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The cost of business cycles and the benefits of stabilization

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  • Gadi Barlevy

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Gadi Barlevy, 2005. "The cost of business cycles and the benefits of stabilization," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Q I, pages 32-49.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedhep:y:2005:i:qi:p:32-49:n:v.29no.1
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Olivier Coibion & Yuriy Gorodnichenko & Johannes Wieland, 2012. "The Optimal Inflation Rate in New Keynesian Models: Should Central Banks Raise Their Inflation Targets in Light of the Zero Lower Bound?," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(4), pages 1371-1406.
    2. Philip Oreopoulos & Till von Wachter & Andrew Heisz, 2006. "The Short- and Long-Term Career Effects of Graduating in a Recession: Hysteresis and Heterogeneity in the Market for College Graduates," NBER Working Papers 12159, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Houssa, Romain, 2013. "Uncertainty about welfare effects of consumption fluctuations," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 35-62.
    4. Tarek A. Hassan & Thomas M. Mertens, 2017. "The Social Cost of Near-Rational Investment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(4), pages 1059-1103, April.
    5. Luca Agnello & Ricardo M. Sousa, 2009. "The Determinants of Public Deficit Volatility," NIPE Working Papers 11/2009, NIPE - Universidade do Minho.
    6. D'Orlando, Fabio & Ferrante, Francesco, 2015. "The benefits of stabilization policies revisited," MPRA Paper 67321, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Juan Carlos Cordoba & Genevieve Verdier, 2005. "Lucas vs. Lucas: On Inequality and Growth," Macroeconomics 0511021, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Córdoba, Juan Carlos & Verdier, Geneviève, 2008. "Inequality and growth: Some welfare calculations," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 1812-1829, June.
    9. Fischer, Carolyn & Springborn, Michael, 2011. "Emissions targets and the real business cycle: Intensity targets versus caps or taxes," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 62(3), pages 352-366.
    10. Philip Jung & Keith Kuester, 2008. "The (un)importance of unemployment fluctuations for welfare," Working Papers 08-31, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, revised 29 Apr 2009.
    11. Ravi Bansal & Marcelo Ochoa, 2011. "Welfare Costs of Long-Run Temperature Shifts," NBER Working Papers 17574, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Jung, Philip & Kuester, Keith, 2011. "The (un)importance of unemployment fluctuations for the welfare cost of business cycles," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 35(10), pages 1744-1768, October.
    13. David Wilcox, 2005. "Discussion of 'What Caused the Decline in US Business Cycle Volatility?'," RBA Annual Conference Volume,in: Christopher Kent & David Norman (ed.), The Changing Nature of the Business Cycle Reserve Bank of Australia.
    14. Adam Elbourne & Debby Lanser & Bert Smid & Martin Vromans, 2008. "Macroeconomic resilience in a DSGE model," CPB Discussion Paper 96, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
    15. Thomas Beissinger, 2006. "Neue Anforderungen an eine gesamtwirtschaftliche Stabilisierung," Diskussionspapiere aus dem Institut für Volkswirtschaftslehre der Universität Hohenheim 277/2006, Department of Economics, University of Hohenheim, Germany.

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