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Three Strikes and You're Out: Reply to Cooper and Willis

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Abstract

Cooper and Willis (2003) is the latest in a sequence of criticisms of our methodology for estimating aggregate nonlinearities when microeconomic adjustment is lumpy. Their case is based on "reproducing" our main findings using artificial data generated by a model where microeconomic agents face quadratic adjustment costs. That is, they supposedly find our results where they should not be found. The three claims on which they base their case are incorrect. Their mistakes range from misinterpreting their own simulation results to failing to understand the context in which our procedures should be applied. They also claim that our approach assumes that employment decisions depend on the gap between the target and current level of unemployment. This is incorrect as well, since the 'gap approach' has been derived formally from at least as sophisticated microeconomic models as the one they present. On a more positive note, the correct interpretation of Cooper and Willis's results shows that our procedures are surprisingly robust to significant departures from the assumptions made in our original derivations.

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Paper provided by Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University in its series Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers with number 1456.

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Length: 13 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2004
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Publication status: Published in American Economic Review (September 2004), 94(4): 1238-1244
Handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:1456

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Keywords: Adjustment hazard; aggregate nonlinearities; lumpy adjustment; observed and unobserved gaps; quadratic adjustment;

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References

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  1. Ricardo J. Caballero & Eduardo M.R.A. Engel, 1992. "Microeconomic Adjustment Hazards and Aggregate Dynamics," NBER Working Papers 4090, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Khan, Aubhik & Thomas, Julia K., 2003. "Nonconvex factor adjustments in equilibrium business cycle models: do nonlinearities matter?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 331-360, March.
  3. Dixit, Avinash, 1991. "A simplified treatment of the theory of optimal regulation of Brownian motion," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 657-673, October.
  4. Russell Cooper & Jonathan L. Willis, 2001. "The economics of labor adjustment : mind the gap," Research Working Paper RWP 01-06, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
  5. Marcelo Veracierto, 1998. "Plant level irreversible investment and equilibrium business cycles," Working Paper Series WP-98-1, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  6. Sanford J. Grossman & Guy Laroque, 1987. "Asset Pricing and Optimal Portfolio Choice in the Presence of Illiquid Durable Consumption Goods," NBER Working Papers 2369, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Calvo, Guillermo A., 1983. "Staggered prices in a utility-maximizing framework," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 383-398, September.
  8. Julio Rotemberg, 1987. "The New Keynesian Microfoundations," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1987, Volume 2, pages 69-116 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Marcela Eslava & John Haltiwanger & Adriana Kugler & Maurice Kugler, 2010. "Factor Adjustments after Deregulation: Panel Evidence from Colombian Plants," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(2), pages 378-391, May.
  2. von Kalckreuth, Ulf, 2008. "Panel estimation of state dependent adjustment when the target is unobserved," Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies 2008,09, Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre.
  3. von Kalckreuth, Ulf, 2008. "Financing constraints, firm level adjustment of capital and aggregate implications," Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies 2008,11, Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre.
  4. Christian Bayer, 2004. "A closer look at the gap. A comment on Cooper and Willis' 'mind the gap' paper," Macroeconomics 0408010, EconWPA.

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