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

  • 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.

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

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

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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlrv:y:2009:i:jul:p:187-214:n:v.91no.4
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