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The cost of business cycles and the benefits of stabilization

  • 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. Imrohoruglu, Ayse, 1989. "Cost of Business Cycles with Indivisibilities and Liquidity Constraints," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1364-83, December.
  2. Andrew Atkeson & Christopher Phelan, 1994. "Reconsidering the Costs of Business Cycles with Incomplete Markets," NBER Working Papers 4719, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Alvarez, Fernando & Jermann, Urban J., 2000. "Using Asset Prices to Measure the Cost of Business Cycles," Working Papers 00-1, University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School, Weiss Center.
  4. Galí, Jordi & Gertler, Mark & Lopez-Salido, Jose David, 2002. "Markups, Gaps and the Welfare Costs of Business Fluctuations," CEPR Discussion Papers 3212, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  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. Obstfeld, Maurice, 1994. "Evaluating risky consumption paths: The role of intertemporal substitutability," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(7), pages 1471-1486, August.
  7. 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.
  8. Shleifer, Andrei, 1986. "Implementation Cycles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(6), pages 1163-90, December.
  9. 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.
  10. Janet L. Yellen, 2004. "Stabilization policy: a reconsideration," Speech 1, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  11. Di Tella, Rafael & MacCulloch, Robert J. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2001. "The Macroeconomics of Happiness," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 615, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Gadi Barlevy, 2003. "The cost of business cycles under endogenous growth," Working Paper Series WP-03-13, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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 263-86, April.
  18. Aude Pommeret & Anne Epaulard, 2001. "Recursive Utility, Endogenous Growth, and the Welfare Cost of Volatility," IMF Working Papers 01/5, International Monetary Fund.
  19. Kjetil Storesletten & Chris I. Telmer & Amir Yaron, 2000. "The Welfare Cost of Business Cycles Revisited: Finite Lives and Cyclical Variation in Idiosyncratic Risk," NBER Working Papers 8040, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Otrok, Christopher, 2001. "On measuring the welfare cost of business cycles," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 61-92, February.
  21. TallariniJr., Thomas D., 2000. "Risk-sensitive real business cycles," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 507-532, June.
  22. 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.
  23. Cochrane, John H. & Campbell, John, 1999. "By Force of Habit: A Consumption-Based Explanation of Aggregate Stock Market Behavior," Scholarly Articles 3119444, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  24. Boyan Jovanovic, 2004. "Asymmetric Cycles," NBER Working Papers 10573, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. Robert E. Lucas Jr., 2003. "Macroeconomic Priorities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 1-14, March.
  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. Garey Ramey & Valerie A. Ramey, 1991. "Technology Commitment and the Cost of Economic Fluctuations," NBER Working Papers 3755, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  28. 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.).
  29. J. Bradford De Long & Lawrence H. Summers, . "How Does Macroeconomic Policy Matter?," J. Bradford De Long's Working Papers _130, University of California at Berkeley, Economics Department.
  30. repec:fth:harver:1418 is not listed on IDEAS
  31. Pemberton, James, 1996. "Growth trends, cyclical fluctuations, and welfare with non-expected utility preferences," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 387-392, March.
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