Date of Award

2019

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Graduate Group

Economics

First Advisor

Enrique G. Mendoza

Abstract

This dissertation consists of two chapters on macroeconomics with financial frictions. The first chapter studies the role of firm heterogeneity in the transmission of financial shocks to the real economy. Evidence from the recent European debt crisis shows that firms responded differently to the severe credit tightening that occurred during this period, where smaller ones adjusted their balance sheets more aggressively and performed better in economies with a more skewed firm size distribution. A model of heterogeneous firms, that face financial frictions (defaultable debt and costly equity issuance), a financial intermediation sector, and a sovereign, is proposed to explain these facts. Financial frictions are key because they generate financing structures that depend on firm size, where small firms rely more on equity than debt, which is relatively more costly. Sufficiently large increases in public debt trigger a binding lending constraint for the intermediaries that cause a crowding out of private lending and leads smaller firms to adjust more than large firms. Quantitative results show that firm heterogeneity has aggregate effects and that the model, calibrated to match Spanish firm-level data, is consistent with the empirical facts during the crisis. The second chapter studies the positive and normative implications of "liability dollarization", the intermediation of capital inflows in units of tradables into domestic loans in units of aggregate consumption, on Sudden Stops models. Liability dollarization adds three important effects driven by real-exchange-rate fluctuations that alter standard models of Sudden Stops significantly: Changes on the debt repayment burden, on the price of new debt, and on a risk-taking incentive. The optimal policy under commitment is time-inconsistent, follows a complex non-linear structure, and shows that when domestic credit or capital inflows taxes are present, capital controls are not justified. Quantitatively, an optimized pair of constant taxes on domestic debt and capital inflows makes crises slightly less likely and yields a small welfare gain, but other pairs reduce welfare sharply. For high effective debt taxes, capital controls and domestic debt taxes are equivalent, and for low ones welfare is higher with higher taxes on domestic debt than on capital inflows.

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Economics Commons

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