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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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  1. 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.
  2. Portier Franck & Puch Luis A., 2007. "The Welfare Cost of Business Cycles in an Economy with Nonclearing Markets," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 6(3), pages 1-16, January.
  3. Rafael Di Tella & Robert J. MacCulloch & Andrew J. Oswald, 2003. "The Macroeconomics of Happiness," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(4), pages 809-827, November.
  4. Jordi Galí & Mark Gertler & J. David López-Salido, 2007. "Markups, Gaps, and the Welfare Costs of Business Fluctuations," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(1), pages 44-59, November.
  5. 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.
  6. TallariniJr., Thomas D., 2000. "Risk-sensitive real business cycles," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 507-532, June.
  7. Fernando Alvarez & Urban J. Jermann, 2004. "Using Asset Prices to Measure the Cost of Business Cycles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(6), pages 1223-1256, December.
  8. 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.
  9. Obstfeld, Maurice, 1994. "Evaluating risky consumption paths: The role of intertemporal substitutability," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(7), pages 1471-1486, August.
  10. Boyan Jovanovic, 2006. "Asymmetric Cycles," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(1), pages 145-162.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Otrok, Christopher, 2001. "On measuring the welfare cost of business cycles," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 61-92, February.
  14. Gadi Barlevy, 2004. "The Cost of Business Cycles Under Endogenous Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 964-990, September.
  15. 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.
  16. Shleifer, Andrei, 1986. "Implementation Cycles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(6), pages 1163-1190, December.
  17. 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.
  18. repec:fth:harver:1418 is not listed on IDEAS
  19. 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.
  20. Satyajit Chatterjee & Dean Corbae, 2000. "On the welfare gains of reducing the likelihood of economic crises," Working Paper 0015, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  21. Per Krusell & Toshihiko Mukoyama & Aysegul Sahin & Anthony A. Smith, Jr., 2009. "Revisiting the Welfare Effects of Eliminating Business Cycles," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 12(3), pages 393-402, July.
  22. 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.
  23. Janet L. Yellen & George A. Akerlof, 2006. "Stabilization Policy: A Reconsideration," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 44(1), pages 1-22, January.
  24. Pemberton, James, 1996. "Growth trends, cyclical fluctuations, and welfare with non-expected utility preferences," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 387-392, March.
  25. 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.
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. Robert E. Lucas Jr., 2003. "Macroeconomic Priorities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 1-14, March.
  29. 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.
  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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