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Bayesian counterfactual analysis of the sources of the great moderation

  • Chang-Jin Kim

    (Deparment of Economics, Korea University, Seoul, Korea; Department of Economics, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA)

  • James Morley

    (Department of Economics, Washington University, St Louis, Missouri, USA)

  • Jeremy Piger

    (Department of Economics, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon, USA)

We use counterfactual experiments to investigate the sources of the large volatility reduction in US real GDP growth in the 1980s. Contrary to an existing literature that conducts counterfactual experiments based on classical estimation and point estimates, we consider Bayesian analysis that provides a straightforward measure of estimation uncertainty for the counterfactual quantity of interest. Using Blanchard and Quah's (1989) structural VAR model of output growth and the unemployment rate, we find strong statistical support for the idea that a counterfactual change in the size of structural shocks alone, with no corresponding change in the propagation of these shocks, would have produced the same overall volatility reduction as what actually occurred. Looking deeper, we find evidence that a counterfactual change in the size of aggregate supply shocks alone would have generated a larger volatility reduction than a counterfactual change in the size of aggregate demand shocks alone. We show that these results are consistent with a standard monetary VAR, for which counterfactual analysis also suggests the importance of shocks in generating the volatility reduction, but with the counterfactual change in monetary shocks alone generating a small reduction in volatility. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1002/jae.978
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Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Journal of Applied Econometrics.

Volume (Year): 23 (2008)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 173-191

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Handle: RePEc:jae:japmet:v:23:y:2008:i:2:p:173-191
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  1. Olivier Jean Blanchard & Danny Quah, 1988. "The Dynamic Effects of Aggregate Demand and Supply Disturbances," NBER Working Papers 2737, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Eric M. Leeper & Tao Zha, 2002. "Modest Policy Interventions," NBER Working Papers 9192, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Gordon, Robert J, 2005. "What Caused the Decline in U. S. Business Cycle Volatility?," CEPR Discussion Papers 5413, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Chauvet, Marcelle & Potter, Simon, 2001. "Recent Changes in the US Business Cycle," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 69(5), pages 481-508, Special I.
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  6. Christopher A. Sims & Tao Zha, 2004. "Were there regime switches in U.S. monetary policy?," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2004-14, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  7. James A. Kahn & Margaret M. McConnell & Gabriel Perez-Quiros, 2002. "On the causes of the increased stability of the U.S. economy," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue May, pages 183-202.
  8. Chang-Jin Kim & Charles R. Nelson & Jeremy M. Piger, 2003. "The less volatile U.S. economy: a Bayesian investigation of timing, breadth, and potential explanations," Working Papers 2001-016, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  9. Olivier Blanchard & John Simon, 2001. "The Long and Large Decline in U.S. Output Volatility," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 32(1), pages 135-174.
  10. Herrera, Ana Maria & Pesavento, Elena, 2005. "The Decline in U.S. Output Volatility: Structural Changes and Inventory Investment," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 23, pages 462-472, October.
  11. M Sensier & D van Dijk, 2003. "Testing for Volatility Changes in US Macroeconomic Time Series," Centre for Growth and Business Cycle Research Discussion Paper Series 36, Economics, The Univeristy of Manchester.
  12. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 2002. "Has the Business Cycle Changed and Why?," NBER Working Papers 9127, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Rudebusch, Glenn D, 2005. "Assessing the Lucas Critique in Monetary Policy Models," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 37(2), pages 245-72, April.
  14. Lucas, Robert Jr, 1976. "Econometric policy evaluation: A critique," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 19-46, January.
  15. Boivin, Jean & Giannoni, Marc, 2006. "Has Monetary Policy Become More Effective?," CEPR Discussion Papers 5463, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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