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The Aggregate Implications of Regional Business Cycles

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  • Martin Beraja
  • Erik Hurst
  • Juan Ospina

Abstract

Making inferences about aggregate business cycles from regional variation alone is difficult because of economic channels and shocks that differ between regional and aggregate economies. However, we argue that regional business cycles contain valuable information that can help discipline models of aggregate fluctuations. We begin by documenting a strong relationship across U.S. states between local employment and wage growth during the Great Recession. This relationship is much weaker in U.S. aggregates. Then, we present a methodology that combines such regional and aggregate data in order to estimate a medium‐scale New Keynesian DSGE model. We find that aggregate demand shocks were important drivers of aggregate employment during the Great Recession, but the wage stickiness necessary for them to account for the slow employment recovery and the modest fall in aggregate wages is inconsistent with the flexibility of wages we observe across U.S. states. Finally, we show that our methodology yields different conclusions about the causes of aggregate employment and wage dynamics between 2007 and 2014 than either estimating our model with aggregate data alone or performing back‐of‐the‐envelope calculations that directly extrapolate from well‐identified regional elasticities.

Suggested Citation

  • Martin Beraja & Erik Hurst & Juan Ospina, 2019. "The Aggregate Implications of Regional Business Cycles," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 87(6), pages 1789-1833, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:emetrp:v:87:y:2019:i:6:p:1789-1833
    DOI: 10.3982/ECTA14243
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    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
    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population

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