J A C O B A. R O B B IN S
E C O N O M IC S
I am currently on the job market and will be available for interviews at the 2019 ASSA meetings in Atlanta
W o r k i n g P a p e r s
This paper constructs a new data series on aggregate capital gains and their distribution, and documents that since 1980 capital gains have been the main driver of wealth accumulation. Over this period, capital gains averaged 8% of national income and comprised a third of total capital income. Capital gains are not included in the national income and product accounts, where the definition of national income reflects the goal of measuring current production. To explain the accumulation of household wealth and distribution of capital income, both of which are affected by changes in asset prices, this paper uses the Haig-Simons income concept, which includes capital gains. Accounting for capital gains increases the measured capital share of income by 5 p.p., increases the comprehensive savings rate (inclusive of capital gains) by 6 p.p., and leads to a greater measured increase in income inequality.
The macroeconomic data of the last thirty years has overturned at least two of Kaldor's famous stylized growth facts: constant interest rates, and a constant labor share. At the same time, the research of Piketty and others has introduced several new and surprising facts: an increase in the financial wealth-to-output ratio in the US, an increase in measured Tobin's Q, and a divergence between the marginal and the average return on capital. In this paper, we argue that these trends can be explained by an increase in market power and pure profits in the US economy, i.e., the emergence of a non-zero-rent economy, along with forces that have led to a persistent long term decline in real interest rates. We make three parsimonious modifications to the standard neoclassical model to explain these trends. Using recent estimates of the increase in markups and the decrease in real interest rates, we show that our model can quantitatively match these new macroeconomic facts.
P u b l i c a t i o n s
With Gauti Eggertsson and Neil Mehrotra.
This paper formalizes and quantifies the secular stagnation hypothesis, defined as a persistently low or negative natural rate of interest leading to a chronically binding zero lower bound. Output-inflation dynamics and policy prescriptions are fundamentally different than in the standard New Keynesian framework. Using a 56-period quantitative lifecycle model, a standard calibration to US data delivers a natural rate ranging from -1.5% to -2%, implying an elevated risk of ZLB episodes for the foreseeable future. We decompose the contribution of demographic and technological factors to the decline in interest rates since 1970 and quantify changes required to restore higher rates.
American Journal of Health Economics, 2015.
With Katherine Baicker.
Health Services Research, 2015.
With Meredith Rosenthal, Mary Beth Landrum, and Eric C. Schneider.
Journal of Health Economics, 2013.
With Katherine Baicker and Michael E. Chernew.
C o n t a c t
E m a i l firstname.lastname@example.org
P R O V I D E N T I A