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Is the Macroeconomy Locally Unstable and Why Should We Care?

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  • Paul Beaudry
  • Dana Galizia
  • Franck Portier

Abstract

In most modern macroeconomic models, the steady state (or balanced growth path) of the system is a local attractor, in the sense that, in the absence of shocks, the economy would converge to the steady state. In this chapter, we examine whether the time-series behavior of macroeconomic aggregates (especially labor market aggregates) is in fact supportive of this local-stability view of macroeconomic dynamics, or if it instead favors an alternative interpretation in which the macroeconomy may be better characterized as being locally unstable, with nonlinear deterministic forces capable of producing endogenous cyclical behavior. To do this, we extend a standard AR representation of the data to allow for smooth nonlinearities. Our main finding is that, even using a procedure that may have low power to detect local instability, the data provide intriguing support for the view that the macroeconomy may be locally unstable and involve limit-cycle forces. An interesting finding is that the degree of nonlinearity we detect in the data is small, but nevertheless enough to alter the description of macroeconomic behavior. We complete the chapter with a discussion of the extent to which these two different views about the inherent dynamics of the macroeconomy may matter for policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul Beaudry & Dana Galizia & Franck Portier, 2017. "Is the Macroeconomy Locally Unstable and Why Should We Care?," NBER Macroeconomics Annual, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(1), pages 479-530.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:macann:doi:10.1086/690244
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/690244
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Matsuyama, Kiminori, 2013. "The good, the bad, and the ugly: An inquiry into the causes and nature of credit cycles," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 8(3), September.
    2. repec:oup:restud:v:85:y:2018:i:1:p:119-156. is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Paul Beaudry & Dana Galizia & Franck Portier, 2018. "Reconciling Hayek’s and Keynes’ Views of Recessions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 85(1), pages 119-156.
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    Cited by:

    1. Dosi, Giovanni & Pereira, Marcelo C. & Roventini, Andrea & Virgillito, Maria Enrica, 2017. "Causes and Consequences of Hysteresis: Aggregate Demand, Productivity and Employment," GLO Discussion Paper Series 64, Global Labor Organization (GLO).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E3 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles

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