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Interest sensitivity and volatility reductions: cross-section evidence

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  • F. Owen Irvine
  • Scott Schuh
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    Abstract

    As has been widely observed, the volatility of GDP has declined since the mid-1980s compared with prior years. One leading explanation for this decline is that monetary policy improved significantly in the later period. We utilize a cross-section of 2-digit manufacturing and trade industries to further investigate this explanation. Since a major channel through which monetary policy operates is variation in the federal funds rate, we hypothesized that industries that are more interest sensitive should have experienced larger declines in the variance of their outputs in the post-1983 period. We estimate interest-sensitivity measures for each industry from a variety of VAR models and then run cross-sectional regressions explaining industry volatility ratios as a function of their interest-sensitivity measures. These regressions reveal little evidence of a statistically significant relationship between industry volatility reductions and our measures of industry interest sensitivity. This result poses challenges for the hypothesis that improved monetary policy explains the decline in GDP volatility.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Boston in its series Working Papers with number 05-4.

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    Date of creation: 2005
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    Handle: RePEc:fip:fedbwp:05-4

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    Keywords: Gross domestic product ; Monetary policy ; Interest rates;

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    1. Mark Gertler & Simon Gilchrist, 1993. "Monetary policy, business cycles and the behavior of small manufacturing firms," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 93-4, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    2. Ben S. Bernanke & Ilian Mihov, 1998. "Measuring Monetary Policy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(3), pages 869-902, August.
    3. JONATHAN McCARTHY & EGON ZAKRAJSEK, 2007. "Inventory Dynamics and Business Cycles: What Has Changed?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 39(2-3), pages 591-613, 03.
    4. Bernanke, Ben S & Blinder, Alan S, 1992. "The Federal Funds Rate and the Channels of Monetary Transmission," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(4), pages 901-21, September.
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    6. Jean Boivin & Marc Giannoni, 2002. "Assessing changes in the monetary transmission mechanism: a VAR approach," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue May, pages 97-111.
    7. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 2002. "Has the Business Cycle Changed and Why?," NBER Working Papers 9127, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Karl Whelan, 2000. "A guide to the use of chain aggregated NIPA data," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2000-35, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    9. Clarida, Richard & Galí, Jordi & Gertler, Mark, 1999. "The Science of Monetary Policy: A New Keynesian Perspective," CEPR Discussion Papers 2139, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    10. Clarida, Richard & Galí, Jordi & Gertler, Mark, 1998. "Monetary Policy Rules and Macroeconomic Stability: Evidence and Some Theory," CEPR Discussion Papers 1908, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    11. M. V. Cacdac Warnock & Francis E. Warnock, 2000. "The declining volatility of U.S. employment: was Arthur Burns right?," International Finance Discussion Papers 677, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    12. Jean Boivin & Marc P. Giannoni, 2006. "Has Monetary Policy Become More Effective?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(3), pages 445-462, August.
    13. James A. Kahn & Margaret M. McConnell & Gabriel Perez-Quiros, 2002. "On the causes of the increased stability of the U.S. economy," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue May, pages 183-202.
    14. Chang-Jin Kim & Charles Nelson & Jeremy Piger, 2001. "The less volatile U.S. economy: a Bayesian investigation of timing, breadth, and potential explanations," International Finance Discussion Papers 707, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    15. Olivier Blanchard & John Simon, 2001. "The Long and Large Decline in U.S. Output Volatility," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 32(1), pages 135-174.
    16. Chang-Jin Kim & Charles R. Nelson, 1999. "Has The U.S. Economy Become More Stable? A Bayesian Approach Based On A Markov-Switching Model Of The Business Cycle," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(4), pages 608-616, November.
    17. Irvine, F. Owen & Schuh, Scott, 2005. "Inventory investment and output volatility," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(1), pages 75-86, January.
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