Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Assorted Research

Inflation Targeting and Real Exchange Rates in Emerging Markets;
We examine the inflation targeting (IT) experiences of emerging market economies, focusing especially on the roles of the real exchange rate and the distinction between commodity and non-commodity exporting nations. In the context of a simple empirical model, estimated with panel data for 17 emerging markets using both IT and non-IT observations, we find a significant and stable response running from inflation to policy interest rates in emerging markets that are following publically announced IT policies. By contrast, central banks respond much less to inflation in non-IT regimes. IT emerging markets follow a "mixed IT strategy" whereby both inflation and real exchange rates are important determinants of policy interest rates. The response to real exchange rates is much stronger in non-IT countries, however, suggesting that policymakers are more constrained in the IT regime--they are attempting to simultaneously target both inflation and real exchange rates and these objectives are not always consistent. We also find that the response to real exchange rates is strongest in those countries following IT policies that are relatively intensive in exporting basic commodities. We present a simple model that explains this empirical result.


What is a Company Really Worth? Intangible Capital and the "Market to Book Value" Puzzle
"What is a company really worth?" is a question asked repeatedly during the recent financial crisis. Attention has been focused on short-term valuation issues, like the "mark-to-market" controversy. Sorting out these issues is complicated by the fact that the market puts a value on shareholder equity that is consistently more than twice the reported book value of a company. Numerous observers have pointed to the absence of most intangible assets from financial statements as an important source of this puzzle. We use Compustat financial data for 617 R&D intensive firms to test this possibility. We find that conventional book value alone explains only 31 percent of the market capitalization of these firms in 2006, and that this increases to 75 percent when our estimates of intangible capital are included. The debt-equity ratio also falls from 1.46 to 0.61. These findings suggest that financial reports tend to substantially understate the long-run intrinsic value of corporate America.


Bankruptcy: Past Puzzles, Recent Reforms, and the Mortgage Crisis


Improving Educational Outcomes for Poor Children


Dealing with the Financial Turmoil: Contingent Risks, Policy challenges, and the Role of the IMF

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