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Technology-Hours Redux: Tax Changes and the Measurement of Technology Shocks

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  • Mertens, Karel
  • Ravn, Morten O.

Abstract

A number of empirical studies find that permanent technological improvements give rise to a temporary drop in hours worked. This finding seriously questions the technology-driven business cycle hypothesis. In this paper we argue that it is important to control for permanent changes in taxes, which invalidate the standard long run identifying assumptions for technology shocks and induce low frequency fluctuations in hours worked. Using the narrative data of Romer and Romer (2010), we find that tax shocks have significant long run effects on aggregate hours, output and labor productivity. We also find that, after controlling for tax shocks, permanent shocks to labor productivity generate short run increases in hours worked and are an important source of fluctuations in US output.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 7962.

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Date of creation: Aug 2010
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7962

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Keywords: business cycles; hours worked; tax shocks; technology shocks;

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References

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  1. Miles S. Kimball & John G. Fernald & Susanto Basu, 2006. "Are Technology Improvements Contractionary?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1418-1448, December.
  2. Chang, Yongsung & Gomes, Joao F & Schorfheide, Frank, 2002. "Learning by Doing as a Propagation Mechanism," CEPR Discussion Papers 3599, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Neville Francis & Valerie A. Ramey, 2002. "Is the Technology-Driven Real Business Cycle Hypothesis Dead?," NBER Working Papers 8726, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Saikkonen, Pentti & L tkepohl, Helmut, 2000. "Testing For The Cointegrating Rank Of A Var Process With An Intercept," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 16(03), pages 373-406, June.
  5. Jonas D. M. Fisher, 2006. "The Dynamic Effects of Neutral and Investment-Specific Technology Shocks," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(3), pages 413-451, June.
  6. Eric M. Leeper & Todd B. Walker & Shu-Chun Susan Yang, 2008. "Fiscal Foresight: Analytics and Econometrics," NBER Working Papers 14028, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Karel Mertens & Morten O. Ravn, 2012. "Empirical Evidence on the Aggregate Effects of Anticipated and Unanticipated US Tax Policy Shocks," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 145-81, May.
  8. Neville Francis & Valerie A. Ramey, 2006. "The Source of Historical Economic Fluctuations: An Analysis Using Long-Run Restrictions," NBER Chapters, in: NBER International Seminar on Macroeconomics 2004, pages 17-73 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Chen, Kaiji & Imrohoroglu, Ayse & Imrohoroglu, Selahattin, 2009. "A quantitative assessment of the decline in the U.S. current account," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(8), pages 1135-1147, November.
  10. Favero, Carlo A. & Giavazzi, Francesco, 2010. "Reconciling VAR-based and Narrative Measures of the Tax-Multiplier," CEPR Discussion Papers 7769, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Mertens, Karel & Ravn, Morten O., 2009. "Measuring the Impact of Fiscal Policy in the Face of Anticipation: A Structural VAR Approach," CEPR Discussion Papers 7423, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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Cited by:
  1. Balleer, Almut & Enders, Zeno, 2013. "Expansionary and Contractionary Technology Improvements," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 80046, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  2. Zeno Enders & Almut Balleer, 2012. "Expansionary and Contractionary Technology Shocks," 2012 Meeting Papers 812, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  3. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 2012. "Disentangling the Channels of the 2007-2009 Recession," NBER Working Papers 18094, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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