Olivier Jean Blanchard

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This paper characterizes the dynamic effects of shocks in government spending and taxes on economic activity in the United States in the postwar period. It does so by using a structural VAR approach that relies on institutional information about the tax and transfer systems and the timing of tax collections to identify the automatic response of taxes and(More)
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Zipf ’s law is a very tight constraint on the class of admissible models of local growth. It says that for most countries the size distribution of cities strikingly fits a power law: the number of cities with populations greater than S is proportional to 1/S. Suppose that, at least in the upper tail, all cities follow some proportional growth process (this(More)
The potential for rare economic disasters explains a lot of asset-pricing puzzles. I calibrate disaster probabilities from the twentieth century global history, especially the sharp contractions associated with World War I, the Great Depression, and World War II. The puzzles that can be explained include the high equity premium, low risk-free rate, and(More)
This paper examines the effect of skill-biased technological change as measured by computerization on the recent widening of U. S. educational wage differentials. An analysis of aggregate changes in the relative supplies and wages of workers by education from 1940 to 1996 indicates strong and persistent growth in relative demand favoring college graduates.(More)
This paper argues that the typical household’s saving is better described by a “bufferstock” version than by the traditional version of the Life Cycle/Permanent Income Hypothesis (LC/PIH) model. Buffer-stock behavior emerges if consumers with important income uncertainty are sufficiently impatient. In the traditional model, consumption growth is determined(More)
In the last decade, economists have produced a considerable body of research suggesting that the historical origin of a country’s laws is highly correlated with a broad range of its legal rules and regulations, as well as with economic outcomes. We summarize this evidence and attempt a unified interpretation. We also address several objections to the(More)