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Technology-Hours Redux: Tax Changes and the Measurement of Technology Shocks

In: NBER International Seminar on Macroeconomics 2010

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  • Karel Mertens
  • Morten O. Ravn

Abstract

A number of empirical studies find that permanent technological improvements give rise to a temporary drop in hours worked. This finding seriously questions the technology-driven business cycle hypothesis. In this paper we argue that it is important to control for permanent changes in taxes, which invalidate the standard long run identifying assumptions for technology shocks and induce low frequency fluctuations in hours worked. Using the narrative data of Romer and Romer (2010), we find that tax shocks have significant long run effects on aggregate hours, output and labor productivity. We also find that, after controlling for tax shocks, permanent shocks to labor productivity generate short run increases in hours worked and are an important source of fluctuations in US output.
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Suggested Citation

  • Karel Mertens & Morten O. Ravn, 2010. "Technology-Hours Redux: Tax Changes and the Measurement of Technology Shocks," NBER Chapters,in: NBER International Seminar on Macroeconomics 2010, pages 41-76 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:12195
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Miles S. Kimball & John G. Fernald & Susanto Basu, 2006. "Are Technology Improvements Contractionary?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1418-1448, December.
    2. Karel Mertens & MortenO. Ravn, 2010. "Measuring the Impact of Fiscal Policy in the Face of Anticipation: A Structural VAR Approach," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(544), pages 393-413, May.
    3. Saikkonen, Pentti & L tkepohl, Helmut, 2000. "Testing For The Cointegrating Rank Of A Var Process With An Intercept," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 16(03), pages 373-406, June.
    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. Karel Mertens & Morten O. Ravn, 2012. "Empirical Evidence on the Aggregate Effects of Anticipated and Unanticipated US Tax Policy Shocks," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 145-181, May.
    6. Eric M. Leeper & Todd B. Walker & Shu-Chun Susan Yang, 2008. "Fiscal Foresight: Analytics and Econometrics," NBER Working Papers 14028, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Neville Francis & Valerie A. Ramey, 2006. "The Source of Historical Economic Fluctuations: An Analysis Using Long-Run Restrictions," NBER Chapters,in: NBER International Seminar on Macroeconomics 2004, pages 17-73 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Chen, Kaiji & Imrohoroglu, Ayse & Imrohoroglu, Selahattin, 2009. "A quantitative assessment of the decline in the U.S. current account," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(8), pages 1135-1147, November.
    9. Yongsung Chang & Joao F. Gomes & Frank Schorfheide, 2002. "Learning-by-Doing as a Propagation Mechanism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1498-1520, December.
    10. Carlo A. Favero & Francesco Giavazzi, 2010. "Reconciling VAR-based and Narrative Measures of the Tax-Multiplier," Working Papers 361, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
    11. Neville Francis & Valerie A. Ramey, 2002. "Is the Technology-Driven Real Business Cycle Hypothesis Dead?," NBER Working Papers 8726, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Caldara, Dario & Fuentes-Albero, Cristina & Gilchrist, Simon & Zakrajšek, Egon, 2016. "The macroeconomic impact of financial and uncertainty shocks," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 185-207.
    2. Ramey, V.A., 2016. "Macroeconomic Shocks and Their Propagation," Handbook of Macroeconomics, Elsevier.
    3. Balleer, Almut & Enders, Zeno, 2013. "Expansionary and Contractionary Technology Improvements," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 80046, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    4. Mertens, Karel & Ravn, Morten O., 2014. "A reconciliation of SVAR and narrative estimates of tax multipliers," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(S), pages 1-19.
    5. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 2012. "Disentangling the Channels of the 2007-09 Recession," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 44(1 (Spring), pages 81-156.
    6. Hussain, Syed M. & Malik, Samreen, 2016. "Asymmetric Effects of Exogenous Tax Changes," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 268-300.
    7. Zeno Enders & Almut Balleer, 2012. "Expansionary and Contractionary Technology Shocks," 2012 Meeting Papers 812, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    8. Hussain, Syed Muhammad, 2015. "The contractionary effects of tax shocks on productivity: An empirical and theoretical analysis," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 93-107.
    9. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 2012. "Disentangling the Channels of the 2007-2009 Recession," NBER Working Papers 18094, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E2 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment
    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • H3 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents

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