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Investment Shocks and the Comovement Problem

Recent work based on sticky price-wage estimated dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) models suggests investment shocks are the most important drivers of post-World War II US business cycles. Consumption, however, typically falls after an investment shock. This finding sits oddly with the observed business cycle comovement where consumption, along with hours-worked and investment, moves with economic activity. We show that this comovement problem is resolved in an estimated DSGE model when the cost of capital utilization is specified in terms of increased depreciation of capital, as originally proposed by Greenwood et al. (1988) in a neoclassical setting. Traditionally, the cost of utilization is specified in terms of forgone consumption following Christiano et al. (2005), who studied the effects of monetary policy shocks. The alternative speci cation we consider has two additional implications relative to the traditional one: (i) it has a substantially better fit with the data and (ii) the contribution of investment shocks to the variance of consumption is over three times larger. The contributions to output, investment, and hours, are also relatively higher, suggesting that these shocks may be quantitatively even more important than previous estimates based on the traditional specification.

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Paper provided by Carleton University, Department of Economics in its series Carleton Economic Papers with number 09-09.

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Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: 21 Oct 2009
Date of revision: 09 Aug 2010
Publication status: Published: Revised version in Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Vol. 35, No. 1 (January 2011), pp. 115–130
Handle: RePEc:car:carecp:09-09
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  1. Zheng Liu & Daniel F. Waggoner & Tao Zha, 2009. "Sources of the Great Moderation: shocks, friction, or monetary policy?," Working Paper Series 2009-01, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  2. Smets, Frank & Wouters, Rafael, 2007. "Shocks and Frictions in US Business Cycles: A Bayesian DSGE Approach," CEPR Discussion Papers 6112, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Robert J. Barro & Robert G. King, 1984. "Time-Separable Preferences and Intertemporal-Substitution Models of Business Cycles," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 99(4), pages 817-839.
  4. Alejandro Justiniano & Giorgio E. Primiceri & Andrea Tambalotti, 2008. "Investment shocks and business cycles," Staff Reports 322, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  5. Jesús Fernández-Villaverde, 2009. "The Econometrics of DSGE Models," NBER Working Papers 14677, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Charles L. Evans, 2001. "Nominal rigidities and the dynamic effects of a shock to monetary policy," Working Paper 0107, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
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  8. Jaimovich, Nir & Rebelo, Sérgio, 2006. "Can News About the Future Drive the Business Cycle?," CEPR Discussion Papers 5877, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Andrew T. Levin & Alexei Onatski & John C. Williams & Noah Williams, 2005. "Monetary policy under uncertainty in micro-founded macroeconometric models," Working Paper Series 2005-15, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  10. Christopher J. Erceg & Dale W. Henderson & Andrew T. Levin, 1999. "Optimal monetary policy with staggered wage and price contracts," International Finance Discussion Papers 640, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  11. Miles S. Kimball & Michael Woodford, 1994. "The quantitative analysis of the basic neomonetarist model," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, pages 1241-1289.
  12. Sungbae An & Frank Schorfheide, 2006. "Bayesian analysis of DSGE models," Working Papers 06-5, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  13. King, Robert G. & Plosser, Charles I. & Rebelo, Sergio T., 1988. "Production, growth and business cycles : I. The basic neoclassical model," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2-3), pages 195-232.
  14. Greenwood, Jeremy & Hercowitz, Zvi & Huffman, Gregory W, 1988. "Investment, Capacity Utilization, and the Real Business Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(3), pages 402-17, June.
  15. Stefano Eusepi & Bruce Preston, 2009. "Labor supply heterogeneity and macroeconomic comovement," Staff Reports 399, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  16. 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.
  17. Sungbae An & Frank Schorfheide, 2007. "Bayesian Analysis of DSGE Models—Rejoinder," Econometric Reviews, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 26(2-4), pages 211-219.
  18. Calvo, Guillermo A., 1983. "Staggered prices in a utility-maximizing framework," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 383-398, September.
  19. Francesco Furlanetto & Martin Seneca, 2010. "Investment-specific technology shocks and consumption," Working Paper 2010/30, Norges Bank.
  20. Frank Smets & Raf Wouters, 2003. "An Estimated Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium Model of the Euro Area," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(5), pages 1123-1175, 09.
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