Research

Working Papers

Kreamer, Jonathan. 2017. "Sectoral Heterogeneity and Monetary Policy." [pdf]

Since sectors differ in their sensitivity to interest rates, monetary policy produces inefficient sectoral fluctuations.  In a model with sectoral heterogeneity, I show that policymakers should weight sectors proportionally to their interest elasticities, account for dynamic demand effects from durable goods, and systematically utilize forward guidance to reduce sectoral volatility. A calibrated model confirms these recommendations, and finds that neglecting sectoral volatility produces substantial welfare losses. The optimal policy can be well-approximated by a policy that stabilizes a sectorally-weighted measure of inflation, plus lags of past durable inflation. I calculate sectoral labor wedges to assess historical U.S. monetary policy.

Kreamer, Jonathan. 2016. "Household Debt, Unemployment, and Slow Recoveries." [pdf] (first version 2014)

I study the dynamics of an economy with endogenous unemployment risk in a liquidity trap. Expectations of high unemployment increase precautionary saving and worsen credit conditions, reducing demand. When the interest rate cannot fall in response, pessimistic expectations are self-fulfilling and multiple equilibria exist. Even under optimistic expectations, endogenous unemployment risk substantially amplifies employment losses in a deleveraging episode. I decompose demand losses into deleveraging and precautionary components, and find that precautionary effects account for most of the amplification. A concurrent temporary financial shock causes more initial unemployment but a faster recovery, and can reduce cumulative employment losses.

Kreamer, Jonathan. 2017. "Financial Intermediation and the Supply of Liquidity." [pdf] (first version 2014)

I study the role of financial intermediaries in supplying liquidity to the real economy.  Firms hold liquid assets to meet unanticipated expenses. Financial intermediaries supply liquidity by pooling partially liquid assets, but their ability to commit future funds depends on their capital. When liquidity is scarce, there is a positive liquidity premium and investment is inefficiently low. Bank losses raise the liquidity premium and reduce investment. I analyze the optimal supply of public liquidity and find that when private liquidity is scarce the government should issue bonds for their liquidity properties, providing justification for countercyclical budget deficits.

Kreamer, Jonathan. 2013. "Consumer Credit and Aggregate Demand." [pdf]

Recent evidence suggests shocks to household balance sheets contributed to employment losses during the 2007 - 2009 recession in the U.S. Motivated by these findings, I consider a model in which credit provides liquidity to consumers.  If available credit is sufficient to finance desired consumption, the model is identical to a standard growth model.  However, when there is insufficient credit, consumer demand falls and output is inefficiently low.  Credit constraints are endogenous and depend on the return to production.  A demand shock can trigger an amplification process, where lower demand reduces the return to production, tightening available credit and reducing demand further. In a crisis state, there is equilibrium underconsumption and overproduction.  In normal times, there is equilibrium oversmoothing: oversaving by wealthy households and overborrowing by poor households. There is a clear role for policy, as government spending stimulates demand and relaxes consumer borrowing constraints.

Publications

Korinek, Anton and Jonathan Kreamer. 2014. "The Redistributive Effects of Financial Deregulation."
Journal of Monetary Economics 68:S55-67  [NBER WP] [published version]

Financial regulation is often framed as a question of economic efficiency. This paper, by contrast, puts the distributive implications of financial regulation at center stage. We develop a model in which the financial sector benefits from financial risk-taking by earning greater expected returns. However, risk-taking also increases the incidence of large losses that lead to credit crunches and impose negative externalities on the real economy. A regulator has to trade off efficiency in the financial sector, which is aided by deregulation, against efficiency in the real economy, which is aided by tighter regulation and a more stable supply of credit.