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When can changes in expectations cause business cycle fluctuations in neo-classical settings?

  • Beaudry, Paul
  • Portier, Franck

It is often argued that changes in expectation are an important driving force of the business cycle. It is well known, however, that changes in expectations cannot generate positive co-movement between consumption, investment and employment in the most standard neo-classical business cycle models. This gives rise to the question of whether changes in expectation can cause business cycle fluctuations in any neo-classical setting or whether such a phenomenon is inherently related to market imperfections. This Paper offers a systematic exploration of this issue. Our finding is that expectation driven business cycle fluctuations can arise in neo-classical models when one allows for a sufficiently rich description of the inter-sectorial production technology; however, such a structure is rarely allowed or explored in macro-models. In particular, the key characteristic which we isolate as giving rise to the possibility of expectation driven business cycles is that intermediate good producers exhibit cost complementarities (i.e., economies of scope) when supplying goods to different sectors of the economy.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Theory.

Volume (Year): 135 (2007)
Issue (Month): 1 (July)
Pages: 458-477

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jetheo:v:135:y:2007:i:1:p:458-477
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  1. Valles, Javier, 1997. "Aggregate investment in a business cycle model with adjustment costs," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 21(7), pages 1181-1198, June.
  2. Huffman, Gregory W. & Wynne, Mark A., 1999. "The role of intratemporal adjustment costs in a multisector economy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 317-350, April.
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