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Understanding the Great Recession

Author

Listed:
  • Lawrence J. Christiano
  • Martin S. Eichenbaum
  • Mathias Trabandt

Abstract

We argue that the vast bulk of movements in aggregate real economic activity during the Great Recession were due to financial frictions. We reach this conclusion by looking through the lens of an estimated New Keynesian model in which firms face moderate degrees of price rigidities, no nominal rigidities in wages, and a binding zero lower bound constraint on the nominal interest rate. Our model does a good job of accounting for the joint behavior of labor and goods markets, as well as inflation, during the Great Recession. According to the model the observed fall in total factor productivity and the rise in the cost of working capital played critical roles in accounting for the small drop in inflation that occurred during the Great Recession. (JEL E12, E23, E24, E31, E32, E52)

Suggested Citation

  • Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin S. Eichenbaum & Mathias Trabandt, 2015. "Understanding the Great Recession," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(1), pages 110-167, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmac:v:7:y:2015:i:1:p:110-67 Note: DOI: 10.1257/mac.20140104
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Rubinstein, Ariel, 1982. "Perfect Equilibrium in a Bargaining Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 97-109, January.
    2. Saki Bigio, 2015. "Endogenous Liquidity and the Business Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 1883-1927.
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    4. Diamond, Peter A, 1982. "Aggregate Demand Management in Search Equilibrium," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(5), pages 881-894, October.
    5. Luigi Paciello, 2011. "Does Inflation Adjust Faster to Aggregate Technology Shocks than to Monetary Policy Shocks?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 43(8), pages 1663-1684, December.
    6. Christopher A. Sims & Tao Zha, 2005. "Were There Regime Switches in U.S. Monetary Policy?," Working Papers 92, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..
    7. Christiano, Lawrence & Trabandt, Mathias & Walentin, Karl, 2010. "Involuntary unemployment and the business cycle," Working Paper Series 1202, European Central Bank.
    8. David Altig & Lawrence Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Jesper Linde, 2011. "Firm-Specific Capital, Nominal Rigidities and the Business Cycle," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 14(2), pages 225-247, April.
    9. Ken Binmore & Ariel Rubinstein & Asher Wolinsky, 1986. "The Nash Bargaining Solution in Economic Modelling," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, pages 176-188.
    10. Christopher J. Erceg & Dale W. Henderson & Andrew T. Levin, 1999. "Optimal monetary policy with staggered wage and price contracts," International Finance Discussion Papers 640, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E12 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Keynes; Keynesian; Post-Keynesian
    • E23 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Production
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy

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