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Letting Different Views about Business Cycles Compete

In: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2009, Volume 24

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  • Paul Beaudry
  • Bernd Lucke

Abstract

There are several candidate explanations for macro-fluctuations. Two of the most common discussed sources are surprise changes in disembodied technology and monetary innovations. Another popular explanation is found under the heading of a preference or more generally a demand shock. More recently two other explanations have been advocated: surprise changes in investment specific technology and news about future technology growth. The aim of this paper is to provide a quantitative assessment of the relative merits of all these explanations by adopting a framework which allows them to compete. In particular, we propose a co-integrated SVAR approach that encompasses all 5 shocks and thereby offers a coherent evaluation of the dynamics they induce as well as their contribution to macro volatility. Our main finding is that surprise changes in technology, whether it be of the disembodied or embodied nature, account for very little of fluctuations. In contrast, expected changes in technology appear to be an important force, with preference/demand shocks and monetary shocks also playing non-negligible roles.
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Suggested Citation

  • Paul Beaudry & Bernd Lucke, 2010. "Letting Different Views about Business Cycles Compete," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2009, Volume 24, pages 413-455 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:11806
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    1. Gali, J., 1996. "Technology, Employment, and the Business Cycle: Do Technology Shocks Explain Aggregate Fluctuations?," Working Papers 96-28, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
    2. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Robert J. Vigfusson, 2003. "The response of hours to a technology shock: evidence based on direct measures of technology," International Finance Discussion Papers 790, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    3. Paul Beaudry & Franck Portier, 2006. "Stock Prices, News, and Economic Fluctuations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 1293-1307.
    4. Jonas D. M. Fisher, 2006. "The Dynamic Effects of Neutral and Investment-Specific Technology Shocks," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(3), pages 413-451, June.
    5. Jason G. Cummins & Giovanni L. Violante, 2002. "Investment-Specific Technical Change in the US (1947-2000): Measurement and Macroeconomic Consequences," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 5(2), pages 243-284, April.
    6. Bagliano, Fabio C. & Favero, Carlo A., 1998. "Measuring monetary policy with VAR models: An evaluation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, pages 1069-1112.
    7. Jordi Gali, 1999. "Technology, Employment, and the Business Cycle: Do Technology Shocks Explain Aggregate Fluctuations?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 249-271.
    8. Dirk Kreuger & Fabrizio Perri, 2002. "Does Income Inequality Lead to Consumption Inequality? Evidence and Theory," Working Papers 02-15, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
    9. Chari, V.V. & Kehoe, Patrick J. & McGrattan, Ellen R., 2008. "Are structural VARs with long-run restrictions useful in developing business cycle theory?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, pages 1337-1352.
    10. Bénédicte Vidaillet & V. D'Estaintot & P. Abécassis, 2005. "Introduction," Post-Print hal-00287137, HAL.
    11. Greenwood, Jeremy & Hercowitz, Zvi & Krusell, Per, 1997. "Long-Run Implications of Investment-Specific Technological Change," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 342-362.
    12. Lucke, Bernd, 2010. "Identification and overidentification in SVECMs," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 108(3), pages 318-321, September.
    13. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Robert Vigfusson, 2004. "The Response of Hours to a Technology Shock: Evidence Based on Direct Measures of Technology," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(2-3), pages 381-395, 04/05.
    14. Chari, V.V. & Kehoe, Patrick J. & McGrattan, Ellen R., 2008. "Are structural VARs with long-run restrictions useful in developing business cycle theory?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, pages 1337-1352.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles

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