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Measures of per Capita Hours and Their Implications for the Technology-Hours Debate

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  • NEVILLE FRANCIS
  • VALERIE A. RAMEY

Abstract

Structural vector autoregressions give conflicting results on the effects of technology shocks on hours. The results depend crucially on the assumed data generating process for hours per capita. We show that the standard measure of hours per capita and productivity have significant low-frequency movements that are the source of the conflicting results. Hodrick-Prescott (HP)-filtered hours per capita produce results consistent with those obtained when hours are assumed to have a unit root. We show that important sources of the low-frequency movements in the standard measure are sectoral shifts in hours and the changing age composition of the working-age population. When we control for these low-frequency components to determine the effect of technology shocks on hours using long-run restrictions we get one consistent answer: hours decline in the short run in response to a positive technology shock. We further extend the analysis by examining the effects of demographic controls on the impulse responses to investment-specific technology shocks. Our results are less conclusive. Copyright (c) 2009 The Ohio State University.

Suggested Citation

  • Neville Francis & Valerie A. Ramey, 2009. "Measures of per Capita Hours and Their Implications for the Technology-Hours Debate," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 41(6), pages 1071-1097, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:mcb:jmoncb:v:41:y:2009:i:6:p:1071-1097
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    1. Valerie A. Ramey & Neville Francis, 2009. "A Century of Work and Leisure," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 189-224, July.
    2. John G. Fernald, 2005. "Trend breaks, long-run restrictions, and the contractionary effects of technology improvements," Working Paper Series 2005-21, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
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    8. Neville Francis & Valerie A. Ramey, 2002. "Is the Technology-Driven Real Business Cycle Hypothesis Dead?," NBER Working Papers 8726, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Neville Francis & Michael T. Owyang & Jennifer E. Roush & Riccardo DiCecio, 2014. "A Flexible Finite-Horizon Alternative to Long-Run Restrictions with an Application to Technology Shocks," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 96(4), pages 638-647, October.
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    18. Francis, Neville & Owyang, Michael T. & Roush, Jennifer E., 2005. "A Flexible Finite-Horizon Identification of Technology Shocks," International Finance Discussion Papers 832, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), revised Sep 2005.
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    JEL classification:

    • E2 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment
    • E3 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles

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