Title: Households' Responses to Policy in Labor and Credit Markets
Opponent: José V. Rodríguez Mora, University of Edinburgh

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Abstract

Household Debt and Monetary Policy: Revealing the Cash-Flow Channel 
We examine the effect of monetary policy on spending when households hold debt linked to short-term rates, such as adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs). Using registry-based data, which is broadly representative of Swedish households, we find substantial heterogeneity in consumption responses to changes in monetary policy. We find that consumption responds more strongly to changes in interest rates for households with high debt than for households with little or no debt. Moreover, households with ARMs appear to be more interest-rate sensitive than households with fixed-rate mortgages. Our results are consistent with hand-to-mouth behavior and an important transmission of monetary policy through the cash-flow channel.

Should I Stay or Must I Go? Temporary Refugee Protection and Labor-Market Outcomes 
We study a Danish reform in 2002 that lowered the ex-ante probability of refugees receiving permanent residency by prolonging the time period before they were eligible to apply for such residency. Adherence to the new rules was entirely determined by the date of the asylum application and the reform was implemented retroactively. We formulate a simple search and matching model to derive predictions that can be tested using our data. Using registry based data on individuals in Denmark, we then study the effects on educational and labor-market outcomes and find that the reform significantly increased the enrollment in formal education, especially for females and low-skilled individuals. In terms of employment and earnings, the coefficients are in general negative but insignificant. Other outcomes of interest are also studied.

Risk-sharing and Entrepreneurship 
We study the role of risk-sharing in facilitating innovation. Studying entrepreneurship and innovation entails modelling an occupational choice and an effort choice. Risk-sharing may increase the number of individuals who become entrepreneurs by limiting the downside risk. The effort of entrepreneurs may, however, be hampered by high risk-sharing if this limits the returns faced by successful entrepreneurs relative to unsuccessful entrepreneurs. We construct a theoretical model where risk-sharing may be private or public, i.e., provided through the welfare state by means of taxation. We show that the level of risk-sharing matters for the characteristics of entrepreneurs. Moreover, high taxes, which imply high equilibrium benefits paid out to entrepreneurs, encourage entrepreneurship but discourage effort.

Portfolio and Housing Decisions in the Presence of Intergenerational Links 
There is ample support for the idea that parents matter for the housing market choices of their children. Despite this, our understanding of the effects of these intergenerational links remains limited. I set up a partial equilibrium overlapping generations model with intergenerational links and study housing and portfolio decisions. I use the model to characterize individual behavior, as well as behavioral responses to a change in borrowing conditions. In steady state, the main determinant of both children's and parents' behavior is parental wealth and stricter borrowing conditions have a limited effect. During a transition with positive house price growth, however, the difference between parents who are homeowners and renters (and between their children) is amplified and stricter borrowing conditions have a stronger impact on behavior.