Productivity growth and the structure of the business cycle
Over recent years `opportunity cost' (OC) models of growth have been constructed which suggest that firms take advantage of the possibility of intertemporal subsitution in order to engage in productivity-improving activities during recessions. This paper tests whether this argument is correct, using a semi-structural vector autoregression to distinguish the trend from the cycle. The results are mildly supportive of the OC theory. Demand shocks tend to have a negative impact on productivity, both in the short and long run, and the short-run impact is stronger in those countries where fluctuations are more transitory. There is no evidence, however, of a significant R&D response to demand shocks.
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