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Job Market Paper

On the Markov Switching Welfare Cost of Inflation

Wei Dai and Apostolos Serletis


This paper uses the Markov switching approach to account for instabilities in the long-run money demand function and computes the welfare cost of inflation in the United States. In doing so, it circumvents the problem of data-mining of some earlier seminal contributions on these issues, allowing for complicated nonlinear dynamics and sudden changes in the parameters of the money demand function. Moreover, it extends the sample period, and investigates the robustness of results to alternative money demand specifications, monetary aggregation procedures, and assumptions regarding dynamics aspects of the money demand specification.

Forthcoming in Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control


Oil Price Shocks and the Credit Default Swap Market

Wei Dai and Apostolos Serletis


We investigate the impact of supply and demand shocks in the global crude oil market on the CDX spread, in the context of a structural VAR model based on monthly data, over the period from November 2003 to October 2015. We find that the reaction of the CDX spread to changes in the real price of crude oil differs considerably depending on the sources of shocks. In the long run, crude oil supply shocks, aggregate demand shocks, and oil-specific demand shocks together account for nearly 90% of the variation of the CDX spread.

Contestability in the Digital Music Player Market

Wei Dai and Kam Yu


We test the concept of contestability in the digital music player market. The theory suggests that the threat of new entrants keeps firms’ market power in check. But Baumol and others argue that pure contestable markets rarely happen in reality. The portable music player market has been dominated by one producer. We estimate a quality-adjusted price index from 2002 to 2010. Results show that market prices decline at an average rate of about 20 percent per year, which is similar to other IT products. This provides support for the idea that the market is fairly contestable.

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