions of financial characteristics, whilst also considering a role for persistence. The results are consistent with a tax discrimination model in which cash flow is the marginal source of funds. High degrees of persistence are also found in binary panel data models that control for unobservables and initial conditions. Whilst companies in Spain use the dividend to adjust the balance sheet, such persistence suggests this occurs slowly.

  • 02/04/2003
    0302. The euro area inefficiency gap (610 KB) Jordi Galí, Mark Gertler y J. David López-Salido

    We construct a measure of Euro area cyclical efficiency, following the approach developed in Galí, Gertler and López-Salido (2002). Our measure –which we call "the gap"– corresponds to the inverse of price over social marginal cost. Here we present a time series of this gap for the Euro area, as well as its two components, the price and wage markups. As with U.S. data, the ineficiency gap is highly procyclical, and driven largely by countercyclical movements in the wage markup. We are also able to use our gap variable to derive a theory-based measure of the output gap for the Euro area, which we can compare to other measures often used in applications. We also show that the wage markup moves closely with the unemployment rate, as theory would suggest. Finally, we discuss briefly the implications for monetary policy of alternative interpretations of our evidence.

  • 03/02/2003
    0301. Market structure and inflation differentials in the European Monetary Union (643 KB)

    Published as: “Competition and Inflation Differentials in EMU”. Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, 2008. Vol 32(3), pp. 848-874.Opens in a new window

    Javier Andrés, Eva Ortega and Javier Vallés

    In a monetary union, inflation rate differentials may be substantial over the business cycle. This paper parameterizes a two-country monetary union in which different economic structures in the two countries generate temporary inflation differentials. Cross-country differences are introduced in (i) the elasticity of demand in the goods markets, which cause producers to discriminate prices, (ii) the degree price inertia and (iii) openness or preference for foreign goods in consumption. The model is calibrated to reproduce two average big EMU countries and it is able to generate sizeable inflation differentials. We find the mechanism of price discrimination quantitatively more important than the differences in price inertia. Moreover, under asymmetric shocks, differences in the degree of openness as the ones observed within the EMU can have sizeable effects on the dispersion of inflation rates.

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