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Sales persistence and the reductions in GDP volatility

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  • F. Owen Irvine
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    Abstract

    A number of explanations for the observed decline in GDP volatility since the mid-1980s have been offered. Valerie Ramey and Daniel Vine (2003a, 2003b) in a couple of recent papers offer the hypothesis that a decline in the persistence of sales is an explanation for the decline in GDP volatility. Their models show that a decrease in sales persistence leads to a decline in the variance of production relative to the variance of sales. They provide econometric evidence that the persistence of unit automobile sales has declined at both the aggregate and model level. This paper explores reasons why sales persistence may have declined and then tests the Ramey-Vine hypothesis with monthly chain-weighted sales data from 2- and 3-digit manufacturing and trade industries. The estimates confirm the Ramey-Vine findings for motor vehicle retailers, wholesalers, and manufacturers. For a number of industries outside of motor vehicles, especially those in wholesaling and nondurable manufacturing, considerable evidence is found of declines in sales persistence. These declines seem to be consistent with changes in supply and distribution chains that have occurred as the result of the introduction of new information, inventory, and production control systems. However, in equations estimated for aggregate manufacturing, wholesaling, and retail sector sales, declines in sales persistence are not found.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Boston in its series Working Papers with number 05-5.

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    Date of creation: 2004
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    Handle: RePEc:fip:fedbwp:05-5

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    Keywords: Gross domestic product;

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    References

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    1. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 2002. "Has the Business Cycle Changed and Why?," NBER Working Papers 9127, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. F. Owen Irvine & Scott Schuh, 2005. "The roles of comovement and inventory investment in the reduction of output volatility," Working Papers 05-9, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
    5. 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.
    6. Jean Boivin & Marc P. Giannoni, 2003. "Has Monetary Policy Become More Effective?," NBER Working Papers 9459, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Valerie A. Ramey & Daniel J. Vine, 2004. "Tracking the Source of the Decline in GDP Volatility: An Analysis of the Automobile Industry," NBER Working Papers 10384, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Timothy F. Bresnahan & Valerie A. Ramey, 1992. "Output Fluctuations at the Plant Level," NBER Working Papers 4105, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. 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.
    10. 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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