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Common stochastic trends, common cycles, and asymmetry in economic fluctuations

  • Kim, Chang-Jin
  • Piger, Jeremy

We investigate the nature of asymmetries in U.S. business cycle dynamics using a dynamic two-factor model of output, investment, and consumption that incorporates both the common stochastic trend implied by neoclassical growth theory and a common transitory component. This framework allows for identification of both types of asymmetry commonly identified in the literature: 1. Shifts in the growth rate of the trend component and 2. Transitory deviations below trend, or "plucking". The model also lends itself easily to tests of the marginal significance of each type of asymmetry when the other is allowed to be present. Such tests suggest that both types of asymmetries have played a significant role in post-war recessions, although the nature of shifts in the growth rate of trend is different than the received literature suggests. We also allow for a one-time structural break in the long run growth rate of the common stochastic trend (a productivity slowdown) and in the magnitude of the asymmetry parameters. We find evidence of a productivity slowdown and an increase in the relative importance of shifts in the common stochastic trend vs. the "plucking" type of asymmetry. The evidence suggests a gradual structural break which begins in the mid 1960's and is complete by the end of 1973.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Monetary Economics.

Volume (Year): 49 (2002)
Issue (Month): 6 (September)
Pages: 1189-1211

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Handle: RePEc:eee:moneco:v:49:y:2002:i:6:p:1189-1211
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