Essays on International Finance and Asset Pricing

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Essays on International Finance and Asset Pricing

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Title: Essays on International Finance and Asset Pricing
Author: Powers, Thomas Yang
Citation: Powers, Thomas Yang. 2016. Essays on International Finance and Asset Pricing. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
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Abstract: My first essay investigates the relationship between risk and return for investment projects within the firm. I focus on the film industry and find that more volatile movies have higher rates of return, even though this risk is entirely idiosyncratic. My second essay explains the high rates of return on commodity currencies in terms of the procyclicality of commodity prices. Commodity prices are procyclical because commodities are inputs, and thus demand for them is driven by the global business cycle. I also use labor market data to show that increases in labor costs during commodity booms contribute to the higher real exchange rates observed in commodity exporting countries. My final essay, co-authored with Jeffrey Frankel, studies optimal monetary policy in commodity-exporting economies facing a terms-of-trade shock. We build on the previous literature by introducing borrowing constraints, and find that currency depreciation during such a shock leads to higher welfare than either a fixed exchange rate or inflation targeting.
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