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Essays on markets with frictions: applications to the housing, labour and financial markets

Ungerer, Christoph (2012) Essays on markets with frictions: applications to the housing, labour and financial markets. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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The classical treatment of market transactions in economics presumes that buyers and sellers engage in transactions instantly and at no cost. In a series of applications in the housing market, the labour market and the market for corporate bonds, this thesis shows that relaxing this assumption has important implications for Macroeconomics and Finance. The first chapter combines theory and empirical evidence to show that search frictions in the housing market imply a housing liquidity channel of monetary policy transmission. Expansionary monetary policy attracts buyers to the housing market, raising housing liquidity. Higher housing sale rates in turn allow lenders to threaten foreclosure more effectively, because the expected carrying costs on foreclosure inventory are lower. Ex-ante, this makes banks willing to offer larger loans, stimulating aggregate demand. The second chapter uses a heterogeneous firm industry model to explore how the macroeconomic response to a temporary employer payroll tax cut depends on the hiring and firing costs faced by firms. Controversially, the presence of non-convex labour adjustment costs suggests that tax cuts create fewer jobs in recessions. When firms hoard labour during downturns, they do not respond to marginal tax cuts by hiring additional workers. The third chapter develops a theory in which trader career concerns generate an endogenous transaction friction. Traders are reluctant to sell assets below historical purchase price, since realizing a loss signals to the employer that the trader is incompetent. The chapter documents empirically several properties of corporate bond transaction data consistent with this theory of career-concerned traders.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2012 Christoph Ungerer
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
Sets: Departments > Economics
Supervisor: Pissarides, Christopher

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