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Cyclicality and Sectoral Linkages: Aggregate Fluctuations from Independent Sectoral Shocks

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  • Michael Horvath

    (Department of Economics, Stanford University)

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    Abstract

    The traditional argument against the relevance of sector-specific shocks for the aggregate phenomenon of business cycles invokes the law of large numbers: positive shocks in some sectors are offset by negative shocks in other sectors. This paper hypothesizes that cancellation of sector-specific shocks via the law of large numbers is affected by interactions among producing sectors. The analysis is performed within the context of a multisector model similar in spirit to that of Long and Plosser (1983). It is shown that the rate at which the law of large numbers applies is controlled by the rate of increase in the number of full rows in the input-use matrix rather than by the rate of increases in the total number of sectors. Investigations of actual input-use matrices from the U.S. economy reveal that the number of full rows increases much slower than the total number of rows upon disaggregation and when these input-use matrices are used to parameterize the model, aggregate volatility from sector shocks declines at less than half the rate implied by the law of large numbers. This finding leaves open the possibility that a sizable portion of aggregate volatility is caused by "smaller" shocks to individual sectors. Simple statistics calculated from the model indicate that as much as 80% the volatility in U.S. gross domestic product growth rates could be the result of independent shocks to 2-digit Standard Industrial Code sectors. (Copyright: Elsevier)

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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1006/redy.1998.0028
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics in its journal Review of Economic Dynamics.

    Volume (Year): 1 (1998)
    Issue (Month): 4 (October)
    Pages: 781-808

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    Handle: RePEc:red:issued:v:1:y:1998:i:4:p:781-808

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    References

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    1. Susanto Basu & Miles S. Kimball, 1997. "Cyclical Productivity with Unobserved Input Variation," NBER Working Papers 5915, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Basu, Susanto & Fernald, John G., 2002. "Aggregate productivity and aggregate technology," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(6), pages 963-991, June.
    3. Peter Bak & Kan Chen & Jose Scheinkman & Michael Woodford, 1992. "Aggregate Fluctuations from Independent Sectoral Shocks: Self-Organized Criticality in a Model of Production and Inventory Dynamics," NBER Working Papers 4241, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Susanto Basu, 1999. "Procyclical Productivity: Increasing Returns or Cyclical Utilization?," NBER Working Papers 5336, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Timothy Cogley & James M. Nason, 1993. "Output dynamics in real business cycle models," Working Papers in Applied Economic Theory 93-10, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
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    7. Plosser, C.I., 1989. "Understanding Real Business Cycles," Papers 89-03, Rochester, Business - General.
    8. Basu, Susanto & Fernald, John G, 1997. "Returns to Scale in U.S. Production: Estimates and Implications," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(2), pages 249-83, April.
    9. Hamilton, James D, 1983. "Oil and the Macroeconomy since World War II," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(2), pages 228-48, April.
    10. Dupor, Bill, 1999. "Aggregation and irrelevance in multi-sector models," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 391-409, April.
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    12. Burnside, A. Craig & Eichenbaum, Martin S. & Rebelo, Sergio T., 1996. "Sectoral Solow residuals," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(3-5), pages 861-869, April.
    13. Long, John B, Jr & Plosser, Charles I, 1983. "Real Business Cycles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(1), pages 39-69, February.
    14. Kevin M. Murphy & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1989. "Building Blocks of Market Clearing Business Cycle Models," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1989, Volume 4, pages 247-302 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Brock, William A. & Mirman, Leonard J., 1972. "Optimal economic growth and uncertainty: The discounted case," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 4(3), pages 479-513, June.
    16. Davis, Steven J, 1987. "Allocative Disturbances and Specific Capital in Real Business Cycle Theories," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(2), pages 326-32, May.
    17. Scheinkman, Jose A & Woodford, Michael, 1994. "Self-Organized Criticality and Economic Fluctuations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 417-21, May.
    18. Horvath, Michael, 2000. "Sectoral shocks and aggregate fluctuations," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 69-106, February.
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