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The brevity and violence of contractions and expansions

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  • McKay, Alisdair
  • Reis, Ricardo

Abstract

Early studies of business cycles argued that contractions in economic activity were briefer (shorter) and more violent (rapid) than expansions. This paper systematically investigates this claim and in the process discovers a robust new business cycle fact: contractions in employment are briefer and more violent than expansions but we cannot reject the null of equal brevity and violence for expansions and contractions in output. The difference arises because employment typically lags output around peaks but they coincide in their troughs. We discuss the performance of existing business cycle models in accounting for this fact, and conclude that none can fully account for it. We then show that a business cycle model with asymmetric adjustment costs on employment and a choice of when to scrap old technologies can account for the business cycle fact both qualitatively and quantitatively.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Monetary Economics.

Volume (Year): 55 (2008)
Issue (Month): 4 (May)
Pages: 738-751

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Handle: RePEc:eee:moneco:v:55:y:2008:i:4:p:738-751

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505566

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Cited by:
  1. Giorgio Fagiolo & Mauro Napoletano & Andrea Roventini, 2008. "Are output growth-rate distributions fat-tailed? some evidence from OECD countries," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(5), pages 639-669.
  2. Juan Urquiza, 2011. "Income Asymmetries and the Permanent Income Hypothesis," Documentos de Trabajo 409, Instituto de Economia. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile..
  3. Fabio Canova & David Lopez-Salido & Claudio Michelacci, 2009. "The ins and outs of unemployment: An analysis conditional on technology shocks," Economics Working Papers 1213, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Jan 2012.
  4. Ana Gomez Loscos & M. Dolores Gadea & Antonio Montañes, 2011. "Cycles inside cycles: Spanish regional aggregation," ERSA conference papers ersa11p99, European Regional Science Association.
  5. Barnichon, Regis, 2012. "Vacancy posting, job separation and unemployment fluctuations," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 315-330.
  6. Fahr Staphen & Abbritti Mirko, 2011. "Macroeconomic implications of downward wage rigidities," wp.comunite 0088, Department of Communication, University of Teramo.
  7. Yi Wen & Huabin Wu, 2008. "Dynamics of externalities: a second-order perspective," Working Papers 2008-044, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  8. Edoardo Gaffeo & Ivan Petrella & Damjan Pfajfar & Emiliano Santoro, 2012. "Loss Aversion and the Asymmetric Transmission of Monetary Policy," Discussion Papers 12-21, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  9. Canova, Fabio & Lopez-Salido, Jose David & Michelacci, Claudio, 2007. "The Labour Market Effects of Technology Shocks," CEPR Discussion Papers 6365, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Abbritti, Mirko & Fahr, Stephan, 2013. "Downward wage rigidity and business cycle asymmetries," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(7), pages 871-886.
  11. S. Boragan Aruoba & Luigi Bocola & Frank Schorfheide, 2013. "Assessing DSGE model nonlinearities," Working Papers 13-47, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  12. Candelon, Bertrand & Metiu, Norbert & Straetmans, Stefan, 2013. "Disentangling economic recessions and depressions," Discussion Papers 43/2013, Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre.
  13. Regis Barnichon, 2009. "Demand-driven job separation: reconciling search models with the ins and outs of unemployment," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2009-24, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  14. Hernández-Veleros, Zeus Salvador, 2010. "Heterogeneous growth cycles/Ciclos de crecimiento heterogéneo," Estudios de Economía Aplicada, Estudios de Economía Aplicada, vol. 28, pages 625-650, Diciembre.

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