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Revisiting the Welfare Effects of Eliminating Business Cycles

Author

Listed:
  • Per Krusell

    (Princeton University)

  • Toshihiko Mukoyama

    (University of Virginia)

  • Aysegul Sahin

    (Federal Reserve Bank of New York)

  • Anthony A. Smith, Jr.

    (Yale University)

Abstract

We investigate the welfare effects of eliminating business cycles in a model with substantial consumer heterogeneity. The heterogeneity arises from uninsurable and idiosyncratic uncertainty in preferences and employment status. We calibrate the model to match the distribution of wealth in U.S. data and features of transitions between employment and unemployment. In comparison with much of the literature, we find rather large effects. For our benchmark model, we find welfare effects that, on average across all consumers, are of a bit more than one order of magnitude larger than those computed by Lucas (1987). When we distinguish long- from short-term unemployment, long-term unemployment being distinguished by poor (and highly procylical) employment prospects and low unemployment compensation, the average gain from eliminating cycles is as much as 1% in consumption equivalents. In addition, in both models, there are large differences across groups: very poor consumers gain a lot when cycles are removed (the long-term unemployed as much as around 30%), as do very rich consumers, whereas the majority of consumers---the "middle class"---sees much smaller gains from removing cycles. Inequality also rises substantially upon removing cycles. (Copyright: Elsevier)

Suggested Citation

  • Per Krusell & Toshihiko Mukoyama & Aysegul Sahin & Anthony A. Smith, Jr., 2009. "Revisiting the Welfare Effects of Eliminating Business Cycles," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 12(3), pages 393-402, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:issued:08-211
    DOI: 10.1016/j.red.2009.01.002
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. tom krebs, 2004. "welfare cost of business cycles when markets are incomplete," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 283, Econometric Society.
    2. Tom Krebs, 2007. "Job Displacement Risk and the Cost of Business Cycles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 664-686, June.
    3. Andrew Atkeson & Christopher Phelan, 1994. "Reconsidering the Costs of Business Cycles with Incomplete Markets," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1994, Volume 9, pages 187-218 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Mukoyama, Toshihiko & Sahin, Aysegul, 2006. "Costs of business cycles for unskilled workers," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(8), pages 2179-2193, November.
    5. repec:pri:wwseco:dp235 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Robert E. Lucas Jr., 2003. "Macroeconomic Priorities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 1-14, March.
    7. Sam Schulhofer-Wohl, 2008. "Heterogeneous Risk Preferences and the Welfare Cost of Business Cycles," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 11(4), pages 761-780, October.
    8. Per Krusell & Anthony A. Smith, Jr., 1999. "On the Welfare Effects of Eliminating Business Cycles," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 2(1), pages 245-272, January.
    9. Tom Krebs, 2003. "Growth and Welfare Effects of Business Cycles in Economies with Idiosyncratic Human Capital Risk," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 6(4), pages 846-868, October.
    10. Per Krusell & Anthony A. Smith & Jr., 1998. "Income and Wealth Heterogeneity in the Macroeconomy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(5), pages 867-896, October.
    11. Wolff, Edward N, 1994. "Trends in Household Wealth in the United States, 1962-83 and 1983-89," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 40(2), pages 143-174, June.
    12. Tom Krebs, 2006. "Multi-Dimensional Risk and the Cost of Business Cycles," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 9(4), pages 640-658, October.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Cost of business cycles; Incomplete markets; Heterogeneity;

    JEL classification:

    • C68 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Computable General Equilibrium Models
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D61 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles

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