IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

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

Listed author(s):
  • Susanto Basu
  • John G. Fernald

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.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: https://files.stlouisfed.org/files/htdocs/publications/review/09/07/Basu.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Article provided by Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis in its journal Review.

Volume (Year): (2009)
Issue (Month): Jul ()
Pages: 187-214

as
in new window

Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlrv:y:2009:i:jul:p:187-214:n:v.91no.4
Contact details of provider: Postal:
P.O. Box 442, St. Louis, MO 63166

Fax: (314)444-8753
Web page: http://www.stlouisfed.org/

More information through EDIRC

Order Information: Web: https://files.stlouisfed.org/files/htdocs/publications/ Email:


References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as
in new window


  1. Dale W. Jorgenson & Mun S. Ho & Kevin J. Stiroh, 2008. "A Retrospective Look at the U.S. Productivity Growth Resurgence," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(1), pages 3-24, Winter.
  2. Mulligan Casey B, 2001. "Aggregate Implications of Indivisible Labor," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 1(1), pages 1-35, April.
  3. Miles S. Kimball & John G. Fernald & Susanto Basu, 2006. "Are Technology Improvements Contractionary?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1418-1448, December.
  4. Hansen, Gary D., 1985. "Indivisible labor and the business cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 309-327, November.
  5. repec:ucp:bknber:9780226304557 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Abraham, Katharine G & Katz, Lawrence F, 1986. "Cyclical Unemployment: Sectoral Shifts or Aggregate Disturbances?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(3), pages 507-522, June.
  7. Stephen D. Oliner & Daniel E. Sichel, 2000. "The Resurgence of Growth in the Late 1990s: Is Information Technology the Story?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(4), pages 3-22, Fall.
  8. 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.
  9. Bodenstein, Martin & Erceg, Christopher J. & Guerrieri, Luca, 2008. "Optimal monetary policy with distinct core and headline inflation rates," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(Supplemen), pages 18-33, October.
  10. Robert M. Solow, 1956. "A Contribution to the Theory of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(1), pages 65-94.
  11. Robert J. Gordon, 2000. "Does the "New Economy" Measure Up to the Great Inventions of the Past?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(4), pages 49-74, Fall.
  12. Jonas D. M. Fisher, 2006. "The Dynamic Effects of Neutral and Investment-Specific Technology Shocks," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(3), pages 413-451, June.
  13. Basu, Susanto & Fernald, John G., 2002. "Aggregate productivity and aggregate technology," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(6), pages 963-991, June.
  14. Julio J. Rotemberg, 2002. "Stochastic Technical Progress, Nearly Smooth Trends and Distinct Business Cycles," NBER Working Papers 8919, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Nicholas Bloom, 2009. "The Impact of Uncertainty Shocks," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(3), pages 623-685, 05.
  16. Susanto Basu & John G. Fernald & Nicholas Oulton & Sylaja Srinivasan, 2003. "The case of the missing productivity growth: or, does information technology explain why productivity accelerated in the United States but not the United Kingdom?," Working Paper Series WP-03-08, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  17. Charles I. Jones, 2002. "Sources of U.S. Economic Growth in a World of Ideas," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 220-239, March.
  18. Rogerson, Richard, 1988. "Indivisible labor, lotteries and equilibrium," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 3-16, January.
  19. Jason G. Cummins & Giovanni L. Violante, 2002. "Investment-Specific Technical Change in the US (1947-2000): Measurement and Macroeconomic Consequences," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 5(2), pages 243-284, April.
  20. David Card, 1990. "Intertemporal Labor Supply: An Assessment," Working Papers 649, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  21. Charles I. Jones, 2008. "Intermediate Goods, Weak Links, and Superstars: A Theory of Economic Development," NBER Working Papers 13834, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Whelan, Karl, 2003. " A Two-Sector Approach to Modeling U.S. NIPA Data," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 35(4), pages 627-656, August.
  23. Gadi Barlevy, 2004. "The Cost of Business Cycles Under Endogenous Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 964-990, September.
  24. Solow, Robert M, 1997. "Is There a Core of Usable Macroeconomics We Should All Believe In?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 230-232, May.
  25. Basu, Susanto & Fernald, John G. & Shapiro, Matthew D., 2001. "Productivity growth in the 1990s: technology, utilization, or adjustment?," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 117-165, December.
  26. Dale W. Jorgenson, 2001. "Information Technology and the U.S. Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 1-32, March.
  27. Michelle Alexopoulos, 2011. "Read All about It!! What Happens Following a Technology Shock?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(4), pages 1144-1179, June.
  28. Lawrence J. Christiano & Terry J. Fitzgerald, 2003. "The Band Pass Filter," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 44(2), pages 435-465, 05.
  29. Paul Beaudry & Mark Doms & Ethan Lewis, 2006. "Endogenous Skill Bias in Technology Adoption: City-Level Evidence from the IT Revolution," NBER Working Papers 12521, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  30. Olivier J. Blanchard & Jordi Galí, 2007. "The Macroeconomic Effects of Oil Price Shocks: Why are the 2000s so different from the 1970s?," NBER Chapters,in: International Dimensions of Monetary Policy, pages 373-421 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  31. Thomas Laubach & John C. Williams, 2003. "Measuring the Natural Rate of Interest," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(4), pages 1063-1070, November.
  32. Oliner, Stephen D. & Sichel, Daniel E., 2003. "Information technology and productivity: where are we now and where are we going?," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 25(5), pages 477-503, July.
  33. Robert G. Valletta & Aisling Cleary, 2008. "Sectoral reallocation and unemployment," FRBSF Economic Letter, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue oct17.
  34. Robert E. Lucas Jr., 2003. "Macroeconomic Priorities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 1-14, March.
  35. Calvo, Guillermo A., 1983. "Staggered prices in a utility-maximizing framework," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 383-398, September.
  36. King, Robert G. & Plosser, Charles I. & Rebelo, Sergio T., 1988. "Production, growth and business cycles : I. The basic neoclassical model," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2-3), pages 195-232.
  37. Kuttner, Kenneth N, 1994. "Estimating Potential Output as a Latent Variable," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 12(3), pages 361-368, July.
  38. Olivier J. Blanchard & Jordi Gali, 2007. "The Macroeconomic Effects of Oil Shocks: Why are the 2000s So Different from the 1970s?," NBER Working Papers 13368, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  39. Frank Smets & Rafael Wouters, 2007. "Shocks and Frictions in US Business Cycles: A Bayesian DSGE Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 586-606, June.
  40. Lilien, David M, 1982. "Sectoral Shifts and Cyclical Unemployment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(4), pages 777-793, August.
  41. Karl Whelan, 1999. "Real wage dynamics and the Phillips Curve," Open Access publications 10197/250, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
  42. Basu, Susanto & Fernald, John G, 1997. "Returns to Scale in U.S. Production: Estimates and Implications," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(2), pages 249-283, April.
  43. Greenwood, Jeremy & Hercowitz, Zvi & Krusell, Per, 1997. "Long-Run Implications of Investment-Specific Technological Change," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 342-362, June.
  44. Jeffrey R. Campbell & Zvi Hercowitz, 2005. "The Role of Collateralized Household Debt in Macroeconomic Stabilization," NBER Working Papers 11330, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  45. John G. Fernald, 2012. "A quarterly, utilization-adjusted series on total factor productivity," Working Paper Series 2012-19, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  46. Eisfeldt, Andrea L. & Rampini, Adriano A., 2006. "Capital reallocation and liquidity," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 369-399, April.
  47. Edge, Rochelle M. & Kiley, Michael T. & Laforte, Jean-Philippe, 2008. "Natural rate measures in an estimated DSGE model of the U.S. economy," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 32(8), pages 2512-2535, August.
  48. Lucas, Robert Jr, 1976. "Econometric policy evaluation: A critique," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 19-46, January.
  49. Katharine Neiss & Edward Nelson, 2002. "Inflation dynamics, marginal cost, and the output gap: evidence from three countries," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Mar.
  50. Gadi Barlevy, 2004. "On the timing of innovation in stochastic Schumpeterian growth models," Working Paper Series WP-04-11, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  51. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1977. "Rules Rather Than Discretion: The Inconsistency of Optimal Plans," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 473-491, June.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fedlrv:y:2009:i:jul:p:187-214:n:v.91no.4. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Anna Xiao)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.