IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/aea/aecrev/v96y2006i3p523-551.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Medium-Term Business Cycles

Author

Listed:
  • Diego Comin
  • Mark Gertler

Abstract

Over the postwar period, many industrialized countries have experienced significant medium-frequency oscillations between periods of robust growth versus relative stagnation. Conventional business cycle filters, however, tend to sweep these oscillations into the trend. In this paper we explore whether they may, instead, reflect a persistent response of economic activity to the high-frequency fluctuations normally associated with the cycle. We define as the medium-term cycle the sum of the highand medium-frequency variation in the data, and then show that these kinds of fluctuations are substantially more volatile and persistent than are the conventional measures. These fluctuations, further, feature significant procyclical movements in both embodied and disembodied technological change, and research and development (R&D), as well as the efficiency and intensity of resource utilization. We then develop a model of medium-term business cycles. A virtue of the framework is that, in addition to offering a unified approach to explaining the high- and mediumfrequency variation in the data, it fully endogenizes the movements in productivity that appear central to the persistence of these fluctuations. For comparison, we also explore how well an exogenous productivity model can explain the facts. (JEL E3, O3)

Suggested Citation

  • Diego Comin & Mark Gertler, 2006. "Medium-Term Business Cycles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 523-551, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:96:y:2006:i:3:p:523-551
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.96.3.523
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/aer.96.3.523
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/aer/data/june06_data_20030943.zip
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to AEA members and institutional subscribers.
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Frank Smets & Raf Wouters, 2005. "Comparing shocks and frictions in US and euro area business cycles: a Bayesian DSGE Approach," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(2), pages 161-183.
    2. Simon Gilchrist & John C. Williams, 2000. "Putty-Clay and Investment: A Business Cycle Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(5), pages 928-960, October.
    3. Francis, Neville & Ramey, Valerie A., 2005. "Is the technology-driven real business cycle hypothesis dead? Shocks and aggregate fluctuations revisited," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(8), pages 1379-1399, November.
    4. S. Rebelo., 2010. "Real Business Cycle Models: Past, Present, and Future," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 10.
    5. Comin, Diego & Mulani, Sunil, 2009. "A theory of growth and volatility at the aggregate and firm level," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(8), pages 1023-1042, November.
    6. Zvi Griliches, 1998. "Patent Statistics as Economic Indicators: A Survey," NBER Chapters, in: R&D and Productivity: The Econometric Evidence, pages 287-343, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Greenwood, Jeremy & Hercowitz, Zvi & Krusell, Per, 2000. "The role of investment-specific technological change in the business cycle," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 91-115, January.
    8. Pakes, Ariel & Schankerman, Mark A., 1978. "The Rate of Obsolescence of Knowledge, Research Gestation Labs, and the Private Rate of Return to Research Resources," Working Papers 78-13, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
    9. Diego Comin, 2004. "R&D: A Small Contribution to Productivity Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 9(4), pages 391-421, December.
    10. repec:ucp:bknber:9780226304557 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Jordi Galí & Mark Gertler & J. David López-Salido, 2007. "Markups, Gaps, and the Welfare Costs of Business Fluctuations," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(1), pages 44-59, November.
    12. Susanto Basu, 1996. "Procyclical Productivity: Increasing Returns or Cyclical Utilization?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(3), pages 719-751.
    13. Caballero, Ricardo J. & Hammour, Mohamad L., 1998. "Jobless growth: appropriability, factor substitution, and unemployment," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 51-94, June.
    14. Casey B. Mulligan, 2002. "A Century of Labor-Leisure Distortions," NBER Working Papers 8774, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Marianne Baxter & Robert G. King, 1999. "Measuring Business Cycles: Approximate Band-Pass Filters For Economic Time Series," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(4), pages 575-593, November.
    16. Philippe Aghion & Gilles Saint‐Paul, 1998. "Uncovering Some Causal Relationships Between Productivity Growth and the Structure of Economic Fluctuations: A Tentative Survey," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 12(2), pages 279-303, July.
    17. Aghion, Philippe & Howitt, Peter, 1992. "A Model of Growth through Creative Destruction," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(2), pages 323-351, March.
    18. Lawrence J. Christiano & Terry J. Fitzgerald, 2003. "The Band Pass Filter," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 44(2), pages 435-465, May.
    19. V. V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe & Ellen R. McGrattan, 2007. "Business Cycle Accounting," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(3), pages 781-836, May.
    20. 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 402-417, June.
    21. Craig Burnside & Martin Eichenbaum & Sergio Rebelo, 1995. "Capital Utilization and Returns to Scale," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1995, Volume 10, pages 67-124, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    22. Oliver J. Blanchard, 1997. "The Medium Run," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 28(2), pages 89-158.
    23. Jones, Charles I & Williams, John C, 2000. "Too Much of a Good Thing? The Economics of Investment in R&D," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 5(1), pages 65-85, March.
    24. Comin Diego A, 2006. "Using Investment Data to Assess the Importance of Price Mismeasurement," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 6(1), pages 1-42, April.
    25. Jason G. Cummins & Giovanni L. Violante, 2002. "Investment-Specific Technical Change in the US (1947-2000): Measurement and Macroeconomic Consequences," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 5(2), pages 243-284, April.
    26. Marianne Baxter & Dorsey Farr, 2001. "Variable Factor Utilization and International Business Cycles," NBER Working Papers 8392, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    27. Basu, Susanto & Fernald, John G, 1997. "Returns to Scale in U.S. Production: Estimates and Implications," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(2), pages 249-283, April.
    28. Evans, Geroge W & Honkapohja, Seppo & Romer, Paul, 1998. "Growth Cycles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 495-515, June.
    29. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Charles L. Evans, 2005. "Nominal Rigidities and the Dynamic Effects of a Shock to Monetary Policy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(1), pages 1-45, February.
    30. Bart Hobijn, 2001. "Is equipment price deflation a statistical artifact?," Staff Reports 139, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    31. Griliches, Zvi, 1988. "Productivity Puzzles and R&D: Another Nonexplanation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 2(4), pages 9-21, Fall.
    32. repec:adr:anecst:y:1995:i:37-38:p:10 is not listed on IDEAS
    33. Greenwood, Jeremy & Hercowitz, Zvi & Krusell, Per, 1997. "Long-Run Implications of Investment-Specific Technological Change," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 342-362, June.
    34. Jordi Gali & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 1995. "Endogenous Growth and Poverty Traps in a Cournotian Model," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 37-38, pages 197-213.
    35. Julio J. Rotemberg & Michael Woodford, 1993. "Dynamic General Equilibrium Models with Imperfectly Competitive Product Markets," NBER Working Papers 4502, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    36. Hall, Robert E, 1997. "Macroeconomic Fluctuations and the Allocation of Time," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages 223-250, January.
    37. Julio J. Rotemberg, 2003. "Stochastic Technical Progress, Smooth Trends, and Nearly Distinct Business Cycles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(5), pages 1543-1559, December.
    38. King, Robert G. & Rebelo, Sergio T., 1999. "Resuscitating real business cycles," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 14, pages 927-1007, Elsevier.
    39. Gadi Barlevy, 2004. "On the timing of innovation in stochastic Schumpeterian growth models," Working Paper Series WP-04-11, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    40. Robert J. Gordon, 1990. "The Measurement of Durable Goods Prices," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gord90-1, January-J.
    41. repec:fth:harver:1473 is not listed on IDEAS
    42. Mandfield, Edwin, 1989. "The diffusion of industrial robots in Japan and the United States," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 183-192, August.
    43. Diego Comin, 2004. "R&D: A Small Contribution to Productivity Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 9(4), pages 391-421, December.
    44. repec:adr:anecst:y:1995:i:37-38 is not listed on IDEAS
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Diego Comin & Mark Gertler, 2006. "Medium-Term Business Cycles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 523-551, June.
    2. Jordi Gali & Pau Rabanal, 2004. "Technology Shocks and Aggregate Fluctuations: How Well Does the RBS Model Fit Postwar U.S. Data?," NBER Working Papers 10636, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Justiniano, Alejandro & Primiceri, Giorgio E. & Tambalotti, Andrea, 2010. "Investment shocks and business cycles," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 132-145, March.
    4. Alejandro Justiniano & Giorgio Primiceri & Andrea Tambalotti, 2011. "Investment Shocks and the Relative Price of Investment," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 14(1), pages 101-121, January.
    5. Peter Ireland & Scott Schuh, 2008. "Productivity and U.S. Macroeconomic Performance: Interpreting the Past and Predicting the Future with a Two-Sector Real Business Cycle Model," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 11(3), pages 473-492, July.
    6. Martial Dupaigne, 2007. "Les variations choisies de l'utilisation du capital : une revue des implications macroéconomiques," Revue d'économie politique, Dalloz, vol. 117(2), pages 161-196.
    7. Zanetti, Francesco, 2008. "Labor and investment frictions in a real business cycle model," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 32(10), pages 3294-3314, October.
    8. Peter N. Ireland, 2009. "On the Welfare Cost of Inflation and the Recent Behavior of Money Demand," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(3), pages 1040-1052, June.
    9. Dedola, Luca & Neri, Stefano, 2007. "What does a technology shock do? A VAR analysis with model-based sign restrictions," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 512-549, March.
    10. Ríos-Rull, José-Víctor & Schorfheide, Frank & Fuentes-Albero, Cristina & Kryshko, Maxym & Santaeulàlia-Llopis, Raül, 2012. "Methods versus substance: Measuring the effects of technology shocks," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(8), pages 826-846.
    11. Susanto Basu & John G. Fernald, 2009. "What do we know (and not know) about potential output?," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, vol. 91(Jul), pages 187-214.
    12. Correa-López, Mónica & de Blas, Beatriz, 2021. "Faraway, so close! International transmission in the medium-term cycle of advanced economies," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 132(C).
    13. Alejandro Justiniano & Giorgio E. Primiceri, 2008. "The Time-Varying Volatility of Macroeconomic Fluctuations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 604-641, June.
    14. DiCecio, Riccardo, 2009. "Sticky wages and sectoral labor comovement," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 538-553, March.
    15. Fuentes-Albero, Cristina & Kryshko, Maxym & Ríos-Rull, José-Víctor & Santaeulàlia-Llopis, Raül & Schorfheide, Frank, 2009. "Methods versus Substance: Measuring the Effects of Technology Shocks on Hours," CEPR Discussion Papers 7474, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    16. Nikolaos Charalampidis, 2020. "The U.S. Labor Income Share And Automation Shocks," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 58(1), pages 294-318, January.
    17. Dongya Koh & Raül Santaeulàlia-Llopis, 2017. "Countercyclical Elasticity of Substitution," Working Papers 946, Barcelona School of Economics.
    18. Jordi Galí & Mark Gertler & J. David López-Salido, 2007. "Markups, Gaps, and the Welfare Costs of Business Fluctuations," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(1), pages 44-59, November.
    19. Zheng Liu, 2009. "Sources of the Great Moderation: Shocks, Frictions, or Monetary Policy?," 2009 Meeting Papers 379, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    20. Andrei Polbin & Sergey Drobyshevsky, 2014. "Developing a Dynamic Stochastic Model of General Equilibrium for the Russian Economy," Research Paper Series, Gaidar Institute for Economic Policy, issue 166P, pages 156-156.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E3 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles
    • O3 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:96:y:2006:i:3:p:523-551. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/aeaaaea.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Michael P. Albert (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/aeaaaea.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.