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Factor Hoarding and the Propagation of Business Cycles Shocks

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  • Craig Burnside
  • Martin Eichenbaum

Abstract

This paper analyzes the role of variable capital utilization rates in propagating shocks over the business cycle. To this end we formulate and estimate an equilibrium business cycle model in which cyclical capital utilization rates are viewed as a form of factor hoarding. We find that variable capital utilization rates substantially magnify and propagate the impact of shocks to agents' environments. The strength of these propagation effects is evident in the dynamic response functions of various economy wide aggregates to shocks in agents' environments, in the statistics that we construct to summarize the strength of the propagation mechanisms in the model and in the volatility of exogenous technology shocks needed to explain the observed variability in aggregate U.S. output. Other authors have argued that standard Real Business Cycle (RBC) models fail to account for certain features of the data because they do not embody quantitatively important propagation mechanisms. These features include the observed positive serial correlation in the growth rate of output, the shape of the spectrum of the growth rate of real output and the correlation between the forecastable component of real output and various other economic aggregates. Allowing for variable capital utilization rates substantially improves the ability of the model to account for these features of the data.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4675.

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Date of creation: Mar 1994
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Publication status: published as American Economic Review, December,1996.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4675

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  2. Beveridge, Stephen & Nelson, Charles R., 1981. "A new approach to decomposition of economic time series into permanent and transitory components with particular attention to measurement of the `business cycle'," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 151-174.
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  4. Mary G. Finn, 1991. "Energy price shocks, capacity utilization and business cycle fluctuations," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 50, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  5. Hodrick, Robert J & Prescott, Edward C, 1997. "Postwar U.S. Business Cycles: An Empirical Investigation," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 29(1), pages 1-16, February.
  6. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum, 1990. "Current real business cycle theories and aggregate labor market fluctuations," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues 90, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  7. Newey, Whitney K & West, Kenneth D, 1987. "A Simple, Positive Semi-definite, Heteroskedasticity and Autocorrelation Consistent Covariance Matrix," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(3), pages 703-08, May.
  8. Craig Burnside & Martin Eichenbaum & Sergio Rebelo, 1990. "Labor Hoarding and the Business Cycle," NBER Working Papers 3556, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Chistiano, Lawrence J & den Haan, Wouter J, 1996. "Small-Sample Properties of GMM for Business-Cycle Analysis," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 14(3), pages 309-27, July.
  10. Edward C. Prescott, 1986. "Theory ahead of business cycle measurement," Staff Report 102, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  11. Andrews, Donald W K, 1991. "Heteroskedasticity and Autocorrelation Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(3), pages 817-58, May.
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  15. Matthew D. Shapiro, 1989. "Assessing the Federal Reserve's Measures of Capacity and Utilization," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 20(1), pages 181-242.
  16. King, R.G. & Rebelo, S.T., 1989. "Transitional Dynamics And Economic Growth In The Neoclassical Model," RCER Working Papers 206, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  17. King, R.G. & Rebelo, S.T., 1989. "Low Frequency Filtering And Real Business Cycles," RCER Working Papers 205, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  18. Jeremy Greenwood & Zvi Hercowitz & Per Krusell, 1992. "Macroeconomic implications of investment-specific technological change," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 76, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  19. Bils, Mark & Cho, Jang-Ok, 1994. "Cyclical factor utilization," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 319-354, April.
  20. Shapiro, Matthew D, 1993. "Cyclical Productivity and the Workweek of Capital," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(2), pages 229-33, May.
  21. Hansen, Lars Peter, 1982. "Large Sample Properties of Generalized Method of Moments Estimators," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 1029-54, July.
  22. Burnside, Craig & Eichenbaum, Martin S, 1996. "Small-Sample Properties of GMM-Based Wald Tests," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 14(3), pages 294-308, July.
  23. Greenwood, Jeremy & Hercowitz, Zvi & Huffman, Gregory W, 1988. "Investment, Capacity Utilization, and the Real Business Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(3), pages 402-17, June.
  24. Kydland, Finn E. & Prescott, Edward C., 1988. "The workweek of capital and its cyclical implications," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2-3), pages 343-360.
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