IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Markups, Gaps, and the Welfare Costs of Business Fluctuations

  • Jordi Galí

    (CREI and Universitat Pompeu Fabra)

  • Mark Gertler

    (New York University)

  • J. David López-Salido

    (Federal Reserve Board and CEPR)

We present a simple theory-based measure of the variations in aggregate economic efficiency: the gap between the marginal product of labor and the household's consumption leisure tradeoff. We show that this indicator corresponds to the reciprocal of the markup of price over social marginal cost, and give some evidence in support of this interpretation. We then show that, with some auxiliary assumptions, our gap variable may be used to measure the efficiency costs of business fluctuations. We find that the latter costs are modest on average. However, to the extent that the flexible price equilibrium is distorted, the gross efficiency losses from recessions and gains from booms may be large. Indeed, we find that the major recessions involved large efficiency losses. These results hold for reasonable parameterizations of the Frisch elasticity of labor supply, the relative risk aversion, and steady-state distortions. Copyright by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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: http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1162/rest.89.1.44
File Function: link to full text
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 MIT Press in its journal The Review of Economics and Statistics.

Volume (Year): 89 (2007)
Issue (Month): 1 (November)
Pages: 44-59

as
in new window

Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:89:y:2007:i:1:p:44-59
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://mitpress.mit.edu/journals/

Order Information: Web: http://mitpress.mit.edu/journal-home.tcl?issn=00346535

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. Christiano, Lawrence J. & Eichenbaum, Martin & Evans, Charles L., 1997. "Sticky price and limited participation models of money: A comparison," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(6), pages 1201-1249, June.
  2. Martin S. Eichenbaum & Lars Peter Hansen & Kenneth J. Singleton, 1986. "A Time Series Analysis of Representative Agent Models of Consumption andLeisure Choice Under Uncertainty," NBER Working Papers 1981, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Robert E. Hall, 1987. "Consumption," NBER Working Papers 2265, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Jordi Galí & Mark Gertler & J. David López-Salido, 2002. "Markups, gaps, and the welfare costs of business fluctuations," Working Papers 0204, Banco de España;Working Papers Homepage.
  5. Jordi Galí & Mark Gertler & J. David López-Salido, 2000. "European Inflation Dynamics," Working Papers 0020, Banco de España;Working Papers Homepage.
  6. Laurence Ball & David Romer, 1989. "Are Prices Too Sticky?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 104(3), pages 507-524.
  7. Casey B. Mulligan, 1998. "Substitution over Time: Another Look at Life Cycle Labor Supply," NBER Working Papers 6585, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Robert B. Barsky & Miles S. Kimball & F. Thomas Juster & Matthew D. Shapiro, 1995. "Preference Parameters and Behavioral Heterogeneity: An Experimental Approach in the Health and Retirement Survey," NBER Working Papers 5213, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. V.V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe & Ellen McGrattan, 2004. "Business Cycle Accounting," NBER Working Papers 10351, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Charles L. Evans, 2001. "Nominal rigidities and the dynamic effects of a shock to monetary policy," Working Paper 0107, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  11. Erceg, Christopher J. & Henderson, Dale W. & Levin, Andrew T., 2000. "Optimal monetary policy with staggered wage and price contracts," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 281-313, October.
  12. Altonji, Joseph G, 1986. "Intertemporal Substitution in Labor Supply: Evidence from Micro Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(3), pages S176-S215, June.
  13. Allison Holland & Andrew Scott, 1997. "The determinants of UK business cycles," Bank of England working papers 58, Bank of England.
  14. Julio J. Rotemberg & Michael Woodford, 1989. "Oligopolistic Pricing and the Effects of Aggregate Demand on Economic Activity," NBER Working Papers 3206, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Charles L. Evans, 1998. "Monetary Policy Shocks: What Have We Learned and to What End?," NBER Working Papers 6400, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. David Card, 1991. "Intertemporal Labor Supply: An Assessment," NBER Working Papers 3602, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Beaudry, Paul & Pages, Carmen, 2001. "The cost of business cycles and the stabilization value of unemployment insurance," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(8), pages 1545-1572, August.
  18. Gary Solon & Robert Barsky & Jonathan A. Parker, 1994. "Measuring the Cyclicality of Real Wages: How Important is Composition Bias?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(1), pages 1-25.
  19. John Pencavel, 1998. "The Market Work Behavior and Wages of Women: 1975-94," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(4), pages 771-804.
  20. Gali, Jordi & Gertler, Mark, 1999. "Inflation dynamics: A structural econometric analysis," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 195-222, October.
  21. Marianne Baxter & Urban J. Jermann, 1999. "Household Production and the Excess Sensitivity of Consumption to Current Income," NBER Working Papers 7046, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Susanto Basu & Miles S. Kimball, 1997. "Cyclical Productivity with Unobserved Input Variation," NBER Working Papers 5915, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Hall, Robert E, 1997. "Macroeconomic Fluctuations and the Allocation of Time," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages S223-50, January.
  24. Argia M. Sbordone, 2002. "An optimizing model of U.S. wage and price dynamics," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Mar.
  25. Michael Woodford, 2001. "Inflation Stabilization and Welfare," NBER Working Papers 8071, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  26. Alexopoulos, Michelle, 2004. "Unemployment and the business cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 277-298, March.
  27. Marianne Baxter & Robert G. King, 1991. "Productive externalities and business cycles," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 53, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  28. Hall, Robert E, 1988. "Intertemporal Substitution in Consumption," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(2), pages 339-57, April.
  29. Robert G. King & Sergio T. Rebelo, 2000. "Resuscitating Real Business Cycles," RCER Working Papers 467, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  30. Julio J. Rotemberg & Michael Woodford, 1999. "The Cyclical Behavior of Prices and Costs," NBER Working Papers 6909, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  31. MaCurdy, Thomas E, 1981. "An Empirical Model of Labor Supply in a Life-Cycle Setting," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(6), pages 1059-85, December.
  32. Robert J. Gordon, 1973. "The Welfare Cost of Higher Unemployment," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 4(1), pages 133-206.
  33. Robert E. Lucas Jr., 2003. "Macroeconomic Priorities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 1-14, March.
  34. Robert B. Barsky & F. Thomas Juster & Miles S. Kimball & Matthew D. Shapiro, 1997. "Preference Parameters and Behavioral Heterogeneity: An Experimental Approach in the Health and Retirement Study," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 537-579.
  35. Ben S. Bernanke & Ilian Mihov, 1998. "Measuring Monetary Policy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(3), pages 869-902.
  36. Blanchard, Olivier Jean & Kiyotaki, Nobuhiro, 1987. "Monopolistic Competition and the Effects of Aggregate Demand," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 647-66, September.
  37. Sbordone, A.M., 1998. "Prices and Unit Labor Costs: a New Test of Price Stickiness," Papers 653, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  38. Gadi Barlevy, 2000. "Evaluating the Costs of Business Cycles in Models of Endogenous Growth," Discussion Papers 1287, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  39. John Pencavel, 2002. "A Cohort Analysis of the Association between Work Hours and Wages among Men," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 37(2), pages 251-274.
  40. Casey B. Mulligan, 2002. "A Century of Labor-Leisure Distortions," NBER Working Papers 8774, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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:tpr:restat:v:89:y:2007:i:1:p:44-59. 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: (Kristin Waites)

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.