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The 1980s Recession in the UK: A Business Cycle Accounting Perspective

Author

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  • Erasmus Kersting

    (Texas A&M University)

Abstract

This paper applies 'Business Cycle Accounting' methodology introduced by Chari, Kehoe and McGrattan (2002a) to the UK economy. In particular, I examine the cyclical episode from 1979 to 1989. The chosen method enables me to decompose fluctuations in aggregates to isolate the effects corresponding to different distortions in the underlying model. I find distortions in the labor-leisure decision to play a significant role in both the recession in the early 1980s and the subsequent recovery of the UK economy. Furthermore, scenario simulations show that the improvement of the labor wedge was necessary for the recovery of the UK economy starting in 1984. After reviewing evidence on the effects of the new labor market policies introduced by the Conservative government under Margaret Thatcher on union density and collective bargaining, the results suggest that the reforms were essential for the improvement in economic performance. Future research on the period should therefore focus on modeling the labor market distortions and the reforms that were intended to reduce them. (Copyright: Elsevier)

Suggested Citation

  • Erasmus Kersting, 2008. "The 1980s Recession in the UK: A Business Cycle Accounting Perspective," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 11(1), pages 179-191, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:issued:06-153
    DOI: 10.1016/j.red.2007.04.004
    as

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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Anderson, Evan W. & McGrattan, Ellen R. & Hansen, Lars Peter & Sargent, Thomas J., 1996. "Mechanics of forming and estimating dynamic linear economies," Handbook of Computational Economics,in: H. M. Amman & D. A. Kendrick & J. Rust (ed.), Handbook of Computational Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 4, pages 171-252 Elsevier.
    2. V. V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe & Ellen R. McGrattan, 2007. "Business Cycle Accounting," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(3), pages 781-836, May.
    3. Kobayashi, Keiichiro & Inaba, Masaru, 2006. "Business cycle accounting for the Japanese economy," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 418-440, December.
    4. David Blanchflower & Richard Freeman, 1993. "Did the Thatcher Reforms Change British Labour Market Performance?," CEP Discussion Papers dp0168, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    5. Alan Ahearne & Finn Kydland & Mark A. Wynne, 2006. "Ireland’s Great Depression," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 37(2), pages 215-243.
    6. Richard Freeman & Jeffrey Pelletier, 1990. "The Impact of Industrial Relations Legislation on British Union Density," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 28(2), pages 141-164, July.
    7. David G. Blanchflower & Richard B. Freeman, 1993. "Did the Thatcher Reforms Change British Labour Performance?," NBER Working Papers 4384, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Suparna Chakraborty, 2005. "Business Cycle Accounting-How important are technology shocks as a propagation mechanism? Some new evidence from Japan," Macroeconomics 0508002, EconWPA.
    9. Harold L. Cole & Lee E. Ohanian, 2004. "New Deal Policies and the Persistence of the Great Depression: A General Equilibrium Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(4), pages 779-816, August.
    10. Mary Gregory, 1998. "Reforming the Labour Market: An Assessment of the UK Policies of the Thatcher Era," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 31(4), pages 329-344.
    11. Hans M. Amman & David A. Kendrick, . "Computational Economics," Online economics textbooks, SUNY-Oswego, Department of Economics, number comp1.
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    Cited by:

    1. Masaru Inaba & Kengo Nutahara, 2012. "An application of business cycle accounting with misspecified wedges," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 15(2), pages 265-269, April.
    2. repec:eee:macchp:v2-1013 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Renzo Orsi & Francesco Turino, 2014. "The last fifteen years of stagnation in Italy: a business cycle accounting perspective," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 47(2), pages 469-494, September.
    4. Petre Caraiani, 2016. "Business Cycle Accounting for Peripheral European Economies," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 63(5), pages 468-496, November.
    5. István Kónya, 2011. "Convergence and Distortions: the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland between 1996–2009," MNB Working Papers 2011/6, Magyar Nemzeti Bank (Central Bank of Hungary).
    6. Konya Istvan, 2013. "Development accounting with wedges: the experience of six European countries," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 13(1), pages 1-42, June.
    7. Hirata, Hideaki & Otsu, Keisuke, 2016. "Accounting for the economic relationship between Japan and the Asian Tigers," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 57-68.
    8. Dooyeon Cho & Antonio Doblas-Madrid, 2013. "Business Cycle Accounting East and West: Asian Finance and the Investment Wedge," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 16(4), pages 724-744, October.
    9. Michael Donadelli & Vahid Mojtahed & Antonio Paradiso, 2015. "Technological Progress, Investment Frictions and Business Cycle: New Insights from a Neoclassical Growth Model," Working Papers LuissLab 15119, Dipartimento di Economia e Finanza, LUISS Guido Carli.
    10. Suparna Chakraborty & Keisuke Otsu, 2012. "Deconstructing Growth - A Business Cycle Accounting Approach with application to BRICs," Studies in Economics 1212, School of Economics, University of Kent.
    11. Bridji, Slim, 2013. "The French Great Depression: A business cycle accounting analysis," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 427-445.
    12. Dooyeon Cho & Dong-Eun Rhee, 2015. "An assessment of inflation targeting in a quantitative monetary business cycle framework: evidence from four early adopters," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 47(32), pages 3395-3413, July.
    13. Brinca, P. & Chari, V.V. & Kehoe, P.J. & McGrattan, E., 2016. "Accounting for Business Cycles," Handbook of Macroeconomics, Elsevier.
    14. Masaru Inaba & Kengo Nutahara, 2012. "An application of business cycle accounting with misspecified wedges," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 15(2), pages 265-269, April.
    15. Kónya, István, 2011. "Növekedés és felzárkózás Magyarországon, 1995-2009
      [Growth and convergence in Hungary, 1995-2009]
      ," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(5), pages 393-411.
    16. Claire A. Reicher, 2016. "A Note on the Identification of Dynamic Economic Models with Generalized Shock Processes," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 78(3), pages 412-423, June.
    17. Otsu Keisuke, 2010. "A Neoclassical Analysis of the Asian Crisis: Business Cycle Accounting for a Small Open Economy," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-39, July.
    18. Saijo Hikaru, 2008. "The Japanese Depression in the Interwar Period: A General Equilibrium Analysis," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 1-26, September.
    19. repec:spr:jbuscr:v:12:y:2016:i:2:d:10.1007_s41549-016-0007-0 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Real business cycle; Unions; Growth model; Labor market reforms; UK;

    JEL classification:

    • E65 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Studies of Particular Policy Episodes
    • O41 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models
    • O52 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Europe

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