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What Ends Recessions?

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  • Christina D. Romer
  • David H. Romer

Abstract

This paper analyzes the contributions of monetary and fiscal policy to postwar economic recoveries. We find that the Federal Reserve typically responds to downturns with prompt and large reductions in interest rates. Discretionary fiscal policy, in contrast, rarely reacts before the trough in economic activity, and even then the responses are usually small. Simulations using multipliers from both simple regressions and a large macroeconomic model show that the interest rate falls account for nearly all of the above-average growth that occurs early in recoveries. Our estimates also indicate that on several occasions expansionary policies have contributed substantially to above-normal growth outside of recoveries. Finally, the results suggest that the persistence of aggregate output movements is largely the result of the extreme persistence of the contribution of policy changes.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4765.

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Date of creation: Dec 1994
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Publication status: published as Christina D. Romer, David H. Romer. "What Ends Recessions?," in Stanley Fischer and Julio J. Rotemberg, eds., "NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1994, Volume 9" MIT Press (1994)
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4765

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  1. Olivier Jean Blanchard & Danny Quah, 1990. "The Dynamic Effects of Aggregate Demand and Supply Disturbances," NBER Working Papers 2737, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Christina D. Romer & David H. Romer, 1990. "Does Monetary Policy Matter? A New Test in the Spirit of Friedman and Schwartz," NBER Working Papers 2966, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Sichel, Daniel E, 1994. "Inventories and the Three Phases of the Business Cycle," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 12(3), pages 269-77, July.
  4. J. Bradford De Long & Lawrence H. Summers, 1987. "Is Increased Price Flexibility Stabilizing?," NBER Working Papers 1686, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Gordon, David B & Leeper, Eric M, 1994. "The Dynamic Impacts of Monetary Policy: An Exercise in Tentative Identification," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(6), pages 1228-47, December.
  6. Christina D. Romer & David H. Romer, 1993. "Credit channel or credit actions? an interpretation of the postwar transmission mechanism," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 71-149.
  7. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum, 1989. "Unit Roots in Real GNP: Do We Know, and Do We Care?," NBER Working Papers 3130, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Goldfeld, Stephen M. & Sichel, Daniel E., 1990. "The demand for money," Handbook of Monetary Economics, in: B. M. Friedman & F. H. Hahn (ed.), Handbook of Monetary Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 8, pages 299-356 Elsevier.
  9. Ben S. Bernanke & Alan S. Blinder, 1989. "The federal funds rate and the channels of monetary transmission," Working Papers 89-10, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  10. Campbell, John & Mankiw, Gregory, 1987. "Are Output Fluctuations Transitory?," Scholarly Articles 3122545, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  11. Nelson, Charles R. & Plosser, Charles I., 1982. "Trends and random walks in macroeconmic time series : Some evidence and implications," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 139-162.
  12. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum, 1991. "Identification and the Liquidity Effect of a Monetary Policy Shock," NBER Working Papers 3920, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Sargent, Thomas J, 1976. "The Observational Equivalence of Natural and Unnatural Rate Theories of Macroeconomics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(3), pages 631-40, June.
  14. Beaudry, Paul & Koop, Gary, 1993. "Do recessions permanently change output?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 149-163, April.
  15. Cochrane, John H, 1994. "Permanent and Transitory Components of GNP and Stock Prices," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(1), pages 241-65, February.
  16. Sims, Christopher A, 1972. "Money, Income, and Causality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(4), pages 540-52, September.
  17. George L. Perry & Charles L. Schultze, 1993. "Was This Recession Different? Are They All Different?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 24(1), pages 145-212.
  18. Romer, Christina D. & Romer, David H., 1994. "Monetary policy matters," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 75-88, August.
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  1. What ends recessions? Monetary or fiscal policy?
    by Amol Agrawal in Mostly Economics on 2009-01-30 08:43:23
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