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A theory of business cycles

Author

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  • Roger E. A. Farmer

    (Department of Economics, University of California)

Abstract

This paper constructs a complete dynamic general equilibrium model of a macroeconomy that is similar in many respects to the IS/LM model that dominated the thinking of most macroeconomists for a generation. Unlike the IS/LM model all markets are modeled as in equilibrium at all points in time. Since the model is set in an overlapping generations structure in which there is incomplete participation in insurance markets, we are able to model business fluctuations that are driven by the self-fulfilling beliefs of investors. These fluctuations are Pareto inefficient since agents are risk averse and would prefer a non-stochastic allocation to an allocation that fluctuates. Our model is in contrast to the real business cycle approach that also uses a general equilibrium model but in which all fluctuations are Pareto efficient. Since the framework of our model is a complete intertemporal maximizing model we are able to explain why there may be a role for government in stabilizing business fluctuations.

Suggested Citation

  • Roger E. A. Farmer, 1996. "A theory of business cycles," Finnish Economic Papers, Finnish Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 91-109, Autumn.
  • Handle: RePEc:fep:journl:v:9:y:1996:i:2:p:91-109
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Mark Gertler & Simon Gilchrist, 1994. "Monetary Policy, Business Cycles, and the Behavior of Small Manufacturing Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(2), pages 309-340.
    2. Roger E. A. Farmer, 1991. "The Lucas Critique, Policy Invariance and Multiple Equilibria," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(2), pages 321-332.
    3. Christiano, Lawrence J & Eichenbaum, Martin, 1995. "Liquidity Effects, Monetary Policy, and the Business Cycle," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 27(4), pages 1113-1136, November.
    4. Russell Cooper & Andrew John, 1988. "Coordinating Coordination Failures in Keynesian Models," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 103(3), pages 441-463.
    5. Gali Jordi, 1994. "Monopolistic Competition, Business Cycles, and the Composition of Aggregate Demand," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 73-96, June.
    6. Russell Cooper & John Andrew, 1985. "Coordinating Coordination Failures in Keynesian Models," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 745R, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University, revised Jul 1985.
    7. Cass, David & Shell, Karl, 1983. "Do Sunspots Matter?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(2), pages 193-227, April.
    8. Farmer Roger E. A. & Guo Jang-Ting, 1994. "Real Business Cycles and the Animal Spirits Hypothesis," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 42-72, June.
    9. Cooper, Russell W. & Haltiwanger, John Jr., 1992. "Macroeconomic implications of production bunching : Factor demand linkages," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 107-127, October.
    10. Farmer, Roger E. A., 1992. "Nominal price stickiness as a rational expectations equilibrium," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 317-337, April.
    11. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1972. "Expectations and the neutrality of money," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 103-124, April.
    12. repec:ubc:bricol:93-34 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Robert E. Hall, 1986. "Market Structure and Macroeconomic Fluctuations," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 17(2), pages 285-338.
    14. Farmer, Roger E.A. & Woodford, Michael, 1997. "Self-Fulfilling Prophecies And The Business Cycle," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 1(04), pages 740-769, December.
    15. Duffy John, 1994. "On Learning and the Nonuniqueness of Equilibrium in an Overlapping Generations Model with Fiat Money," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 541-553, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:macchp:v2-1065 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. George-Marios Angeletos & Chen Lian, 2016. "Incomplete Information in Macroeconomics: Accommodating Frictions in Coordination," NBER Working Papers 22297, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • D51 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - Exchange and Production Economies

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