Publications by Type: Journal Article

Journal Article
Farhi, Emmanuel, and Ivan Werning. 2007. “Inequality and Social Discounting.” Journal of Political Economy 115 (3): 365-402. Abstract

We explore steady-state inequality in an intergenerational model with altruistically linked individuals who experience privately observed taste shocks. When the welfare function depends only on the initial generation, efficiency requires immiseration: inequality grows without bound and everyone’s consumption converges to zero.We study other efficient allocations in which the welfare function values future generations directly, placing a positive but vanishing weight on their welfare. The social discount factor is then higher than the private one, and for any such difference we find that consumption exhibits mean reversion and that a steady-state, cross-sectional distribution for consumption and welfare exists, with no one trapped at misery.

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Lead article.

Farhi, Emmanuel, Ricardo Caballero, and Mohamad Hammour. 2006. “Speculative Growth: Hints from the U.S. Economy.” American Economic Review 96 (4): 1159-1192. Abstract
We propose a framework for understanding episodes of vigorous economic expansion and extreme asset valuations. We interpret this phenomenon as a high-valuation equilibrium with a low cost of capital based on optimism about future funding. The key ingredient for such equilibrium is feedback from increased growth to a decline in the long-run cost of capital. This feedback arises when an expansion comes with technological progress in the capital sector, when fiscal rules generate procyclical fiscal surpluses, when the rest of the world has lower expansion potential or high saving needs, and when financial constraints are relaxed by the expansion itself.
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Farhi, Emmanuel, Josh Lerner, and Jean Tirole. 2005. “Certifying New Technologies.” Journal of the European Economic Association 3 (2/3): 734-744. Abstract
We study the role of Standard Setting Organization (SSOs) in the adoption of standards. The way the SSO balances the interests of sponsor and users is key to its ability to certify the technology. Proximity to users builds trust in the endorsement, but may be unattractive to technology sponsors. In a static context, we show that the SSO is an effective certifier if and only if it puts enough weight on users' interests. We then tackle the more challenging problem of SSO certification in a dynamic setting in which new information will accrue in the futurea nd user choices are irreversible.T he SSO and the users must then both take a dynamic perspective and contemplate the possibility of a "second chance" that may arise for the standard. A key insight is the possibility of multiple self-fulfilling expectations. It is possible to have an equilibrium with no second chance, a lenient SSO endorsement policy and high stigma from early rejection. It is also possible to have an equilibrium with a second chance, a selective SSO endorsement policy and low stigma from early rejection. Finally, and in both the static and the dynamic setups, we ask whether the SSO is too inclined to turn down or to accept the standard from a social viewpoint