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Open Access Publications from the University of California


The UCSC Economics Department is ranked highly in research productivity. The department’s research excellence is focused in three broadly overlapping areas and six specific fields: (1) international economics (international finance, international trade and development), (2) macroeconomics (macro/money and international finance), and (3) empirical microeconomics (public-labor economics, experimental/behavioral economics, international trade, and micro development). These areas remain central to the department’s strategic vision and form the base for our Ph.D. program. Unifying all of the research fields and Ph.D. training is the emphasis on the use of cutting-edge empirical methodology beyond just econometrics. This includes the common use of randomized control experiments, lab experiments, quasi-experimental approaches, computational and simulation methods, big data techniques, and new and innovative administrative data in our research.

Department of Economics, UCSC

There are 397 publications in this collection, published between 1980 and 2023.
Working Paper Series (196)

International reserves and swap lines: substitutes or complements?

Developing Asia experienced a sharp surge in foreign currency reserves prior to the 2008-9 crisis.The global crisis has been associated with an unprecedented rise of swap agreements betweencentral banks of larger economies and their counterparts in smaller economies. We explorewhether such swap lines can reduce the need for reserve accumulation. The evidence suggeststhat there is only a limited scope for swaps to substitute for reserves. The selectivity of the swaplines indicates that only countries with significant trade and financial linkages can expect accessto such ad hoc arrangements, on a case by case basis. Moral hazard concerns suggest that theapplicability of these arrangements will remain limited. However, deepening swap agreementsand regional reserve pooling arrangements may weaken the precautionary motive for reserveaccumulation.

A Gravity View of Exchange Rate Disconnect

The empirical “gravity” equation is extremely successful in explaining bilateral trade. This paper shows how a multi-country model of specialization and costly trade (i.e. a microfounded gravity model) can be applied to explain empirical exchange rate puzzles. One such puzzle is the fact that nominal exchange rates are enormously volatile, but that this volatility does not appear to affect inflation. The gravity model is very successful in explaining this puzzle. In a sample of 25 OECD countries in the post- Bretton Woods period, the gravity prediction of inflation substantially outperforms the purchasing power parity prediction. The gravity prediction matches the volatility of actual inflation, and tracks its path closely. The superior performance of the gravity prediction is explained primarily by the fact that it takes account of the interaction of specialization with home bias. The stability of inflation in very open economies is explained in addition by the fact that the size of bilateral trade is negatively correlated with bilateral exchange rate volatility.

Trade Dynamics in the East Asian Miracle: A Time Series Analysis of U.S.-East Asia Commodity Trade, 1962-1992

We examine the composition of bilateral trade between the United States and eight Asian Pacific economies from 1962 to 1992. Two complementary time series analyses of individual commodities at the SITC four-digit level indicate that significant changes occurred in trade composition during this period. We use a measure of normalized trade balances, developed by Gagnon and Rose (1995). For the eight bilateral trade relationships, commodities representing from fifty to seventy percent of 1992 dollar trade have shown statistically significant changes in the magnitude and, in some cases, in the direction of normalized trade balances, over the thirty-year period. Results support the conclusion that changes in trade patterns in both low-tech industries, such as textiles and clothing, and more high-tech industries, such as electronic parts and electronic goods, were important in the development of the East Asian economies.

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Open Access Policy Deposits (353)

An Extension of the Blinder-Oaxaca Decomposition Technique to Logit and Probit Models

The Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition technique is widely used to identify and quantify the separate contributions of group differences in measurable characteristics, such as education, experience, marital status, and geographical differences to racial and gender gaps in outcomes.  The technique cannot be used directly, however, if the outcome is binary and the coefficients are from a logit or probit model.  I describe a relatively simple method of performing a decomposition that uses estimates from a logit or probit model.  Expanding on the original application of the technique in Fairlie (1999), I provide a more thorough discussion of how to apply the technique, an analysis of the sensitivity of the decomposition estimates to different parameters, and the calculation of standard errors.  I also compare the estimates to Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition estimates and discuss an example of when the Blinder-Oaxaca technique may be problematic.

External Balance Sheets and the COVID-19 Crisis.

At the onset of the COVID-19 economic crisis, as in other crisis episodes, we observed a rapid appreciation of "safe haven" currencies. We quantify currency-induced balance sheet valuation effects for aggregate external positions as well as for broadly defined asset classes for the first quarter and the full year 2020. To do so, we use new data on the currency composition of cross-border assets and liabilities for 46 countries. In contrast with past financial crises, many emerging markets did not experience losses on their aggregate external balance sheets despite facing a domestic currency depreciation. This was partly due to currency-induced valuation gains on equity positions offsetting losses on debt positions, and partly due to reduced currency mismatch on their external debt positions. We conduct the stock-flow reconciliation of net international investment positions to measure overall valuation effects and compute the proportion that is due to changes in currency values. For about half of the countries in our sample, currency-induced valuation effects were substantial, representing over 50 percent of total valuation effects in 2020Q1 and the full year 2020.

China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan: A Quantitative Assessment of Real and Financial Integration

The status of real and financial integration of China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan is investigated using monthly data on one-month interbank rates, exchange rates, and prices. Specifically, the degree of integration is assessed based on the empirical validity of real interest parity, uncovered interest parity, and relative purchasing power parity. There is evidence these parity conditions tend to hold over longer periods, although they do not hold instantaneously. Overall, the magnitude of deviations from the parity conditions is shrinking over time. In particular, China and Hong Kong appear to have experienced significant increases in integration during the sample period. It is also found that exchange rate variability plays a major role in determining the variability of deviations from these parity conditions.

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