Vol. 4, No. 1
Noel Gaston and Randall Wright:
The effects of risk on efficient labor contracts (pp. 2–9)
We analyze the effects of productivity risk on the expected utility of workers under efficient labor contracts. With multiplicative uncertainty in productivity, an increase in risk increases workers’ expected utility, holding expected profit constant, as has been shown by Rosen. With a technology that is concave in both labor and the productivity shock, however, the opposite is true. We also study the effects of risk on wages, employment and hours, and characterize the dependence of these effects on the curvature of the marginai productivity schedule.
Simon Benninga and Uri M. Possen:
The economics of crowding out (pp. 10–23)
We consider fiscal policy in a non-monetary, general equilibrium framework with uncertainty, in which the financing of the government budget has no effects. We show that »crowding out» and »crowding in» depend on whether the fiscal policy requires a gestation period or whether its effect is contemporaneous with the taxation by which it is financed. The optimality conditions and the comparative statics of the equilibrium are entirely different for these two cases. In addition to this timing question, the optimality conditions depend on whether the public good has infrastructure effects and/or has intrinsic utility.
Monopolistic competition, overlapping generations, and the role of monetary policy (pp. 24–32)
This paper studies a simple overlapping generations model (OGM) with monopolistic competition in goods markets. I show that the set of rational expectations equilibria of the model can be characterized by a simple difference equation in the real quantity of money, in the same way as the standard, competitive OGM. The monopolistic competition case results, however, in less output, consumption, and lower welfare relative to the competitive case. The model is then used to reexamine some issues of monetary policy. Previous studies have stressed that the existence of imperfect competition in goods markets may justify activist monetary policy. I show that this rationale for policy intervention remains true in dynamic models, although transmissions mechanisms and policy prescriptions turn out to be very different. This is shown by discussing the effectiveness of monetary policy, the optimal quantity of money, and the welfare cost of inflationary finance.
Kari Takala and Pekka Pere:
Testing the cointegration of house and stock prices in Finland (pp. 33–51)
This paper looks at the efficiency of asset markets and pricing rules with regard to house and stock markets in Finland. House and stock prices are found to have unit roots, which is a necessary condition for efficient markets. However, asset prices are not pure random walks, but instead unit root processes. The unit root part is supposed to reflect the changes in fundamentals, and the error component reflects short run deviations from the market equilibrium. Evidence on cointegration between asset prices is found. Based on the hypothesis of cointegration, an error correction model is estimated. Deviations from the long run market equilibrium can be used to improve predictions of stock and house prices, e.g. house price predictions can be improved on average by using lagged changes in the stock index and the equilibrium error as a useful indicator of disequilibrium in the cointegrated markets. The presence of such an error correction term in itself shows that asset markets are not fully efficient.
Granger causality between these two aggregate asset prices runs from the volatile stock market to the housing market rather than the opposite way. During the sample period the Finnish money market went through a gradual liberalization process that revealed an imbalance in the asset market caused partly by rationing in the rental housing market. In addition, tax incentives for owner occupied housing and relaxed liquidity constraints significantly increased the demand for houses during the period 1987-89. Real bank lending proved to be a significant predictor for asset prices, especially for real house prices. Error correction models with additional variables due to liquidity constraints, taxation and demand for assets were used to explain the house prices.
This paper examines the empirical properties of common stock systematic risk estimates measured from daily, weekly and monthly return intervals in the Finnish stock market. Firstly, the effects of infrequent trading on betas measured from the three return intervals are analysed. Secondly, it is aimed to find out whether the differences in the stability of the selected systematic risk estimates can be explained by infrequent trading. Thirdly, the linear risk-return relationship suggested by the CAPM is tested using the different systematic risk estimates. In addition, two widely discussed anomalies, the size-effect and the E/P-effect, are focused in this context.
Acidification and timber supply with endogenous soil protection: a two-period model (pp. 65–74)
The paper considers the potential impacts on timber supply of forest damage due to acidic and other pollutants. In a two-period model of harvest timing and forest investment, tree mortality and site degradation are represented by changes in the standing stock and the growth function, respectively. An exogenous growth decline is first shown to increase short-run supply and discourage investment. Where salvage is not feasible, mortality in the standing stock tends to reduce the current supply and renders its overall change indeterminate. Endogenous soil protection is then introduced. It is shown that the anticipated damage justifies measures to alleviate site degradation. Consequently, short-run supply is ambiguously effected. The paper concludes by considering the impacts of pollution on the long-run steady state supply.