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Measures of Per Capita Hours and their Implications for the Technology-Hours Debate

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  • Neville Francis
  • Valerie A. Ramey

Abstract

Structural vector autoregressions give conflicting results on the effects of technology shocks on hours. The results depend crucially on the assumed data generating process for hours per capita. We show that the standard measure of hours per capita has significant low frequency movements that are the source of the conflicting results. HP filtered hours per capita produce results consistent with the those obtained when hours are assumed to have a unit root. We provide an alternative measure of hours per capita that adjusts for low frequency movements in government employment, schooling, and the aging of the population. When the new measure is used to determine the effect of technology shocks on hours using long-run restrictions, both the levels and the difference specifications give the same answer: hours decline in the short-run in response to a positive technology shock.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11694.

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Date of creation: Oct 2005
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Publication status: published as Neville Francis & Valerie A. Ramey, 2009. "Measures of per Capita Hours and Their Implications for the Technology-Hours Debate," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 41(6), pages 1071-1097, 09.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11694

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  1. Robert G. King & Charles I. Plosser & James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 1987. "Stochastic Trends and Economic Fluctuations," NBER Working Papers 2229, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  3. Galí, Jordi, 1996. "Technology, Employment, and the Business Cycle: Do Technology Shocks Explain Aggregate Fluctuations?," CEPR Discussion Papers 1499, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Edward C. Prescott, 2003. "Why do Americans work so much more than Europeans?," Staff Report 321, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
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  6. Christopher J. Erceg & Luca Guerrieri, 2004. "Can Long-Run Restrictions Identify Technology Shocks?," Computing in Economics and Finance 2004 3, Society for Computational Economics.
  7. Valerie A. Ramey & Neville Francis, 2006. "A Century of Work and Leisure," NBER Working Papers 12264, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Neville Francis & Michael T. Owyang & Jennifer E. Roush, 2005. "A flexible finite-horizon identification of technology shocks," International Finance Discussion Papers 832, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  9. King, R.G. & Baxter, M., 1990. "Fiscal Policy In General Equilibrium," RCER Working Papers 244, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  10. V. V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe & Ellen R. McGrattan, 2004. "A Critique of Structural VARs Using Real Business Cycle Theory," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000518, UCLA Department of Economics.
  11. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Robert Vigfusson, 2003. "What happens after a technology shock?," International Finance Discussion Papers 768, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  12. John Fernald, 2004. "Trend Breaks, Long Run Restrictions, and the Contractionary Effects of Technology Shocks," 2004 Meeting Papers 477, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  13. Neville Francis & Michael T. Owyang & Jennifer E. Roush & Riccardo DiCecio, 2010. "A flexible finite-horizon alternative to long-run restrictions with an application to technology shock," Working Papers 2005-024, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  14. Neville Francis & Valerie A. Ramey, 2002. "Is the Technology-Driven Real Business Cycle Hypothesis Dead?," NBER Working Papers 8726, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Jordi Galí & Pau Rabanal, 2004. "Technology Shocks and Aggregate Fluctuations," IMF Working Papers 04/234, International Monetary Fund.
  16. Kent D. Wall, 1976. "Interequation Constraint and the Specification of Dynamic Structure," NBER Working Papers 0119, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Cooley, Thomas F. & Dwyer, Mark, 1998. "Business cycle analysis without much theory A look at structural VARs," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 83(1-2), pages 57-88.
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