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The cost of business cycles and the benefits of stabilization

Listed author(s):
  • Gadi Barlevy

This article reviews the social cost of U.S. postwar business cycle fluctuations, first calculated by Lucas (1987). Recent work suggests this cost is considerably larger than suggested by Lucas. Despite this, the author argues that it is not obvious that policymakers should have pursued a more aggressive stabilization policy over the postwar period. Still, because volatility is costly, stable growth remains a desirable goal.

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File URL: http://www.chicagofed.org/digital_assets/publications/economic_perspectives/2005/ep_1qtr2005_part3_barlevy.pdf
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Article provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in its journal Economic Perspectives.

Volume (Year): (2005)
Issue (Month): Q I ()
Pages: 32-49

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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedhep:y:2005:i:qi:p:32-49:n:v.29no.1
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  3. Maurice Obstfeld, 1995. "Evaluating Risky Consumption Paths: The Role of Intertemporal Substitutability," NBER Technical Working Papers 0120, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  5. Andrew Atkeson & Christopher Phelan, 1994. "Reconsidering the Costs of Business Cycles with Incomplete Markets," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1994, Volume 9, pages 187-218 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  7. Christopher Otrok, 2000. "On Measuring the Welfare Cost of Business Cycles," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1094, Econometric Society.
  8. John Y. Campbell & John H. Cochrane, 1994. "By force of habit: a consumption-based explanation of aggregate stock market behavior," Working Papers 94-17, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  9. Gadi Barlevy, 2003. "The Cost of Business Cycles Under Endogenous Growth," NBER Working Papers 9970, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Wolfers, Justin, 2003. "Is Business Cycle Volatility Costly? Evidence from Surveys of Subjective Well-Being," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(1), pages 1-26, Spring.
  11. J. Bradford De Long & Lawrence H. Summers, "undated". "How Does Macroeconomic Policy Matter?," J. Bradford De Long's Working Papers _130, University of California at Berkeley, Economics Department.
  12. Alvarez, F. & Jermann, U.J., 2000. "Using Asset Prices to Measure the Cost of Business Cycles," Weiss Center Working Papers 00-1, Wharton School - Weiss Center for International Financial Research.
  13. Janet L. Yellen & George A. Akerlof, 2006. "Stabilization Policy: A Reconsideration," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 44(1), pages 1-22, January.
  14. Shleifer, Andrei, 1986. "Implementation Cycles," Scholarly Articles 3451303, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  15. Stephane Pallage & Michel A. Robe, 2002. "The States vs. the states: On the Welfare Cost of Business Cycles in the U.S," Cahiers de recherche du Département des sciences économiques, UQAM 20-17, Université du Québec à Montréal, Département des sciences économiques, revised Oct 2002.
  16. Per Krusell & Toshihiko Mukoyama & Aysegul Sahin & Anthony A. Smith, Jr., 2008. "Appendices for "Revisiting the Welfare Effects of Eliminating Business Cycles"," Technical Appendices 08-211, Review of Economic Dynamics.
  17. Boyan Jovanovic, 2006. "Asymmetric Cycles," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(1), pages 145-162.
  18. Turnovsky, Stephen J. & Bianconi, Marcelo, 2005. "Welfare Gains From Stabilization In A Stochastically Growing Economy With Idiosyncratic Shocks And Flexible Labor Supply," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 9(03), pages 321-357, June.
  19. Thomas Tallarini, "undated". "Risk-Sensitive Real Business Cycles," GSIA Working Papers 1997-35, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
  20. Imrohoruglu, Ayse, 1989. "Cost of Business Cycles with Indivisibilities and Liquidity Constraints," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1364-1383, December.
  21. Robert E. Lucas Jr., 2003. "Macroeconomic Priorities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 1-14, March.
  22. Storesletten, Kjetil & Telmer, Chris I. & Yaron, Amir, 2001. "The welfare cost of business cycles revisited: Finite lives and cyclical variation in idiosyncratic risk," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(7), pages 1311-1339.
  23. Jim Dolmas, 1998. "Risk Preferences and the Welfare Cost of Business Cycles," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 1(3), pages 646-676, July.
  24. Epstein, Larry G & Zin, Stanley E, 1991. "Substitution, Risk Aversion, and the Temporal Behavior of Consumption and Asset Returns: An Empirical Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(2), pages 263-286, April.
  25. Beaudry, Paul & Pages, Carmen, 2001. "The cost of business cycles and the stabilization value of unemployment insurance," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(8), pages 1545-1572, August.
  26. Tom Krebs, 2003. "Growth and Welfare Effects of Business Cycles in Economies with Idiosyncratic Human Capital Risk," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 6(4), pages 846-868, October.
  27. Satyajit Chatterjee & Dean Corbae, 2000. "On the welfare gains of reducing the likelihood of economic crises," Working Papers 00-14, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  28. Pemberton, James, 1996. "Growth trends, cyclical fluctuations, and welfare with non-expected utility preferences," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 387-392, March.
  29. Anne Epaulard & Aude Pommeret, 2003. "Recursive Utility, Endogenous Growth, and the Welfare Cost of Volatility," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 6(3), pages 672-684, July.
  30. Garey Ramey & Valerie A. Ramey, 1991. "Technology Commitment and the Cost of Economic Fluctuations," NBER Working Papers 3755, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  31. Darrel Cohen, 2000. "A quantitative defense of stabilization policy," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2000-34, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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