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Oil and the macroeconomy revisited

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  • Mark A. Hooker
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    Abstract

    The relationship between oil price shocks and U.S. macroeconomic fluctuations advocated by Hamilton (1983) broke down in the 1980s amidst a new regime of highly volatile oil price movements. Several authors have argued that asymmetric and nonlinear transformations of oil prices restore that relationship and thus that the economy responds asymmetrically and nonlinearly to oil price shocks. In this paper, I show that this is only part of the story: the two leading such transformations do not in fact Granger cause output or unemployment in the post-1980 period without further refinements, and they derive much of their apparent success from data in the 1950s. If output is expressed in year-over-year changes, which are smoother than the usual quarterly changes, and the equations exclude variables like interest rates and inflation, then asymmetric and nonlinear oil prices predict output but not unemployment, while the real level of oil prices predicts unemployment but not output. I interpret this evidence as supportive of significant oil price effects on the macroeconomy which a) are at relatively low frequencies, b) are indirect, through variables like interest rates and inflation, c) can induce departures from Okun's law, and d) changed qualitatively around 1980.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series Finance and Economics Discussion Series with number 1999-43.

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    Date of creation: 1999
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    Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:1999-43

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    Keywords: Macroeconomics ; Power resources - Prices ; Petroleum industry and trade;

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    1. Hamilton, James D, 1983. "Oil and the Macroeconomy since World War II," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(2), pages 228-48, April.
    2. Alan A. Carruth & Mark A. Hooker & Andrew J. Oswald, 1998. "Unemployment Equilibria And Input Prices: Theory And Evidence From The United States," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(4), pages 621-628, November.
    3. Hooker, Mark A., 1996. "What happened to the oil price-macroeconomy relationship?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 195-213, October.
    4. Burbidge, John & Harrison, Alan, 1984. "Testing for the Effects of Oil-Price Rises Using Vector Autoregressions," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 25(2), pages 459-84, June.
    5. Thoma, Mark A & Gray, Jo Anna, 1998. "Financial Market Variables Do Not Predict Real Activity," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 36(4), pages 522-39, October.
    6. Kiseok Lee & Shawn Ni & Ronald A. Ratti, 1995. "Oil Shocks and the Macroeconomy: The Role of Price Variability," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 4), pages 39-56.
    7. Ben S. Bernanke & Mark Gertler & Mark Watson, 1997. "Systematic Monetary Policy and the Effects of Oil Price Shocks," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 28(1), pages 91-157.
    8. Davis, Steven J. & Haltiwanger, John, 2001. "Sectoral job creation and destruction responses to oil price changes," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(3), pages 465-512, December.
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    Cited by:
    1. Matteo Manera & Alessandro Cologni, 2005. "Oil Prices, Inflation and Interest Rates in a Structural Cointegrated VAR Model for the G-7 Countries," Working Papers 2005.101, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    2. Virjinia Jeliazkova, 2010. "Effects of the Dynamics of the Oil Price – Theoretical and Empirical Bases," Economic Studies journal, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences - Economic Research Institute, issue 2, pages 127-165.
    3. James D. Hamilton, 2000. "What is an Oil Shock?," NBER Working Papers 7755, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Oladosu, Gbadebo, 2009. "Identifying the oil price-macroeconomy relationship: An empirical mode decomposition analysis of US data," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(12), pages 5417-5426, December.
    5. Driesprong, Gerben & Jacobsen, Ben & Maat, Benjamin, 2008. "Striking oil: Another puzzle?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(2), pages 307-327, August.
    6. Charles A. Fleischman, 1999. "The causes of business cycles and the cyclicality of real wages," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1999-53, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    7. Mark A. Hooker, 1999. "Are oil shocks inflationary? Asymmetric and nonlinear specifications versus changes in regime," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1999-65, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    8. Juncal Cunado & Fernando Pérez de Gracia, 2004. "Oil Prices, Economic Activity and Inflation: Evidence for Some Asian Countries," Faculty Working Papers 06/04, School of Economics and Business Administration, University of Navarra.
    9. Camarero, Mariam & Tamarit, Cecilio, 2002. "Oil prices and Spanish competitiveness: A cointegrated panel analysis," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 24(6), pages 591-605, October.
    10. Marc Gronwald, 2009. "Reconsidering the macroeconomics of the oil price in Germany: testing for causality in the frequency domain," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 36(2), pages 441-453, May.
    11. Rajeev Dhawan & Karsten Jeske & Pedro Silos, 2008. "Productivity, energy prices, and the Great Moderation: a new link," Working Paper 2008-11, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    12. Rebeca Jiménez-Rodríguez, 2004. "Oil Price Shocks: Testing for Non-linearity," CSEF Working Papers 115, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.

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