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Output gaps

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  • Michael T. Kiley

Abstract

What is the output gap? There are many definitions in the economics literature, all of which have a long history. I discuss three alternatives: the deviation of output from its long-run stochastic trend (i.e., the "Beveridge-Nelson cycle"); the deviation of output from the level consistent with current technologies and normal utilization of capital and labor input (i.e., the "production-function approach"); and the deviation of output from "flexible-price" output (i.e., its "natural rate"). Estimates of each concept are presented from a dynamic-stochastic-general-equilibrium (DSGE) model of the U.S. economy used at the Federal Reserve Board. Four points are emphasized: The DSGE model's estimate of the Beveridge-Nelson gap is very similar to gaps from policy institutions, but the DSGE model's estimate of potential growth has a higher variance and substantially different covariance with GDP growth; the natural rate concept depends strongly on model assumptions and is not designed to guide nominal interest rate movements in "Taylor" rules in the same way as the other measures; the natural rate and production function trends converge to the Beveridge-Nelson trend; and the DSGE model's estimate of the Beveridge-Nelson gap is as closely related to unemployment fluctuations as those from policy institutions and has more predictive ability for inflation.

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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 2010-27.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2010-27

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Keywords: Industrial productivity ; Business cycles;

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Michael Dotsey, 2013. "DSGE models and their use in monetary policy," Business Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, issue Q2, pages 10-16.
  2. Ellen E. Meade & Daniel L. Thornton, 2010. "The Phillips Curve and US Monetary Policy: What the FOMC Transcripts Tell Us," Working Papers 2010-18, American University, Department of Economics.
  3. Sala, Luca & Söderström, Ulf & Trigari, Antonella, 2010. "The Output Gap, the Labor Wedge, and the Dynamic Behavior of Hours," Working Paper Series 246, Sveriges Riksbank (Central Bank of Sweden).
  4. Hess T. Chung & Michael T. Kiley & Jean-Philippe Laforte, 2010. "Documentation of the Estimated, Dynamic, Optimization-based (EDO) model of the U.S. economy: 2010 version," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2010-29, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  5. Sandeep Mazumder, 2014. "The Impact of Educational Attainment and Gender on the Inflation-Unemployment Tradeoff," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 34(2), pages 651-662.
  6. Hess Chung & Jean-Philippe Laforte & David Reifschneider & John C. Williams, 2011. "Have we underestimated the likelihood and severity of zero lower bound events?," Working Paper Series 2011-01, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  7. Claudio Borio, 2012. "The financial cycle and macroeconomics: What have we learnt?," BIS Working Papers 395, Bank for International Settlements.
  8. F. Gerard Adams & Byron Gangnes, 2010. "The Employment Effects of Fiscal Policy: How Costly Are ARRA Jobs?," Working Papers 201026, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
  9. Roberto M. Billi, 2011. "Output gaps and monetary policy at low interest rates," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Q I.

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