Samuel G. Hanson

6 Results

 

Government Debt Management at the Zero Lower Bound

At least since the 1980s, the three domains of United States monetary policy, fiscal and debt management policy, and the prudential regulation of financial intermediaries have been separate and distinct. However, with the onset of the financial crisis in 2007 and and subsequent easing of monetary policy, the lines between these domains have become blurred, and conventional monetary policies have lost their impact. This blurring of functions—and economists' observation that Federal Reserve and Treasury policies with regard to US government debt have been pushing in opposite directions—suggests the need to revisit the principles underlying government debt management policy. In this paper the authors quantify the extent to which the Fed and Treasury have been working at cross purposes. They also present a framework in which traditional debt management objectives can be considered in conjunction with managing aggregate demand and promoting financial stability. Overall, they argue for revised institutional arrangements to promote greater cooperation between the Treasury and the Federal Reserve in setting debt management policy. Read More

Banks as Patient Fixed-Income Investors

What is the business of banking? Do banks primarily create value on the liability side of the balance sheet as suggested in theories of banking emphasizing liquidity creation? Does the essence of banking reside on the asset side, as in theories emphasizing banks' ability to monitor borrowers? Or does the special nature of banks derive from some synergy between their assets and liabilities? This paper argues that the specialness of traditional banks comes from combining stable money creation on the liability side with assets that have relatively safe long-run cash flows but possibly volatile market values and limited liquidity. To make this business model work, banks rely on deposit insurance, and bear the associated costs of capital regulation. Some preliminary evidence supports the authors' argument. For traditional banks there is a critical synergy between the asset and liability sides of the balance sheet. Read More

Missing the Wave in Ship Transport

Despite a repeating boom-bust cycle in the shipping industry, owners seem to make the same investment mistakes over time. Can other cyclical industries learn the lessons of the high seas? Research by Robin Greenwood and Samuel G. Hanson. Open for comment; 1 Comment posted.

Waves in Ship Prices and Investment

Dry bulk shipping is a highly volatile and cyclical industry in which earnings, investment, and returns on capital appear in waves. In this paper, the authors develop a model of industry capacity dynamics in which industry participants have trouble forecasting demand accurately and fail to fully anticipate the effect that endogenous supply responses will have on earnings. The authors estimate the model using data on earnings, secondhand prices, and investment in the dry bulk shipping industry between 1976 and 2011. Findings show that returns to owning and operating a ship are predictable and closely related to industry-wide investment in capacity. High current ship earnings are associated with higher ship prices and higher industry investment, but predict low future returns on capital. Conversely, high levels of ship demolitions-a measure of industry disinvestment-forecast high returns. Read More

Monetary Policy and Long-Term Real Rates

Samuel G. Hanson and Jeremy C. Stein document that distant real forward rates react strongly to news about the future stance of monetary policy. These movements in forward rates appear to reflect changes in term premia, which largely accrue over the next year, as opposed to varying expectations about future real rates. The evidence suggests that one driving force behind time-varying term premia is the behavior of yield-oriented investors, who react to a cut in short rates by increasing their demand for longer-term bonds, thereby putting downward pressure on long-term rates. Read More

Are There Too Many Safe Securities? Securitization and the Incentives for Information Production

Markets for near-riskless securities have suffered numerous shutdowns in the last 40 years, with the recent financial crisis the most prominent example. This suggests that instability could be a general characteristic of such markets, not just a one-time problem associated with the subprime mortgage crisis. Professors Samuel G. Hanson and Adi Sunderam argue that the infrastructure and organization of professional investors are in part determined by the menu of securities offered by originators. Since robust infrastructure is a public good to originators, it may be underprovided in the private market equilibrium. The individually rational decisions of originators may lead to an infrastructure that is overly prone to disruptions in bad times. Policies regulating originator capital structure decisions may help create a more robust infrastructure. Closed for comment; 0 Comments posted.