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Noisy Business Cycles

In: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2009, Volume 24

  • George-Marios Angeletos
  • Jennifer La'O

This paper investigates a real-business-cycle economy that features dispersed information about the underlying aggregate productivity shocks, taste shocks, and, potentially, shocks to monopoly power. We show how the dispersion of information can (i) contribute to significant inertia in the response of macroeconomic outcomes to such shocks; (ii) induce a negative short-run response of employment to productivity shocks; (iii) imply that productivity shocks explain only a small fraction of high-frequency fluctuations; (iv) contribute to significant noise in the business cycle; (v) formalize a certain type of demand shocks within an RBC economy; and (vi) generate cyclical variation in observed Solow residuals and labor wedges. Importantly, none of these properties requires significant uncertainty about the underlying fundamentals: they rest on the heterogeneity of information and the strength of trade linkages in the economy, not the level of uncertainty. Finally, none of these properties are symptoms of inefficiency: apart from undoing monopoly distortions or providing the agents with more information, no policy intervention can improve upon the equilibrium allocations.

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This chapter was published in:
  • Daron Acemoglu & Kenneth Rogoff & Michael Woodford, 2010. "NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2009, Volume 24," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number acem09-1, August.
  • This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 11802.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:11802
    Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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    1. Amador, Manuel & Weill, Pierre-Olivier, 2006. "Learning from Private and Public Observation of Other's Actions," MPRA Paper 109, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Ricardo Reis, 2006. "Inattentive Producers," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(3), pages 793-821.
    3. Christiano, Lawrence & Ilut, Cosmin & Motto, Roberto & Rostagno, Massimo, 2008. "Monetary policy and stock market boom-bust cycles," Working Paper Series 0955, European Central Bank.
    4. N. Gregory Mankiw & Ricardo Reis, 2002. "Sticky Information Versus Sticky Prices: A Proposal To Replace The New Keynesian Phillips Curve," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1295-1328, November.
    5. Mirko Wiederholt & Bartosz Mackowiak, 2005. "Optimal Sticky Prices under Rational Inattention," 2005 Meeting Papers 369, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    6. Nir Jaimovich & Sergio Rebelo, 2009. "Can News about the Future Drive the Business Cycle?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(4), pages 1097-1118, September.
    7. Marvin Goodfriend & Robert G. King, 2001. "The case for price stability," Working Paper 01-02, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
    8. Van Nieuwerburgh, Stijn & Veldkamp, Laura, 2006. "Learning asymmetries in real business cycles," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(4), pages 753-772, May.
    9. Manuel Amador & Pierre-Olivier Weill, 2008. "Learning from Prices: Public Communication and Welfare," NBER Working Papers 14255, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Klaus Adam, 2004. "Optimal Monetary Policy with Imperfect Common Knowledge," Econometric Society 2004 North American Winter Meetings 24, Econometric Society.
    11. Laura Veldkamp & Christian Hellwig, 2006. "Knowing What Others Know: Coordination Motives in Information Acquisition," Working Papers 06-14, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
    12. Ben S. Bernanke & Julio J. Rotemberg, 1997. "Editorial in "NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1997, Volume 12"," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1997, Volume 12, pages 1-6 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Moscarini, Giuseppe, 2004. "Limited information capacity as a source of inertia," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 28(10), pages 2003-2035, September.
    14. Bartosz Mackowiak & Mirko Wiederholt, 2008. "Business Cycle Dynamics under Rational Inattention," 2008 Meeting Papers 1059, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    15. repec:ste:nystbu:08-21 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Jordi Galí & Pau Rabanal, 2005. "Technology Shocks and Aggregate Fluctuations: How Well Does the Real Business Cycle Model Fit Postwar U.S. Data?," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2004, Volume 19, pages 225-318 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Yulei Luo, 2008. "Consumption Dynamics under Information Processing Constraints," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 11(2), pages 366-385, April.
    18. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Robert Vigfusson, 2003. "What Happens After a Technology Shock?," NBER Working Papers 9819, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Venky Venkateswaran & Christian Hellwig, 2009. "Setting The Right Prices for the Wrong Reasons," 2009 Meeting Papers 260, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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