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What do we know and not know about potential output?

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  • Susanto Basu
  • John G. Fernald

Abstract

Potential output is an important concept in economics. Policymakers often use a one-sector neoclassical model to think about long-run growth, and often assume that potential output is a smooth series in the short run--approximated by a medium- or long-run estimate. But in both the short and long run, the one-sector model falls short empirically, reflecting the importance of rapid technical change in producing investment goods; and few, if any, modern macroeconomic models would imply that, at business cycle frequencies, potential output is a smooth series. Discussing these points allows us to discuss a range of other issues that are less well understood, and where further research could be valuable.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco in its series Working Paper Series with number 2009-05.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedfwp:2009-05

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Keywords: Input-output analysis ; Productivity ; Monetary policy;

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Cited by:
  1. Taylor, John B. & Wieland, Volker, 2012. "Surprising comparative properties of monetary models: Results from a new model database," IMFS Working Paper Series 66, Institute for Monetary and Financial Stability (IMFS), Goethe University Frankfurt.
  2. Singh, B. Karan & Kanakaraj, A. & Sridevi, T.O., 2011. "Revisiting the empirical existence of the Phillips curve for India," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 247-258, June.
  3. Luca Sala & Ulf Soderstrom & Antonella Trigari, 2010. "The Output Gap, the Labor Wedge, and the Dynamic Behavior of Hours," Working Papers 365, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  4. Daniel L. Thornton, 2009. "How did we get to inflation targeting and where do we go now? a perspective from the U.S. experience," Working Papers 2009-038, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

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