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14-27 Fabre, Alice; Pallage, Stéphane; Zimmermann, Christian - Universal Basic Income versus Unemployment Insurance

In this paper we compare the welfare effects of unemployment insurance (UI) with an universal basic income (UBI) system in an economy with idiosyncratic shocks to employment. Both policies provide a safety net in the face of idiosyncratic shocks. While the unemployment insurance program should do a better job at protecting the unemployed, it suffers from moral hazard and substantial monitoring costs, which may threaten its usefulness. The universal basic income, which is simpler to manage and immune to moral hazard, may represent an interesting alternative in this context. We work within a dynamic equilibrium model with savings calibrated to the United States for 1990 and 2011, and provide results that show that UI beats UBI for insurance purposes because it is better targeted towards those in need.

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14-26 Cenesizoglu, Tolga; Dionne, Georges; Zhou, Xiaozhou - Effects of the Limit Order Book on Price Dynamics

In this paper, we analyze whether the state of the limit order book affects future price movements in line with what recent theoretical models predict. We do this in a linear vector autoregressive system which includes midquote return, trade direction and variables that are theoretically motivated and capture different dimensions of the information embedded in the limit order book. We find that different measures of depth and slope of bid and ask sides as well as their ratios cause returns to change in the next transaction period in line with the predictions of Goettler, Parlour, and Rajan (2009) and Kalay and Wohl (2009). Limit order book variables also have significant long term cumulative effects on midquote return, which is stronger and takes longer to be fully realized for variables based on higher levels of the book. In a simple high frequency trading exercise, we show that it is possible in some cases to obtain economic gains from the statistical relation between limit order book variables and midquote return.

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14-25 Bellemare, Charles; Bissonnette, Luc; Kröger, Sabine - Statistical Power of Within and Between-Subjects Designs in Economic Experiments

This paper discusses the choice of the number of participants for within-subjects (WS) designs and between-subjects (BS) designs based on simulations of statistical power allowing for different numbers of experimental periods. We illustrate the usefulness of the approach in the context of field experiments on gift exchange. Our results suggest that a BS design requires between 4 to 8 times more subjects than a WS design to reach an acceptable level of statistical power. Moreover, the predicted minimal sample sizes required to correctly detect a treatment effect with a probability of 80% greatly exceed sizes currently used in the literature. Our results suggest that adding experimental periods in an experiment can substantially increase the statistical power of a WS design, but have very little effect on the statistical power of the BS design. Finally, we discuss issues relating to numerical computation and present the powerBBK package programmed for STATA. This package allows users to conduct their own analysis of power for the different designs (WS and BS), conditional on user specified experimental parameters (true effect size, sample size, number of periods, noise levels for control and treatment, error distributions), statistical tests (parametric and nonparametric), and estimation methods (linear regression, binary choice models (probit and logit), censored regression models (tobit)).

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14-24 Boucher, Vincent - Conformism and Self-Selection in Social Networks

I present a model of conformism in social networks that incorporates both peer effects and self-selection. I find that equilibrium behaviors are linked through the Laplacian matrix of the equilibrium network. I show that conformism has positive social value and that social welfare can be bounded by network centrality and connectivity measures. I apply the model using empirical data on high school student participation in extracurricular activities. I find that the local effects of conformism (i.e. endogenous peer effect for a fixed network structure) range from 7.5% to 45%, depending on the number of peers that an individual has. Simulations show that the optimal policies of an inequality-averse policy-maker change in relation to the size of a school. Small schools should encourage shy students to integrate more with other students, while large schools should focus on promoting role models within the school.

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14-23 Mirman, Leonard J.; Salgueiro, Egas M.; Santugini, Marc - Learning in a Perfectly Competitive Market

We study learning in perfect competition. A price-taking firm sells a good whose quality is unknown to some buyers. The uninformed buyers use the price to infer information about quality. The presence of noise on the supply prevents perfect learning. Even though the firm is a price-taker, information is disseminated though the price. The shape of the supply curve influences the amount of information contained in the price, which, in turn, affects the competitive equilibrium through the learning process of the uninformed buyers.

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14-22 Masoudi, Nahid; Santugini, Marc - Resource Extraction under Heterogeneous Growth in Demand

We study the effect of heterogeneous growth in demand on resource extraction. Using the Great Fish War framework of Levhari and Mirman (1980), we show that heterogeneity in demand growth has a profound effect on both cooperative and non-cooperative (Cournot-Nash and Stackelberg) and cooperative solutions.

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14-21 Cockburn, John; Duclos, Jean-Yves; Zabsonré, Agnès - Is Global Social Welfare Increasing? a Critical-Level Enquiry

We assess whether global social welfare has improved in the last decades despite (or because of) the substantial increase in global population. We use for this purpose a relatively unknown but simple and attractive social evaluation approach called critical-level generalized utilitarianism (CLGU). CLGU posits that social welfare increases with population size if and only if the new lives come with a level of living standards higher than that of a critical level. Despite its attractiveness, CLGU poses a number of practical difficulties that may explain why the literature has left it largely unexplored. We address these difficulties by developing new procedures for making partial CLGU orderings. The headline result is that we can robustly conclude that world welfare has increased between 1990 and 2005 if we judge that lives with per capita yearly consumption of more than $1,248 necessarily increase social welfare; the same conclusion applies to Sub-Saharan Africa if and only if we are willing to make that same judgement for lives with any level of per capita yearly consumption above $147. Otherwise, some of the admissible CLGU functions will judge the last two decades’ increase in global population size to have lowered global social welfare.

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14-20 Dionne, Georges; Rothschild, Casey G. - Economic Effects of Risk Classification Bans

Risk classification refers to the use of observable characteristics by insurers to group individuals with similar expected claims, to compute the corresponding premiums, and thereby to reduce asymmetric information. Permitting risk classification may reduce informational asymmetry-induced adverse selection and improve insurance market efficiency. It may also have undesirable equity consequences and undermine the implicit insurance against reclassification risk which legislated restrictions on risk classification could provide. We use a canonical insurance market screening model to survey and to extend the risk classification literature. We provide a unified framework for analyzing the economic consequences of legalized vs. banned risk classification, both in static-information environments and in environments in which additional information can be learned, by either side of the market, through potentially costly tests.

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14-19 Araar, Abdelkrim; Huesca, Luis - Comparison of the Tax System Progressivity Over Time: Theory and Application with Mexican Data

Assessing the progressivity of a fiscal system is relevant to develop a global idea on the extent of redistribution. In this paper we assess the evolution of progressivity over time and how economic shocks and government fiscal policy affects its design. The social performance of fiscal redistributive mechanisms in Mexico has been receiving a growing interest from politicians and researchers. The aim of this paper is to assess the dynamics of progressivity of the fiscal system in Mexico and its effect on inequality and on polarization, and this during the period of 2002-2012. What distinguishes this work is the relevance of the adopted comparison approach of progressivity and where the common support of comparison is imposed. The results of this study confirm the effectiveness of the governmental redistributive mechanisms to decrease after-tax income inequality. Based on our estimates, we find a significant increase in the progressivity of the fiscal system over time, despite the high persistent levels of polarization and inequality in the country. Finally, we find that imposing the common support of comparison has a non-negligible impact on the level of progressivity.

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14-18 Bellemare, Charles; Shearer, Bruce - Measuring Ratchet Effects within a Firm: Evidence from a Field Experiment varying Contractual Commitment

We present results from a field experiment designed to measure the importance of managerial commitment to a contract within a firm that pays its workers piece rates. In the tree planting industry the piece rate paid to workers is determined as a function of the difficulty of the terrain to be planted. During the experiment, workers began planting a terrain at a trial piece rate, but were told this rate would be revised upwards if, after a few work days, average productivity was below that observed on a similar (control) terrain on which the firm had committed to the contract. Our results suggest that worker productivity was 20% to 40% lower in the absence of commitment. The reduction was less pronounced when workers had less time to benefit from any subsequent increase in the piece rate. This provides support for models of worker turnover as a means of overcoming ratchet effects.

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14-17 Dionne, Georges; Santugini, Marc - Productivity Flexibility and Hedging

We extend the analysis of Losq (1982) on hedging with price and output uncertainty by endogenizing the output decision. Specifically, we consider the joint determination of output and hedging in the case of flexibility in production. We show that the risk-averse firm always maintains a short position in the futures market when the futures price is actuarially fair. Moreover, in the context of an example, we show that the presence of production flexibility reduces the incentive to hedge for all risk averse agents.

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14-16 Dionne, G.; Desjardins, D.; Lebeau, M.; Messier, S.; Dascal, A. - Health Care Workers' Risk Perceptions of Personal and Work Activities and Willingness to Report for Work during an in Influenza Pandemic

The ability and willingness of health care workers to report for work during a pandemic are essential to pandemic response. The main contribution of this article is to examine the relationship between risk perception of personal and work activities and willingness to report for work during an influenza pandemic. Data were collected through a quantitative Web-based survey sent to health care workers on the island of Montreal. Respondents were asked about their perception of various risks to obtain index measures of risk perception. A multinomial logit model was applied for the probability estimations, and a factor analysis was conducted to compute risk perception indexes (scores). Risk perception associated with personal and work activities is a significant predictor of intended presence at work during an influenza pandemic. The average predicted probability of being at work during the worst scenario of an influenza pandemic is 46% for all workers in the sample, 36% for those overestimating risk in personal and work activities (95% CI: 35%-37%), 53% for those underestimating risk in work activities (95% CI: 52%-54%), and 49% for those underestimating risk of personal activities (95% CI: 48%-50%). When given an opportunity to change their intentions, 45% of those who initially did not intend to report for work in the worst scenario would do so if the pandemic resulted in a severe manpower shortage. These results have not been previously reported in the literature. Many organizational variables are also significant.

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14-15 Haeck, Catherine; Lefebvre, Pierre; Merrigan, Philip - The Power of the Purse: New Evidence on the Distribution of Income and Expenditures within the Family from a Canadian Experiment

To increase mother’s participation in the labour market and enhance child development, the Canadian province of Québec developed from 1997 a large scale low-fee childcare network. Previous studies have shown that the policy has significantly increased the labour force participation and annual weeks worked of mothers with children exposed to the program. Using Statistics Canada’s annual 1997 to 2009 Survey on Households Spending we document the increase in the maternal share of total household income in Québec and use of instrumental variables approach to estimate the impact of the policy on intra-household expenditures. The results show that more income in the hands of mothers impacts the expenditures structure within the household by raising budget shares on expenditures related to children, family goods and services having a collective aspect.

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14-14 Dionne, Georges; Pacurar, Maria; Zhou, Xiaozhou - Liquidity-adjusted Intraday Value at Risk Modeling and Risk Management: an Application to Data from Deutsche Börse

This paper develops a high-frequency risk measure, the Liquidity-adjusted Intraday Value at Risk (LIVaR). Our objective is to explicitly consider the endogenous liquidity dimension associated with order size. Taking liquidity into consideration when using intraday data is important because significant position changes over very short horizons may have large impacts on stock returns. By reconstructing the open Limit Order Book (LOB) of Deutsche Börse, the changes of tick-by-tick ex-ante frictionless return and actual return are modeled jointly using a Log-ACD-VARMA-MGARCH structure. This modeling helps to identify the dynamics of frictionless and actual returns, and to quantify the risk related to the liquidity premium. From a practical perspective, our model can be used not only to identify the impact of ex-ante liquidity risk on total risk, but also to provide an estimation of VaR for the actual return at a point in time. In particular, there will be considerable time saved in constructing the risk measure for the waiting cost because once the models have been identified and estimated, the risk measure over any time horizon can be obtained by simulation without re-sampling the data and re-estimating the model.

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14-13 Ardia, David; Gatarek, Lukasz; Hoogerheide, Lennart F. - A New Bootstrap Test for the Validity of a Set of Marginal Models for Multiple Dependent Time Series: an Application to Risk Analysis

A novel simulation-based methodology is proposed to test the validity of a set of marginal time series models, where the dependence structure between the time series is taken ‘directly’ from the observed data. The procedure is useful when one wants to summarize the test results for several time series in one joint test statistic and p-value. The proposed test method can have higher power than a test for a univariate time series, especially for short time series. Therefore our test for multiple time series is particularly useful if one wants to assess Value-at-Risk (or Expected Shortfall) predictions over a small time frame (e.g., a crisis period). We apply our method to test GARCH model specifications for a large panel data set of stock returns.

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14-12 Bouchard St-Amant, Pier-André; Garon, Jean-Denis - Optimal Redistributive Pensions and the Cost of Self-Control

We examine how the introduction of self-control preferences influence the trade-off between two fundamental components of a public pension system: the contribution rate and its degree of redistribution. The pension regime affects individuals’ welfare by altering how yielding to temptation (i.e. not saving, or saving less) is attractive. We show that proportional taxation increases the cost of self-control, and that this adverse effect is more acute when public pensions become more redistributive.

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14-11 Fellner, Gerlinde; Iida, Yoshio; Kröger, Sabine; Seki, Erika - The Relation between Information and Heterogeneous Ability in Joint Projects - An Experimental Analysis -

We study voluntary contribution behavior of individuals who vary in their ability to contribute to a joint project under different information scenarios. We investigate a situation with two types who vary only in their external marginal return (low and high). Results of a laboratory experiment suggest that, when group members are not aware of the heterogeneity in their group, both types make the same nominal contributions. When agents are informed about the heterogeneity, contributions increase but differently by type.
High types contribute only more with sufficient social exposure, i.e., when information on the type of the contributor is available. Low types, on the other hand, contribute only more when they are aware of the distribution of types, but have no information on the type of the contributor.

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14-10 Lombardo, Giovanni; Ravenna, Federico - Openness and Optimal Monetary Policy

We show that the composition of international trade has important implications for the optimal volatility of the exchange rate, above and beyond the size of trade flows. Using an analytically tractable small open economy model, we characterize the impact of the trade composition on the policy trade-off and on the role played by the exchange rate in correcting for price misalignments. Contrary to models where openness can be summarized by the degree of home bias, we find that openness can be a poor proxy of the welfare impact of alternative monetary policies. Using input-output data for 25 countries we document substantial differences in the import and non-tradable content of final demand components, and in the role played by imported inputs in domestic production. The estimates are used in a richer small-open-economy DSGE model to quantify the loss from an exchange rate peg relative to the Ramsey policy conditional on the composition of imports. We find that the main determinant of the losses is the share of non-traded goods in final demand.

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14-09 Ravenna, Federico - How Central Banks Learn the True Model of the Economy

Policy decisions affect economic outcomes, and the likelihood of observing a given state of the world. We investigate how policy choices affect learning of the true model of the economy when the policymaker’s model is mis-specified. We ask under what conditions can the central bank learn the correct specification of the model describing the economy, and what is the impact of exogenous shocks and of adopting an optimal monetary policy on the speed of learning. Slow learning can occur simply because identifying the correct model at standard confidence levels requires a long data sample. We show that neither real-time learning by the policymaker or the private sector, nor the adoption of an optimal policy, affect the speed of detection of model misspecification. Detection speed depends instead on the relative volatility of supply and demand shocks.

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14-08 Ravenna, Federico; Vincent, Nicolas - Inequality and Debt in a Model with Heterogeneous Agents

We propose a DSGE model with income heterogeneity to help discriminate across competing explanations of the cross-sectional divergence in debt-to-income ratios in US data. We show that for a DSGE model to be consistent with the data, the divergence in income growth should not be anticipated and should happen in an economy with low cost of access to financial intermediation. Differential productivity growth across the top and bottom-income quantile of the population has a much smaller impact on debt accumulation by the bottom income-quantile relative to a cross-sectional tax reallocation.

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14-07 Huesca, Luis; Araar, Abdelkrim - Progressivity of Taxes and Transfers: the Mexican Case 2012

The paper examines the redistributive effect achieved by the tax-benefit system in Mexico in 2012 using personal income tax, indirect taxes, social security contributions and social benefits. Our goal is to analyze progressivity of the fiscal system and go further to demonstrate how the different taxes and benefits contribute to the total redistribution effect. A set of popular tools of studying progressivity, such as the concentration curves and Kakwani progressivity index, are used. In addition, we propose an analytical method to decompose the total progressivity measured by the contributions of different taxes or benefits. We conclude that Mexican tax-benefit system is progressive, with greater pre-fiscal income inequality and high redistributive effect for some specific figures of transfers. The contribution from Vertical Equity (VE) is relatively important, but Horizontal Inequity (HI) lightens its impact. Income taxation does not contribute largely to VE. Further, some program benefits target unequally the deprived population, and then decreases the positive effect induced by VE.

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14-06 Chaigneau, Pierre; Sahuguet, Nicolas - Explaining the Association Between Monitoring and Controversial CEO Pay Practices: an Optimal Contracting Perspective

Puzzling associations between low levels of ownership concentration and CEO pay practices such as pay-for-luck, a low pay-performance sensitivity, a more asymmetric pay-performance relation, and high salaries, have been documented. They have been interpreted as evidence that CEO pay is not set optimally. We explain these associations in a model in which firms design contracts optimally to attract and retain CEOs. The results are driven by the matching process: firms with greater ownership concentration have a higher monitoring capacity, and can better handle the downside risk of hiring CEOs with more uncertain ability. The outside option of these CEOs is more sensitive to their performance net of luck, which generates a higher pay-performance sensitivity and less pay-for-luck. If managerial skills are sufficiently transferable across firms and the cost of CEO dismissal is sufficiently high, these CEOs are less valuable and therefore receive relatively lower salaries.

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14-05 Fagart, Marie-Cécile; Fluet, Claude - Risk Aversion and Incentives

We consider decision-makers facing a risky wealth prospect. The probability distribution depends on pecuniary effort, e.g., the amount invested in a venture or prevention expenditures to protect against accidental losses. We provide necessary local conditions and sufficient global conditions for greater risk aversion to induce more (or less) investment or to have no effect. We apply our results to incentives in the principal-agent framework when differently risk averse agents face the same monetary incentives.

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14-04 Christoffersen, Peter; Dorion, Christian; Jacobs, Kris; Karoui, Lotfi - Nonlinear Kalman Filtering in Affine Term Structure Models

The extended Kalman filter, which linearizes the relationship between security prices and state variables, is widely used in fixed income applications. We investigate if the unscented Kalman filter should be used to capture nonlinearities, and compare the performance of the Kalman filter to that of the particle filter. We analyze the cross section of swap rates, which are mildly nonlinear in the states, and cap prices, which are highly nonlinear. When caps are used to filter the states, the unscented Kalman filter significantly outperforms its extended counterpart. The unscented Kalman filter also performs well when compared to the much more computationally intensive particle filter. These findings suggest that the unscented Kalman filter may prove to be a good approach for variety of problems in fixed income pricing.

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14-03 Dorion, Christian; François, Pascal; Grass, Gunnar; Jeanneret, Alexandre - Convertible Debt and Shareholder Incentives

Given equity’s convex payoff function, shareholders can transfer wealth from bondholders by increasing firm risk. We test the existing hypothesis that convertible debt reduces this classical agency problem of risk-shifting. First, we derive a measure of shareholders’ risk incentives induced by convertible debt using a contingent claims framework. We then document that when risk-shifting incentives are high, the propensity to issue convertible (rather than straight) debt increases and the negative stock market reaction following convertible debt issue announcements is amplified. We further highlight that convertible debt is the only type of security that affects business risk durably downwards. Our conclusions support the agency theoretic rationale for convertible debt financing especially for financially distressed firms.

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14-02 Bouakez, Hafedh; Guillard, Michel; Roulleau-Pasdeloup, Jordan - Public Investment, Time to Build, and the Zero Lower Bound

Public investment represents a non-negligible fraction of total public expenditures. Yet, theoretical studies of the effects of public spending when the economy is stuck in a liquidity trap invariably assume that government expenditures are entirely wasteful. In this paper, we consider a new-Keynesian economy in which a fraction of government spending increases the stock of public capital-which is an external input in the production technology-subject to a time-to-build constraint. In this environment, an increase in public spending has two conflicting effects on current and expected inflation: a positive effect due to higher aggregate demand and a negative effect reflecting future declines in real marginal cost. We solve the model analytically both in normal times and when the zero lower bound (ZLB) on nominal interest rates binds. We show that under relatively short time-to-build delays, the spending multiplier at the ZLB decreases with the fraction of public investment in a stimulus plan. Conversely, when several quarters are required to build new public capital, this relationship is reversed. In the limiting case where a fiscal stimulus is entirely allocated to investment in public infrastructure, the spending multiplier at the ZLB is 4 to 5 times larger than in normal times when the time to build is 12 quarters.

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14-01 François, Pascal; Raviv, Alon - Heterogeneous Beliefs and the Choice between Private Restructuring and Formal Bankruptcy

We present a novel theory to explain the puzzling issue regarding why certain firms in financial distress, that must renegotiate their debt prefer a formal bankruptcy procedure, which is more costly, over direct negotiations with their debtholders. Specifically, we show that claimholders’ heterogeneous beliefs about the possible results of a formal plan – and about judicial discretion in particular – may lead to such a preference. In our model, informal processes are preferred when the total value of all corporate claims in a formal procedure, according to each claimholder’s beliefs, is less than the total value of the firm’s assets in an informal process. In such a case, all claimholders believe that they will be better off under an informal process because there is a positive surplus that can be divided among the parties (Pareto Improving). The proposed model can predict which resolution would be chosen under any set of claimholders’ beliefs about the different determinants driving the outcome of a formal procedure, such as the cost of bankruptcy, the likelihood of deviation from the absolute priority rule in a reorganization plan, and the probability of the court adopting a reorganization plan. An empirical analysis of 252 defaults in Moody’s annual reports during the 1996-2011 period supports the argument that heterogeneous beliefs ad creditor coordination problems are important drivers of the decision to restructure under formal bankruptcy procedures rather than through private workouts.

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