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The Source of Historical Economic Fluctuations: An Analysis Using Long-Run Restrictions

In: NBER International Seminar on Macroeconomics 2004

  • Neville Francis
  • Valerie A. Ramey

This paper investigates the source of historical fluctuations in annual US data extending back to the late 19th century. Long-run identifying restrictions are used to decompose productivity, hours, and output into technology shocks and non-technology shocks. A variety of models with differing auxiliary assumptions are investigated. The preferred model suggests that the Great Depression was a period in which both types of shocks were very negative. On the other hand, our estimates support the microeconomic evidence of historically large positive technology shocks from 1934 to 1936. Finally, both types of shocks are responsible for the reduction in the variance of output in the post-WWII period.

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This chapter was published in:
  • Richard H. Clarida & Jeffrey Frankel & Francesco Giavazzi & Kenneth D. West, 2006. "NBER International Seminar on Macroeconomics 2004," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number clar06-1, August.
  • This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 0084.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:0084
    Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
    Phone: 617-868-3900
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    2. Robert J. Gordon, 1986. "The American Business Cycle: Continuity and Change," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gord86-1, August.
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    7. Andrew Mountford & Harald Uhlig, 2005. "What are the Effects of Fiscal Policy Shocks?," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2005-039, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
    8. Susanto Basu & John Fernald & Miles Kimball, 2004. "Are Technology Improvements Contractionary?," NBER Working Papers 10592, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    10. Otto Eckstein & Allen Sinai, 1986. "The Mechanisms of the Business Cycle in the Postwar Era," NBER Chapters, in: The American Business Cycle: Continuity and Change, pages 39-122 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    13. John Fernald, 2004. "Trend Breaks, Long Run Restrictions, and the Contractionary Effects of Technology Shocks," 2004 Meeting Papers 477, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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    15. Costello, Donna M, 1993. "A Cross-Country, Cross-Industry Comparison of Productivity Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(2), pages 207-22, April.
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    17. Gali, Jordi & Lopez-Salido, J. David & Valles, Javier, 2003. "Technology shocks and monetary policy: assessing the Fed's performance," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(4), pages 723-743, May.
    18. Jordi Galí & Pau Rabanal, 2004. "Technology Shocks and Aggregate Fluctuations; How Well Does the RBC Model Fit Postwar U.S. Data?," IMF Working Papers 04/234, International Monetary Fund.
    19. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 2002. "Has the Business Cycle Changed and Why?," NBER Working Papers 9127, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. Neville Francis & Michael T. Owyang & Athena T. Theodorou, 2003. "The use of long-run restrictions for the identification of technology shocks," Working Papers 2003-010, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    21. Victor Zarnowitz & Geoffrey H. Moore, 1986. "Major Changes in Cyclical Behavior," NBER Chapters, in: The American Business Cycle: Continuity and Change, pages 519-582 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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