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Getting normalization right: Dealing with ‘dimensional constants’ in macroeconomics

We contribute to a recent literature on the normalization, calibration and estimation of CES production functions. The problem arises because CES ‘share’ parameters are not in fact shares, but depend on underlying dimensions—in other words they are ‘dimensional constants’. It follows that such parameters can neither be calibrated nor be estimated unless the choice of units is made explicit. We use an RBC model to demonstrate two equivalent solutions. The standard one expresses the production function in deviation form about some reference point, usually the steady state of the model. Our alternative, ‘re-parameterization’, expresses dimensional constants in terms of a new dimensionless (share) parameter and all remaining dimensionless ones. We show that our ‘re-parameterization’ method is equivalent and arguably more straightforward than the standard normalization in deviation form. We then examine a similar problem of dimensional constants for CES utility functions in a two-sector model and in a small open economy model; then re-parameterization is the only solution to the problem, showing that our approach is in fact more general.

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

Volume (Year): 36 (2012)
Issue (Month): 12 ()
Pages: 1931-1949

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Handle: RePEc:eee:dyncon:v:36:y:2012:i:12:p:1931-1949
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jedc

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  2. Diamond, Peter & McFadden, Daniel & Rodriguez, Miguel, 1978. "Measurement of the Elasticity of Factor Substitution and Bias of Technical Change," Histoy of Economic Thought Chapters, in: Fuss, Melvyn & McFadden, Daniel (ed.), Production Economics: A Dual Approach to Theory and Applications, volume 2, chapter 5 McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought.
  3. Guo, Jang-Ting & Lansing, Kevin J., 2009. "Capital-labor substitution and equilibrium indeterminacy," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 33(12), pages 1991-2000, December.
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  10. Vasco Gabriel & Paul Levine & Joseph Pearlman & Bo Yang, 2010. "An Estimated DSGE Model of the Indian Economy," School of Economics Discussion Papers 1210, School of Economics, University of Surrey.
  11. Miguel A. Leon-Ledesma & Mathan Satchi, 2010. "A Note on Balanced Growth with a less than unitary Elasticity of Substitution," Studies in Economics 1007, School of Economics, University of Kent.
  12. Oliver J. Blanchard, 1997. "The Medium Run," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 28(2), pages 89-158.
  13. McAdam, Peter & Willman, Alpo, 2013. "Medium Run Redux," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 17(04), pages 695-727, June.
  14. Olivier de La Grandville & Rainer Klump, 2000. "Economic Growth and the Elasticity of Substitution: Two Theorems and Some Suggestions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 282-291, March.
  15. Andrea Ferrero & Mark Gertler & Lars E. O. Svensson, 2008. "Current account dynamics and monetary policy," Working Paper Series 2008-26, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  16. Charles I. Jones, 2005. "The Shape of Production Functions and the Direction of Technical Change," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(2), pages 517-549.
  17. Charles I. Jones, 2003. "Growth, capital shares, and a new perspective on production functions," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Nov.
  18. Miguel A. Leon-Ledesma & Mathan Satchi, 2011. "The Choice of CES Production Techniques and Balanced Growth," Studies in Economics 1113, School of Economics, University of Kent.
  19. Chirinko, Robert S., 2008. "[sigma]: The long and short of it," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 671-686, June.
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