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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
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622869

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  1. Susanto Basu, 1995. "Procyclical Productivity: Increasing Returns or Cyclical Utilization?," NBER Working Papers 5336, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Craig Burnside & Martin Eichenbaum & Sergio Rebelo, 1995. "Capital Utilization and Returns to Scale," NBER Working Papers 5125, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Kim, Jinill, 2003. "Functional equivalence between intertemporal and multisectoral investment adjustment costs," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 533-549, February.
  4. Benhabib, Jess & Farmer, Roger E.A., 1991. "Indeterminacy and Increasing Returns," Working Papers 91-59, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  5. 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.
  6. Fisher, Jonas D. M., 1997. "Relative prices, complementarities and comovement among components of aggregate expenditures," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 449-474, August.
  7. Benhabib, Jess & Farmer, Roger E.A., 1996. "Indeterminacy and Sector-Specific Externalities," Working Papers 96-12, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  8. Gregory W. Huffman & Mark A. Wynne, 1995. "The role of intratemporal adjustment costs in a multi-sector economy," Working Papers 9508, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
  9. Basu, Susanto & Fernald, John G, 1997. "Returns to Scale in U.S. Production: Estimates and Implications," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(2), pages 249-83, April.
  10. Beaudry, Paul & Portier, Franck, 2004. "An exploration into Pigou's theory of cycles," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(6), pages 1183-1216, September.
  11. Christopher A. Sims, 1989. "Models and their uses," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 11, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  12. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1982. "Time to Build and Aggregate Fluctuations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1345-70, November.
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