Yu-Ting Chiang

I am an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. I received my Ph.D. from the Department of Economics and Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago in 2021.

My research studies how information frictions affect macroeconomic dynamics and policies. I am also interested in fiscal and monetary policy in heterogenous-agent models.

You can contact me at yu-ting.chiang@stls.frb.org

Working papers

Abstract: This paper shows that people's attention to macroeconomic events can generate macroeconomic uncertainty during recessions. In an economy with dispersed information, agents exert costly attention to learn about an unknown aggregate state of the economy. Under certain conditions, agents pay more attention when they expect the economy to be in a bad state, and their collective response increases four measures of uncertainty that are countercyclical in the data: (i) aggregate output volatility, (ii) forecast uncertainty about aggregate output, (iii) forecast dispersion about aggregate output, and (iv) cross-sectional output dispersion among agents. Moreover, agents' attention response produces a cyclical pattern of expectation updates consistent with evidence from forecast surveys, in contrast to the pattern generated by countercyclical volatility shocks. When calibrated to the U.S. economy, countercyclical attention can account for more than half of the fluctuations in three of the four measures of uncertainty. Because fluctuations in attention and uncertainty are higher-order properties of the model, a new method is developed to solve higher-order dynamics of the equilibrium under an infinite regress problem.

Abstract: We study how the financial sector affects government policies through the liquid asset market in heterogeneous agent New Keynesian (HANK) economies. We show that, in a large class of models of financial intermediation, relevant features of the financial sector are summarized by the elasticities of a liquid asset supply function. The financial sector in these models affects aggregate responses through liquidity transformation (i.e., issuing liquid assets to finance illiquid capital). If liquid asset supply responds inelastically to returns on capital (low cross-price elasticities), disturbances in the liquid asset market generate large responses in aggregate demand through adjustments in capital prices. Assumptions about the financial sector are not innocuous quantitatively. In commonly used setups that imply different liquid asset supply elasticities, aggregate output responses to the same government liquid asset injection can differ by up to two orders of magnitude.

Nominal Maturity Mismatch and the Redistributive Effects of Inflation (with Ezra Karger)

(draft coming soon)

Abstract: We use data on household balance sheets and inflation expectations to document the redistributive effect of unexpected increases in inflation. On net, rich households are net nominal lenders and poor households are net nominal borrowers. So, unexpected inflation act as a progressive tax, transferring wealth from the rich to the poor. However, there is a maturity mismatch in households' nominal positions: nominal assets have shorter average maturity than nominal liabilities, and this mismatch is larger for poorer households. As a result, when inflation unexpectedly increases, poor households experience immediate declines in their ability to pay for goods and services, even as their life-time wealth increases. We study the welfare implications of nominal maturity mismatch in a heterogeneous agent model and show that unexpected inflation shocks can decrease welfare for households who are liquidity constrained, even as net wealth for these households rises.