Working Paper Series

Browse the categories to access the content of academic, scientific and opinion publications of the professors and students of the Department of Economics PUC-Rio.

Targeting in Adaptive Networks

N 677, 27/10/2020

This paper studies optimal targeting policies, consisting of eliminating (preserving) a set of agents in a network and aimed at minimizing (maximizing) aggregate effort levels. Different from the existing literature, we allow the equilibrium network to adapt after a network intervention and consider targeting of multiple agents. A simple and tractable adjustment process is introduced. We find that allowing the network to adapt may overturn optimal targeting results for a fixed network and that congestion/competition effects are crucial to understanding differences between the two settings

Timo Hiller.

A Simple Model of Network Formation with Congestion Effects

N 676, 16/10/2020

This paper provides a game-theoretic model of network formation with a continuous effort choice. Efforts are strategic complements for direct neighbors in the network and display global substitution/congestion effects. We show that if the parameter governing local strategic complements is larger than the one governing global strategic substitutes, then all pairwise Nash  equilibrium networks are nested split graphs. We also consider the problem of a planner, who can choose effort levels and place links according to a network cost function. Again all socially optimal configurations are such that the network is a nested split graph. However, the socially optimal network may be different from equilibrium networks and efficient effort levels do not coincide with Nash equilibrium effort levels. In the presence of strategic substitutes, Nash equilibrium effort levels may be too high or too low relative to efficient effort levels. The relevant applications are crime networks and R&D collaborations among firms, but also interbank lending and trade.

Timo Hiller.

Price Dispersion in Dynamic Competition

N 675, 05/10/2020

In product markets, there exists substantial dispersion in prices for transactions of physically identical goods, and incumbent sellers sell at higher prices than entrants. This study develops a theory of dynamic pricing that explains these facts as results from the same fundamental friction: Buyers are imperfectly aware of which sellers are operating, and the degree of awareness about a seller is  ndogenous. The equilibrium is unique and efficient, and features randomized pricing strategies where incumbents post higher prices than entrants. If buyers' memory depreciation is low, then the equilibrium of the industry tends to approximate perfectly competitive conditions over time.

Rafael Roos Guthmann.

Multi-Product Pricing: Theory and Evidence From Large Retailers

N 687, 03/10/2020

We study a unique dataset with comprehensive coverage of daily prices in large multi-product retailers in Israel. Retail stores synchronize price changes around occasional "peak" days when they reprice around 10% of their products. To assess aggregate implications of partial price synchronization, we develop a new model in which multi-product firms face economies of scope in price adjustment, and synchronization is endogenous. Synchronization of price changes attenuates the average price response to monetary shocks, but only high degrees of synchronization can substantially strengthen monetary non-neutrality. Our calibrated model generates as little monetary non-neutrality as in Golosov and Lucas (2007).

Marco Bonomo, Carlos Viana de Carvalho, Oleksiy Kryvtsov, Rodolfo Dinis Rigato, Sigal Ribon.

Online Action Learning in High Dimensions: A New Exploration Rule for Contextual et-Greedy Heuristics

N 674, 29/09/2020

Bandit problems are pervasive in various fields of research and are also present in  several practical applications. Examples, including dynamic pricing and assortment and the design of auctions and incentives, permeate a large number of sequential treat- ment experiments. Different applications impose distinct levels of restrictions on viable actions. Some favor diversity of outcomes, while others require harmful actions to be closely monitored or mainly avoided. In this paper, we extend one of the most popular bandit solutions, the original et-greedy heuristics, to high-dimensional contexts. Moreover, we introduce a competing exploration mechanism that counts with searching sets based on order statistics. We view our proposals as alternatives for cases where pluralism is valued or, in the opposite direction, cases where the end-user should carefully tune the range of exploration of new actions. We find reasonable bounds for the cumulative regret of a decaying et-greedy heuristic in both cases, and we provide an upper bound for the initialization phase that implies the regret bounds when order statistics are considered to be at most equal but mostly better than the case when random searching is the sole exploration mechanism. Additionally, we show that endusers have sufficient  exibility to avoid harmful actions since any cardinality for the higher-order statistics can be used to achieve stricter upper bound. In a simulation exercise, we show that the algorithms proposed in this paper outperform simple and adapted counterparts.


Claudio Cardoso Flores, Marcelo Medeiros.

Transfers vs Credit Policy Macroeconomic Policy Trade-offs during Covid-19

N 671, 11/05/2020

The Covid-19 crisis has lead to a reduction in the demand and supply of sectors that produce goods that need social interaction to be produced or consumed. We interpret the Covid-19 shock as a shock that reduces utility stemming from “social” goods in a two-sector economy with incomplete markets. We compare the advantages of lump-sum transfers versus a credit policy. For the same path of government debt, transfers are preferable when debt limits are tight, whereas credit policy is preferable when they are slack. A credit policy has the advantage of targeting fiscal resources toward  agents that matter most for stabilizing demand. We illustrate this result with a calibrated model. We discuss various shortcomings and possible extensions to the model.

Publicado como  NBER Working paper no. 27118 




Saki Bigio, Mengbo Zhang, Eduardo Zilberman.

Speculation-Driven Business Cycles

N 669, 06/01/2020

Speculation, in the spirit of Harrison and Kreps [1978], is introduced into a standard real business cycle model. Investors (speculators) hold heterogeneous beliefs about firm growth. Firm ownership, and thus, the firm’s discount factor varies with waves of optimism and leverage. These waves ripple into firm investments in hours. The firm’s discount discount factor links the equity premium and labor volatility puzzles. We obtain an upper bound to the amplification that can be generated by speculation for any model of beliefs -- a factor of 1.5. A calibration based on diagnostic beliefs amplifies hours volatility by a factor of 1.15 and produces a bubble component of 20 percent.

Saki Bigio, Eduardo Zilberman.

Voting for Quality? The Impact of School Performance Information on Electoral Outcome

N 668, 21/10/2019

We use data from polling stations and public primary schools to estimate the electoral effects of making school quality information available to voters. We exploit the introduction of a school-level accountability system in Brazil that provides, for the first time, information about school quality and exploit variation in schools affected by the policy. We find that incumbent vote shares are 2.14 percentage points higher for schools in the top 20% of our sample’s distribution of school quality and 1.54 percentage points lower for schools in the bottom 20% of the distribution. These effects are mostly driven by the unpredicted component of school quality and are larger for more educated voters.

Marina Dias, Claudio Ferraz.

Latifúndio e pequena propriedade. Estrutura Fundiária e Economia no Brasil da Colônia ao Império

N 667, 26/02/2019

O objetivo do presente trabalho é examinar a situação fundiária no Brasil Imperial nos seus aspectos econômicos, mas também sociais e legais, a partir de seus antecedentes coloniais, e examinar criticamente a questão tradicionalmente enfatizada na historiografia da onipresença e predominância de latifúndios no período imperial. 

Luiz Aranha Corrêa do Lago.

Macroeconomic Effects of Credit Deepening in Latin America

N 629, 02/10/2018

We augment a standard dynamic general equilibrium model with financial frictions, in order to quantify the macroeconomic effects of the credit deepening process observed in Latin America in the last decade - most notably in Brazil. In the model, a stylized banking sector intermediates credit from patient households to impatient households and entrepreneurs. Motivated by the Brazilian experience, we allow the credit constraint faced by households to depend on labor income. Our model is designed to isolate the effects of credit deepening through demand-side channels, and abstracts from potential effects of credit supply on total factor productivity. In the calibrated model, credit deepening generates only modest above-trend growth in consumption, investment, and GDP. Since Brazil has experienced one of the most intense credit deepening processes in Latin America, we argue that the quantitative effects that hinge on the channels captured by the model are unlikely to be sizable elsewhere

(revisto em Junho de 2017)

Carlos Viana de Carvalho, Nilda Mercedes Cabrera Pasca, Laura Candido de Souza, Eduardo Zilberman.

Do Government Guarantees Really Matter in Fixed Exchange Rate Regimes?

N 666, 19/09/2018

Since the mid 1990s, theories of speculative attacks have argued that fixed exchange rate regimes induce excessive borrowing in foreign currency as an optimal response to implicit guarantees that the government will not devalue the domestic currency. Using data on Brazilian  firms before and after the end of the fixed exchange rate regime in 1999, we estimate the relevance of the government guarantees by comparing the changes in foreign debt of two groups of firms: those that hedged their foreign currency debt prior to the exchange rate float and those that did not. Using the difference-in-differences approach, in which firm-specific characteristics are introduced as control variables, we exclude the macroeconomic effects of the change in the exchange rate regime and the possible differences in foreign debt trends of the two groups of firms, thus obtaining an estimate of the impact of the government guarantees on borrowing in foreign currency. The results suggest that the guarantees do not induce  excessive borrowing in foreign currency

Marcio Magalhães Janot, Márcio Gomes Pinto Garcia.

Macroprudential Policies at Work: How do Government-Owned Banks affect Credit Markets?

N 665, 18/09/2018

How countercyclical macroprudential credit policies affect the loan spread?   To answer this question, we propose a microeconomic model of bank competition  that contemplates differences in the behavior of public and private banks and  the peculiarities of the market for corporate loans vis-a-vis the market for consumer loans. We solve the model and calibrate it using parameters of the Brazilian economy, where government-owned banks not only account for almost half of the outstanding loans in the credit market but also have played a strong countercyclical role in the economy. Subsequently, we use the equilibrium conditions of the model to study the effects of macroprudential credit policies on loan  preads. The results indicate that credit expansion by public banks is more effective to reduce loans interest rates during recession periods than during periods of economic expansion

Paulo Rodrigo Capeleti, Márcio Gomes Pinto Garcia, Fábio Miessi Sanches.

Os Efeitos da Incerteza sobre a Atividade Econômica no Brasil

N 658, 14/07/2018

Este trabalho investiga os efeitos da incerteza sobre a atividade econômica no Brasil. Para isso, são construídas diversas proxies que buscam capturar o nível de incerteza vigente na economia brasileira (incerteza doméstica) e em vários de seus principais parceiros comerciais (incerteza externa). Em seguida, são estimados modelos de vetores autorregressivos (VAR) estruturais, cujas funções de resposta ao impulso sugerem efeitos contracionistas significativos da incerteza sobre a atividade, em particular sobre o investimento. Além disso, as estimativas indicam que os efeitos da incerteza doméstica são mais acentuados do que os da incerteza externa. Pode-se afirmar, portanto, que os níveis de incerteza vigentes no Brasil desde as eleições presidenciais de 2014 representam importante fator por trás da recessão subsequente. Estima-se que caso não houvesse a expansão de incerteza doméstica observada a partir do segundo semestre de 2014, a produção industrial em 2015 teria sido, em média, entre 0,9% e 3,9% maior, dependendo da variável proxy de incerteza utilizada. No caso do IBC-Br, este teria sido entre 0,4% e 1,3% maior. Os resultados encontrados são robustos para diversas alterações no modelo.

Revisto em fevereiro de 2018

Ricardo de Menezes Barboza, Eduardo Zilberman.

Apprenticeship as a stepping stone to better jobs: evidence from brazilian matched employer-employee data

N 651, 07/06/2018

The objective of this paper is to evaluate the Brazilian Apprenticeship program (Lei do Aprendiz). This program is a youth-targeted ALMP that has been adopted at a large scale since 2000 in Brazil. The program concedes payroll subsidies to firms that hire and train young workers under special temporary contracts aiming to help them successfully complete the transition from school to work. We make use of a very rich longitudinal matched employee-employer dataset covering the universe of formally employed workers in Brazil, including apprentices. Our identification strategy exploits a discontinuity by age in the eligibility to enter the program in the early 2000’s, when 17 was the age limit to take part in the program. We examine the impacts on employability, wage growth and attachment to the formal labor market using other temporary workers as a control group. We find that the program increases the probability of employment in permanent jobs in 2-3- and 4-5-year horizons. We also find a positive impact on real wages that increases over time. These results hold when we isolate the effects of the training dimension of the program by using an alternative control group composed of subsidized temporary workers. We show evidence that the positive effects of the program are much larger for less-educated workers and for workers who had their first jobs in large firms. These results are robust to other choices of methods to address selection into the program based on unobservables.

Revisto em fevereiro de 2018

Carlos Henrique Corseuil, Gustavo Gonzaga, Miguel Nathan Foguel.

Gambling, Risk Appetite and Asset Pricing

N 664, 03/04/2018

A measure of the propensity to gamble in casinos constructed without any asset price data provides relevant information for asset pricing. This measure of risk appetite improves the fit of conditional asset pricing models such as the conditional CAPM, explains cross-sectional differences in future returns for portfolios sorted on various characteristics, and helps forecast market and portfolio excess returns. The relationship between risk appetite and asset prices appears to be mainly explained by simultaneous changes in risk and risk premia

Carlos Viana de Carvalho, Ruy Monteiro Ribeiro, Eduardo Zilberman, Daniel Cordeiro.

Risk Sharing Contracts with Private Information and One-Sided Commitment

N 635, 26/03/2018

In a repeated unobserved endowment economy in which agents negotiate long-term contracts with a financial intermediary, we study the risk-sharing implications of the interaction between incentive compatibility constraints (due to private information) and participation constraints (due to one-sided commitment). In particular, we assume that after a default episode, agents consume their endowment and remain in autarky forever. We find that once they are away from autarky today, if the probability of drawing the highest possible endowment shock is sufficiently small, the optimal contract prevents agents from reaching autarky tomorrow and, thus, from being "impoverished". Moreover, an invariant cross-sectional distribution of life-time utilities (or values) exists. A numerical example shows that the mass of agents living in autarky can be zero in the limit.

Revisto em março de 2018

Eduardo Zilberman, Vinicius Nascimento Carrasco, Pedro Hemsley.

The Cross-sectional Distribution of Price Stickiness Implied by Aggregate Data

N 634, 24/03/2018

This paper provides evidence on three mechanisms that can reconcile frequent individual price changes with sluggish aggregate price dynamics. To that end, we estimate a semi-structural model that allows us to extract information about real rigidities and cross-sectional heterogeneity in price stickiness from aggregate data. Hence the model can also speak to the debate about the aggregate implications of sales and other temporary price changes. Our estimates point to the presence of large real rigidities and a significant degree of heterogeneity in price stickiness. Moreover, the cross-sectional distribution of price stickiness implied by aggregate data is in line with an empirical distribution obtained from micro price data that factors out sales and product substitutions. Our results suggest that all three feaures -- i) real rigidities, ii) heterogeneity in price stickiness and iii) exclusion of temporary price changes -- help bridge the gap between micro and macro evidence on nominal price rigidity.

Revisto em Abril de 2018 

Niels A. Dam, Jae Won Lee, Carlos Viana de Carvalho.

A dívida externa dos estados brasileiros, 1881-1943

N 663, 27/12/2017

A Constituição de 1891 permitia que estados e municípios tivessem acesso direto aos mercados financeiros internacionais. É possível, portanto, em princípio, diferenciar risco Brasil dos riscos específicos dos estados e municípios no período 1891-1930. Mas os estados e municípios estão localizados no Brasil e o pagamento do serviço de suas dívidas depende das condições do balanço de pagamentos da economia como um todo. Faz sentido avaliar a importância do endividamento externo estadual e municipal e analisar em que medida risco Brasil e riscos subnacionais estaduais estavam relacionados. Neste artigo a atenção está concentrada nos empréstimos estaduais. A base de dados disponível é de qualidade bem superior à dos empréstimos municipais. Em particular, a evidência disponível sobre a base fiscal dos municípios, essencialmente a arrecadação de impostos prediais e afins, é precária. 

Marcelo de Paiva Abreu.

O Brasil Império e a economia mundial

N 662, 12/12/2017

Este capítulo trata da economia brasileira durante o Império do ponto de vista das relações comerciais e financeiras com a economia mundial. Os aspectos mais gerais da economia brasileira no período são objeto de outros capítulos deste livro.

Marcelo de Paiva Abreu.

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