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The cost of business cycles and the benefits of stabilization

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  • Gadi Barlevy

Abstract

This article reviews the social cost of U.S. postwar business cycle fluctuations, first calculated by Lucas (1987). Recent work suggests this cost is considerably larger than suggested by Lucas. Despite this, the author argues that it is not obvious that policymakers should have pursued a more aggressive stabilization policy over the postwar period. Still, because volatility is costly, stable growth remains a desirable goal.

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File URL: http://www.chicagofed.org/digital_assets/publications/economic_perspectives/2005/ep_1qtr2005_part3_barlevy.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in its journal Economic Perspectives.

Volume (Year): (2005)
Issue (Month): Q I ()
Pages: 32-49

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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedhep:y:2005:i:qi:p:32-49:n:v.29no.1

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Related research

Keywords: Business cycles;

References

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  1. Per Krusell & Toshihiko Mukoyama & Aysegul Sahin & Anthony A. Smith, Jr., 2008. "Appendices for "Revisiting the Welfare Effects of Eliminating Business Cycles"," Technical Appendices 08-211, Review of Economic Dynamics.
  2. Wolfers, Justin, 2003. "Is Business Cycle Volatility Costly? Evidence from Surveys of Subjective Well-Being," Research Papers 1751r, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  3. Luis A. Puch & Franck Portier, 2004. "The Welfare Cost of Business Cycles in an Economy with Nonclearing Markets," 2004 Meeting Papers 570, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  4. Rafael Di Tella & Robert J. MacCulloch & Andrew J. Oswald, 2003. "The Macroeconomics of Happiness," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(4), pages 809-827, November.
  5. Michel A. Robe & Stephane Pallage, 2004. "The States vs. the states: On the Welfare Cost of Business Cycles in the U.S," Econometric Society 2004 North American Winter Meetings 164, Econometric Society.
  6. Jordi Galí & Mark Gertler & J. David López-Salido, 2005. "Markups, gaps and the welfare costs of business fluctuations," Economics Working Papers 836, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  7. Andrew Atkeson & Christopher Phelan, 1994. "Reconsidering the Costs of Business Cycles with Incomplete Markets," NBER Working Papers 4719, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Epstein, Larry G & Zin, Stanley E, 1991. "Substitution, Risk Aversion, and the Temporal Behavior of Consumption and Asset Returns: An Empirical Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(2), pages 263-86, April.
  9. Turnovsky, Stephen J. & Bianconi, Marcelo, 2005. "Welfare Gains From Stabilization In A Stochastically Growing Economy With Idiosyncratic Shocks And Flexible Labor Supply," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 9(03), pages 321-357, June.
  10. Janet L. Yellen, 2004. "Stabilization policy: a reconsideration," Speech 1, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  11. Christopher Otrok, 2000. "On Measuring the Welfare Cost of Business Cycles," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1094, Econometric Society.
  12. Obstfeld, Maurice, 1994. "Evaluating risky consumption paths: The role of intertemporal substitutability," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(7), pages 1471-1486, August.
  13. John Y. Campbell & John H. Cochrane, 1994. "By force of habit: a consumption-based explanation of aggregate stock market behavior," Working Papers 94-17, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  14. Janet L. Yellen & George A. Akerlof, 2006. "Stabilization Policy: A Reconsideration," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 44(1), pages 1-22, January.
  15. Robert E. Lucas Jr., 2003. "Macroeconomic Priorities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 1-14, March.
  16. Fernando Alvarez & Urban J. Jermann, 2004. "Using Asset Prices to Measure the Cost of Business Cycles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(6), pages 1223-1256, December.
  17. TallariniJr., Thomas D., 2000. "Risk-sensitive real business cycles," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 507-532, June.
  18. Pemberton, James, 1996. "Growth trends, cyclical fluctuations, and welfare with non-expected utility preferences," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 387-392, March.
  19. Garey Ramey & Valerie A. Ramey, 1991. "Technology Commitment and the Cost of Economic Fluctuations," NBER Working Papers 3755, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Storesletten, Kjetil & Telmer, Chris I. & Yaron, Amir, 2001. "The welfare cost of business cycles revisited: Finite lives and cyclical variation in idiosyncratic risk," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(7), pages 1311-1339.
  21. Boyan Jovanovic, 2004. "Asymmetric Cycles," NBER Working Papers 10573, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Gadi Barlevy, 2003. "The Cost of Business Cycles Under Endogenous Growth," NBER Working Papers 9970, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Tom Krebs, 2003. "Growth and Welfare Effects of Business Cycles in Economies with Idiosyncratic Human Capital Risk," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 6(4), pages 846-868, October.
  24. Imrohoruglu, Ayse, 1989. "Cost of Business Cycles with Indivisibilities and Liquidity Constraints," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1364-83, December.
  25. Satyajit Chatterjee & Dean Corbae, 2000. "On the welfare gains of reducing the likelihood of economic crises," Working Papers 00-14, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  26. Aude Pommeret & Anne Epaulard, 2001. "Recursive Utility, Endogenous Growth, and the Welfare Cost of Volatility," IMF Working Papers 01/5, International Monetary Fund.
  27. Shleifer, Andrei, 1986. "Implementation Cycles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(6), pages 1163-90, December.
  28. Darrel Cohen, 2000. "A quantitative defense of stabilization policy," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2000-34, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  29. repec:fth:harver:1418 is not listed on IDEAS
  30. Beaudry, Paul & Pages, Carmen, 2001. "The cost of business cycles and the stabilization value of unemployment insurance," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(8), pages 1545-1572, August.
  31. J. Bradford De Long & Lawrence H. Summers, . "How Does Macroeconomic Policy Matter?," J. Bradford De Long's Working Papers _130, University of California at Berkeley, Economics Department.
  32. Jim Dolmas, 1998. "Risk Preferences and the Welfare Cost of Business Cycles," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 1(3), pages 646-676, July.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Philip Jung & Keith Kuester, 2008. "The (un)importance of unemployment fluctuations for welfare," Working Papers 08-31, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  2. Jung, Philip & Kuester, Keith, 2011. "The (un)importance of unemployment fluctuations for the welfare cost of business cycles," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 35(10), pages 1744-1768, October.
  3. Juan Carlos Cordoba & Geneviève Verdier, 2007. "Lucas vs. Lucas: On Inequality and Growth," IMF Working Papers 07/17, International Monetary Fund.
  4. Romain Houssa, 2011. "Uncertainty about Welfare Effects of Consumption Fluctuations," Working Papers 1101, University of Namur, Department of Economics.
  5. Thomas Beissinger, 2006. "Neue Anforderungen an eine gesamtwirtschaftliche Stabilisierung," Diskussionspapiere aus dem Institut für Volkswirtschaftslehre der Universität Hohenheim 277/2006, Department of Economics, University of Hohenheim, Germany.
  6. Luca Agnello & Ricardo M. Sousa, 2009. "The Determinants of Public Deficit Volatility," NIPE Working Papers 11/2009, NIPE - Universidade do Minho.
  7. Fischer, Carolyn & Springborn, Michael R., 2009. "Emissions Targets and the Real Business Cycle: Intensity Targets versus Caps or Taxes," Discussion Papers dp-09-47, Resources For the Future.
  8. Ravi Bansal & Marcelo Ochoa, 2011. "Welfare Costs of Long-Run Temperature Shifts," NBER Working Papers 17574, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Cordoba, Juan Carlos & Verdier, Genevieve, 2010. "Inequality and Growth: Some Welfare Calculations," Staff General Research Papers 32119, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  10. Adam Elbourne & Debby Lanser & Bert Smid & Martin Vromans, 2008. "Macroeconomic resilience in a DSGE model," CPB Discussion Paper 96, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
  11. Philip Oreopoulos & Till von Wachter & Andrew Heisz, 2006. "The Short- and Long-Term Career Effects of Graduating in a Recession: Hysteresis and Heterogeneity in the Market for College Graduates," NBER Working Papers 12159, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Olivier Coibion & Yuriy Gorodnichenko & Johannes Wieland, 2010. "The Optimal Inflation Rate in New Keynesian Models," Working Papers 91, Department of Economics, College of William and Mary.
  13. Benjamin Eden, 2004. "Substitution and Risk Aversion: Is Risk Aversion Important for Understanding Asset Prices?," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0422, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.

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