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The Network Origins of Aggregate Fluctuations

  • Daron Acemoglu
  • Vasco Carvalho
  • Asuman Ozdaglar
  • Alireza Tahbaz-Salehi

This paper argues that in the presence of intersectoral input-output linkages, microeconomic idiosyncratic shocks may lead to aggregate fluctuations. In particular, it shows that, as the economy becomes more disaggregated, the rate at which aggregate volatility decays is determined by the structure of the network capturing such linkages. Our main results provide a characterization of this relationship in terms of the importance of different sectors as suppliers to their immediate customers as well as their role as indirect suppliers to chains of downstream sectors. Such higher-order interconnections capture the possibility of cascade effects whereby productivity shocks to a sector propagate not only to its immediate downstream customers, but also indirectly to the rest of the economy. Our results highlight that sizable aggregate volatility is obtained from sectoral idiosyncratic shocks only if there exists significant asymmetry in the roles that sectors play as suppliers to others, and that the sparseness of the input-output matrix is unrelated to the nature of aggregate fluctuations.

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Paper provided by Barcelona Graduate School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 587.

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Date of creation: Oct 2011
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Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:587
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  1. Xavier Gabaix & Rustam Ibragimov, 2007. "Rank-1/2: A Simple Way to Improve the OLS Estimation of Tail Exponents," NBER Technical Working Papers 0342, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Vasco Carvalho & Xavier Gabaix, 2010. "The great diversification and its undoing," Economics Working Papers 1208, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Oct 2010.
  3. Vasco Carvalho, 2007. "Aggregate fluctuations and the network structure of intersectoral trade," Economics Working Papers 1206, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Oct 2010.
  4. Ciccone, Antonio, 2002. "Input Chains and Industrialization," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 69(3), pages 565-87, July.
  5. Andrew T. Foerster & Pierre-Daniel G. Sarte & Mark W. Watson, 2011. "Sectoral versus Aggregate Shocks: A Structural Factor Analysis of Industrial Production," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 119(1), pages 1 - 38.
  6. Coralio Ballester & Antoni Calvo-Armengol & Yves Zenou, 2005. "Who's Who in Networks. Wanted: the Key Player," NajEcon Working Paper Reviews 666156000000000586, www.najecon.org.
  7. Xavier Gabaix, 2005. "The Granular Origins of Aggregate Fluctuations," 2005 Meeting Papers 470, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  8. Xavier Gabaix & Rustam Ibragimov, 2006. "Log(Rank-1/2): A Simple Way to Improve the OLS Estimation of Tail Exponents," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2106, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  9. Daron Acemoglu & Asuman Ozdaglar & Alireza Tahbaz-Salehi, 2010. "Cascades in Networks and Aggregate Volatility," NBER Working Papers 16516, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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