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Output gaps

  • Kiley, Michael T.

What is the output gap? I discuss three alternative definitions: the deviation of output from its long-run stochastic trend (i.e., the “Beveridge–Nelson cycle”); the deviation of output from the level consistent with current technologies and normal utilization of capital and labor input (i.e., the “production-function approach”); and the deviation of output from “flexible-price” output (i.e., its “natural rate”). Estimates of each concept are presented from a dynamic–stochastic–general-equilibrium (DSGE) model of the U.S. economy used at the Federal Reserve Board. Four points are emphasized: The DSGE model’s estimate of the gap (for each definition) is very similar to gaps from policy institutions, but the model’s estimate of potential growth has a higher variance and substantially different covariance with GDP growth; the change in the Beveridge–Nelson trend covaries negatively with the change in the gap in the DSGE model, providing a structural model estimate of a controversial parameter; in this model, estimates of the natural-rate concept are similar to those based on the Beveridge–Nelson and production function approaches; and the estimate of the output gap, irrespective of definition, is closely related to unemployment fluctuations.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Macroeconomics.

Volume (Year): 37 (2013)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 1-18

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jmacro:v:37:y:2013:i:c:p:1-18
DOI: 10.1016/j.jmacro.2013.04.002
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622617

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