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What do we know (and not know) about potential output?

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  • Susanto Basu
  • John G. Fernald

Abstract

Potential output is an important concept in economics. Policymakers often use a one-sector neoclassical model to think about long-run growth, and they often assume that potential output is a smooth series in the short run -- approximated by a medium- or long-run estimate. But in both the short and the long run, the one-sector model falls short empirically, reflecting the importance of rapid technological change in producing investment goods; and few, if any, modern macroeconomic models would imply that, at business cycle frequencies, potential output is a smooth series. Discussing these points allows the authors to discuss a range of other issues that are less well understood and where further research could be valuable.

Suggested Citation

  • Susanto Basu & John G. Fernald, 2009. "What do we know (and not know) about potential output?," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jul, pages 187-214.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlrv:y:2009:i:jul:p:187-214:n:v.91no.4
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    Cited by:

    1. Mateusz Machaj, 2016. "Can the Taylor Rule be a Good Guidance for Policy? The Case of 2001-2008 Real Estate Bubble," Prague Economic Papers, University of Economics, Prague, vol. 2016(4), pages 381-395.
    2. Sala, Luca & Söderström, Ulf & Trigari, Antonella, 2010. "The Output Gap, the Labor Wedge, and the Dynamic Behavior of Hours," Working Paper Series 246, Sveriges Riksbank (Central Bank of Sweden).
    3. Takuji Fueki & Ichiro Fukunaga & Hibiki Ichiue & Toyoichiro Shirota, 2016. "Measuring Potential Growth with an Estimated DSGE Model of Japan’s Economy," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 12(1), pages 1-32, March.
    4. Borio, Claudio, 2014. "The financial cycle and macroeconomics: What have we learnt?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 182-198.
    5. Daniel L. Thornton, 2012. "How did we get to inflation targeting and where do we need to go to now? a perspective from the U.S. experience," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jan, pages 65-81.
    6. Daniel L. Thornton, 2009. "How did we get to inflation targeting and where do we go now? a perspective from the U.S. experience," Working Papers 2009-038, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    7. David Lancaster & Peter Tulip, 2015. "Okun's Law and Potential Output," RBA Research Discussion Papers rdp2015-14, Reserve Bank of Australia.
    8. John B. Taylor & Volker Wieland, 2012. "Surprising Comparative Properties of Monetary Models: Results from a New Model Database," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(3), pages 800-816, August.
    9. repec:sbe:breart:v:35:y:2015:i:2:a:57675 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. John G. Fernald, 2015. "Productivity and Potential Output before, during, and after the Great Recession," NBER Macroeconomics Annual, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(1), pages 1-51.
    11. Singh, B. Karan & Kanakaraj, A. & Sridevi, T.O., 2011. "Revisiting the empirical existence of the Phillips curve for India," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 247-258, June.
    12. Halmai, Péter, 2015. "Az európai növekedési potenciál eróziója és válsága
      [Erosion and crisis in European growth potential]
      ," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(4), pages 379-414.
    13. Gavin, William T. & Keen, Benjamin D. & Richter, Alexander W. & Throckmorton, Nathaniel A., 2015. "The zero lower bound, the dual mandate, and unconventional dynamics," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 14-38.
    14. Teles, Vladimir K. & Costa Junior, Celso Jose & Rosa, Rafael Mouallem, 2015. "Investment-Specific Technological Change and the Brazilian Macroeconomy," Brazilian Review of Econometrics, Sociedade Brasileira de Econometria - SBE, vol. 35(2), March.
    15. repec:prg:jnlpep:v:preprint:id:573:p:1-15 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Patnaik, Ila & Pundit, Madhavi, 2016. "Where is India's Growth Headed?," Working Papers 16/159, National Institute of Public Finance and Policy.

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