IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Imperfect information, lagged labour adjustment, and the Great Moderation

  • Sweder van Wijnbergen
  • Tim Willems

This paper first documents the increase in the lag with which US labour input reacts to macroeconomic fluctuations since the 1980s. We show that lagged labour adjustment is optimal when there is uncertainty about the persistence of shocks and labour input is costly to adjust. We then present evidence that both the nature of shocks hitting the economy as well as labour adjustment costs have changed during the 1980s in a direction that could explain the increase in the lag. Finally, we argue that this development has the potential to explain the reduction in output volatility since the 1980s. Copyright 2013 Oxford University Press 2012 All rights reserved, Oxford University Press.

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:
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal Oxford Economic Papers.

Volume (Year): 65 (2013)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
Pages: 219-239

in new window

Handle: RePEc:oup:oxecpp:v:65:y:2013:i:2:p:219-239
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Oxford University Press, Great Clarendon Street, Oxford OX2 6DP, UK

Fax: 01865 267 985
Web page:

Order Information: Web:

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. Jacob Wong, 2008. "Information acquisition, dissemination, and transparency of monetary policy," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 41(1), pages 46-79, February.
  2. Avinash K. Dixit & Robert S. Pindyck, 1994. "Investment under Uncertainty," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 5474, 01-2013.
  3. D’Agostino, Antonello & Giannone, Domenico & Surico, Paolo, 2006. "(Un)Predictability and macroeconomic stability," Working Paper Series 0605, European Central Bank.
  4. Daniel S. Hamermesh & Gerard A. Pfann, 1996. "Adjustment Costs in Factor Demand," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(3), pages 1264-1292, September.
  5. Miron, J.A., 1988. "A Cross-Country Comparaison Of Seasonal Cycles And Business Cycles," Papers 89-07, Michigan - Center for Research on Economic & Social Theory.
  6. Stephen Morris & Hyun Song Shin, 2005. "Central Bank Transparency and the Signal Value of Prices," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 36(2), pages 1-66.
  7. Kevin J. Stiroh, 2006. "Volatility accounting: a production perspective on increased economic stability," Staff Reports 245, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  8. Luca Gambetti & Jordi Galí, 2009. "On the Sources of the Great Moderation," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 26-57, January.
  9. Manuel Amador & Pierre Olivier Weill, 2008. "Learning from Prices: Public Communication and Welfare," 2008 Meeting Papers 390, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  10. David H. Autor & William R. Kerr & Adriana D. Kugler, 2007. "Does Employment Protection Reduce Productivity? Evidence From US States," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(521), pages 189-217, 06.
  11. Malkiel, Burton & Campbell, John & Lettau, Martin & Xu, Yexiao, 2001. "Have Individual Stocks Become More Volatile? An Empirical Exploration of Idiosyncratic Risk," Scholarly Articles 3128707, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  12. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 2005. "Understanding Changes In International Business Cycle Dynamics," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(5), pages 968-1006, 09.
  13. 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, 09.
  14. David Card & Phillip B. Levine, 1992. "Unemployment Insurance Taxes and the Cyclical and Seasonal Properties of Unemployment," NBER Working Papers 4030, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Wen, Yi, 2002. "What Does It Take to Explain Procyclical Productivity," Working Papers 02-14, Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics.
  16. Samuel Bentolila & Giuseppe Bertola, 1990. "Firing Costs and Labour Demand: How Bad is Eurosclerosis?," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(3), pages 381-402.
  17. Erica L. Groshen & Simon M. Potter, 2003. "Has structural change contributed to a jobless recovery?," Current Issues in Economics and Finance, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, vol. 9(Aug).
  18. Dowrick, Steve, 1989. "Union-Oligopoly Bargaining," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(398), pages 1123-42, December.
  19. Scott Schuh, 2001. "An evaluation of recent macroeconomic forecast errors," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, pages 35-56.
  20. Luca Sala & Antonella Trigari & Mark Gertler, 2007. "An Estimated Monetary DSGE Model with Unemployment and Staggered Nominal Wage Bargaining," 2007 Meeting Papers 353, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  21. Peter Tulip, 2005. "Has output become more predictable? changes in Greenbook forecast accuracy," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2005-31, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  22. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Robert Vigfusson, 2003. "What Happens After a Technology Shock?," NBER Working Papers 9819, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Nicholas Bloom, 2009. "The Impact of Uncertainty Shocks," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(3), pages 623-685, 05.
  24. Christopher A. Pissarides, 2000. "Equilibrium Unemployment Theory, 2nd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262161877, December.
  25. Kathryn Koenders & Richard Rogerson, 2005. "Organizational dynamics over the business cycle: a view on jobless recoveries," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jul, pages 555-580.
  26. Jamie Peck & Nik Theodore, 2007. "Flexible recession: the temporary staffing industry and mediated work in the United States," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 31(2), pages 171-192, March.
  27. Campbell, Sean D., 2007. "Macroeconomic Volatility, Predictability, and Uncertainty in the Great Moderation: Evidence From the Survey of Professional Forecasters," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 25, pages 191-200, April.
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:oup:oxecpp:v:65:y:2013:i:2:p:219-239. 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: (Oxford University Press)

or (Christopher F. Baum)

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.