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The effects of permanent technology shocks on hours: Can the RBC-model fit the VAR evidence?

  • Lindé, Jesper

I show that a standard RBC-model can be used to explain why hours per capita decrease in response to a permanent technology shock when hours enter a vector autoregressive (VAR) in first differences and why hours increase when hours enter in levels. There are two parts to my argument. First, empirical evidence suggests that a positive permanent technology shock goes together with a persistent increase in the expected growth rate and the RBC-model predicts this increase in the expected growth rate to have a downward effect on hours worked (and can even result in a sizeable negative response of hours). Second, first-differencing hours in VARs results in a considerable downward bias. Using the estimated parameters for the technology process, I find (i) that the true model response of hours is positive and (ii) that when the VAR methodology is used with finite samples of simulated data then the hours' response is negative (positive) when hours enter the VAR in first differences (levels).

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control.

Volume (Year): 33 (2009)
Issue (Month): 3 (March)
Pages: 597-613

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Handle: RePEc:eee:dyncon:v:33:y:2009:i:3:p:597-613
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jedc

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  1. 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.
  2. Hairault, Jean-Olivier & Langot, Francois & Portier, Franck, 1997. "Time to implement and aggregate fluctuations," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 109-121, November.
  3. Susanto Basu & John Fernald & Miles Kimball, 2004. "Are technology improvements contractionary?," Working Paper Series WP-04-20, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  4. Beaudry, Paul & Portier, Franck, 2007. "When can changes in expectations cause business cycle fluctuations in neo-classical settings?," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 135(1), pages 458-477, July.
  5. Gary Hansen, 2010. "Indivisible Labor and the Business Cycle," Levine's Working Paper Archive 233, David K. Levine.
  6. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Robert J. Vigfusson, 2003. "The response of hours to a technology shock: evidence based on direct measures of technology," International Finance Discussion Papers 790, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  7. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Robert Vigfusson, 2006. "Assessing structural VARs," International Finance Discussion Papers 866, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    • Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Robert Vigfusson, 2007. "Assessing Structural VARs," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2006, Volume 21, pages 1-106 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. 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.).
  9. Beaudry, Paul & Portier, Franck, 2001. "An Exploration into Pigou's Theory of Cycles," CEPR Discussion Papers 2996, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Hansen, Bruce E., 1995. "Rethinking the Univariate Approach to Unit Root Testing: Using Covariates to Increase Power," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(05), pages 1148-1171, October.
  11. Christopher Erceg & Luca Guerrieri & Christopher Gust, 2004. "Can long-run restrictions identify technology shocks?," International Finance Discussion Papers 792, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  12. 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.
  13. Harald Uhlig, 2004. "Do Technology Shocks Lead to a Fall in Total Hours Worked?," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(2-3), pages 361-371, 04/05.
  14. Jonas D. M. Fisher, 2006. "The Dynamic Effects of Neutral and Investment-Specific Technology Shocks," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(3), pages 413-451, June.
  15. Lawrence J. Christiano & Richard M. Todd, 1996. "Time to plan and aggregate fluctuations," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Win, pages 14-27.
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