# Discussion Papers

Papers from 1998 onwards are available on-line as .PDF files.

## 10 Most Recent Papers

### 15/12 Ian Crawford and Matthew Polisson

15/12 Demand Analysis with Partially Observed Prices

In empirical demand, industrial organization, and labor economics, prices are often unobserved or unobservable since they may only be recorded when an agent transacts. In the absence of any additional information, this partial observability of prices is known to lead to a number of identification problems. However, in this paper, we show that theory-consistent demand analysis remains feasible in the presence of partially observed prices, and hence partially observed implied budget sets, even if we are agnostic about the nature of the missing prices. Our revealed preference approach is empirically meaningful and easy to implement. We illustrate using simple examples.

### 15/11 Philippe De Donder and Francisco Martinez-Mora

15/11 On the Political Economy of University Admissions Standards

We study the political determination of the proportion of students attending university when access to higher education is rationed by admission tests. Parents differ in income and in the ability of their unique child. They vote over the minimum ability level required to attend public universities, which are tuition-free and financed by proportional income taxation. University graduates become high skilled, while the other children attend vocational school and become low skilled. Even though individual preferences are neither single-peaked nor single-crossing, we obtain a unique majority voting equilibrium, which can be either classical (with 50% of the population attending university) or ends-against-the-middle with less than 50% attending university (and parents of low and high ability children favoring a smaller university system). The majority chosen university size is smaller than the Pareto efficient level in an ends-against-the-middle equilibrium. Higher income inequality decreases the majority chosen size of the university. A larger positive correlation between parents’ income and child’s ability leads to a larger university populated by a larger fraction of rich students, in line with the so-called participation gap. Our results are robust to the introduction of private schooling alternatives, financed with fees.

### 15/09 **Wojciech Charemza, Carlos Díaz, Svetlana Makarova**

Empirical evaluation of macroeconomic uncertainty and its use for probabilistic forecasting are investigated. New indicators of forecast uncertainty, which either include or exclude effects of macroeconomic policy, are developed. These indicators are derived from the weighted skew normal distribution proposed in this paper, which parameters are interpretable in relation to monetary policy outcomes and actions. This distribution is fitted to forecast errors, obtained recursively, of annual inflation recorded monthly for 38 countries. Forecast uncertainty term structure is evaluated for U.K. and U.S. using new indicators and compared with earlier results. This paper has supplementary material.

### 15/08 **Wojciech Charemza, Carlos Díaz, Svetlana Makarova**

15/08 Choosing the Right Skew Normal Distribution: the Macroeconomist’ Dilemma

The paper discusses the consequences of possible misspecification in fitting skew normal distributions to empirical data. It is shown, through numerical experiments, that it is easy to choose a distribution which is different from that which generated the sample, if the minimum distance criterion is used. The distributions compared are the two-piece normal, weighted skew normal and the generalized Balakrishnan skew normal distribution which covers a variety of other skew normal distributions, including the Azzalini distribution. The estimation method applied is the simulated minimum distance estimation with the Hellinger distance. It is suggested that, in case of similarity in values of distance measures obtained for different distributions, the choice should be made on the grounds of parameters’ interpretation rather than the goodness of fit. For monetary policy analysis, this suggests application of the weighted skew normal distribution, which parameters are directly interpretable as signals and outcomes of monetary decisions. This is supported by empirical evidence of fitting different skew normal distributions to the *ex-post* monthly inflation forecast errors for Poland, Russia, Ukraine and U.S.A., where estimations do not allow for clear distinction between the fitted distributions for Poland and U.S.A.

### 15/07 **Wojciech Charemza, Carlos Díaz, Svetlana Makarova**

15/07 Conditional Term Structure of Inflation Forecast Uncertainty: The Copula Approach

The paper introduces the concept of conditional inflation forecast uncertainty. It is proposed that the joint and conditional distributions of the bivariate forecast uncertainty can be derived from estimation unconditional distributions of these uncertainties and applying appropriate copula function. Empirical results have been obtained for Canada and US. Term structure has been evaluated in the form of unconditional and conditional probabilities of hitting the inflation range of ±1% around the Canadian inflation target. The paper suggests a new measure of inflation forecast uncertainty that accounts for possible inter-country dependence. It is shown that evaluation of targeting precision can be effectively improved with the use of *ex-ante* formulated conditional and unconditional probabilities of inflation being within the pre-defined band around the target.

### 15/06 Arkadiusz Szydlowski

In economic duration analysis, it is routinely assumed that the process which led to censoring of the observed duration is independent of unobserved characteristics. The objective of this paper is to examine the sensitivity of parameter estimates to this independence assumption in the context of an economic model of optimal unemployment insurance. We assume a parametric model for the duration of interest and leave the distribution of censoring unrestricted, allowing it to be correlated with both observed and unobserved characteristics. This leads to loss of point-identification. We provide a practical characterization of the identified set with moment inequalities and suggest methods for estimating this set. In particular, we propose a profiled procedure that allows us to build a confidence set for a subvector of the model parameters. We apply this approach to estimate the elasticity of exit rate from unemployment with respect to unemployment benefit and find that both positive and negative values of this elasticity are supported by the data. When combined with the welfare formula in Chetty (2008), these estimates do not permit us to put an upper bound on the size of the welfare change due to an increase in the unemployment benefit. We conclude that given the available data alone, one cannot credibly judge if the unemployment benefits in the US are close to the optimal level.

### 15/05 Dimitrios Varvarigos, Guangyi Xin

15/05 Social Interactions, the Evolution of Trust, and Economic Growth

We present a model where the dynamics of trust and the process of capital accumulation are jointly determined. Trust evolves intergenerationally, as the process of social interactions with people from different backgrounds creates experiences and forms opinions that are bequeathed to the next generation, thus shaping their level of trust. The provision of public goods and services is also a supporting factor towards the formation of trust. A key result is the possibility of social segregation if the level of trust is below a critical threshold. As a result, long-run equilibria are path-dependent. Both the current level of trust and the current stock of capital are important in determining the economy’s long-term prospects.

### 15/04 Aristotelis Boukouras, Kostas Koufopoulos

We consider a general economy, where agents have private information about their types. Types can be multi-dimensional and potentially interdependent. We show that, if the realized frequency of types (the exact number of agents for each type) is common knowledge, then a mechanism exists, which is consistent with truthful revelation of private information and which implements first-best allocations of resources as the unique equilibrium. The result requires the single crossing property on utility functions and the anonymity of the Pareto correspondence.

### 15/03 R. Emre Aytimur, Aristotelis Boukouras, Robert Schwagerz

15/03 The Citizen-Candidate Model with Imperfect Policy Control

We present a modified citizen-candidate model where the implemented policy arises from a compromise between the government and an unelected external power. We show that the two-candidate equilibria of this model differ significantly from the original: however small the cost of candidacy, the distance between the candidates' policies, both ideal and implemented, remains strictly above a threshold. Moreover, there may be one-candidate equilibria in which the only candidate is not the one most preferred by the median voter. Both results point out that, even with negligible cost of entry, there are limits to strategic delegation.

### 15/02 Aristotelis Boukouras

15/02 Separation of Owenership and Control: Delegation as Commitment Device

This paper provides a theoretical model for explaining the separation of ownership and control in firms. An entrepreneur hires a worker for providing effort to complete a project. The worker's effort determines the probability that the project is completed on time, but the worker receives private benefits for every period she is employed. We show that hiring a manager on a short-term contract may increase firm value and we identify the conditions under which separation of ownership and control is optimal.