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Investment-Specific News Shocks and U.S. Business Cycles

This paper provides robust evidence that news shocks about future investment-specific technology (IST) constitute a signicant force behind U.S. business cycles. Extending a recent empirical approach to identifying news shocks, we find that positive IST news shocks induce comovement, i.e., raise output, consumption, investment,and hours. These shocks account for 70% of the business cycle variation in output, hours, and consumption, and 60% of the variation in investment, and have played an important role in 9 of the last 10 U.S recessions. IST news shocks also dominate unanticipated IST shocks in accounting for the forecast variance of aggregate variables. The findings have two important implications for research on news driven business cycles. First, they provide strong support for shifting focus to IST news shocks when investigating the role of news (or foresight) in driving business cycles. Second, an important avenue for further research is to consider structural mechanisms that can enhance the role of IST news shocks in estimated dynamic general equilibrium models.

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Paper provided by Carleton University, Department of Economics in its series Carleton Economic Papers with number 12-05.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: 19 Sep 2012
Date of revision: 25 Feb 2013
Publication status: Published: Carleton Economic Papers
Handle: RePEc:car:carecp:12-05
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  1. Barsky, Robert B. & Sims, Eric R., 2011. "News shocks and business cycles," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(3), pages 273-289.
  2. repec:ucp:bknber:9780226304557 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Parantap Basu & Christoph Thoenissen, 2009. "International business cycles and the relative price of investment goods," CDMA Working Paper Series 200905, Centre for Dynamic Macroeconomic Analysis.
  4. Dimitris Papanikolaou, 2011. "Investment Shocks and Asset Prices," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 119(4), pages 639 - 685.
  5. Alejandro Justiniano & Giorgio E. Primiceri & Andrea Tambalotti, 2008. "Investment shocks and business cycles," Working Paper Series WP-08-12, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  6. Susanto Basu & John Fernald & Miles Kimball, 2002. "Are Technology Improvements Contractionary?," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1986, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  7. Jon Faust & Eric M. Leeper, 1994. "When do long-run identifying restrictions give reliable results?," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 94-2, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  8. 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.
  9. Robert J. Gordon, 1990. "The Measurement of Durable Goods Prices," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gord90-1, December.
  10. Paul Beaudry & Deokwoo Nam & Jian Wang, 2011. "Do mood swings drive business cycles and is it rational?," Globalization and Monetary Policy Institute Working Paper 98, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
  11. Hashmat Khan & John Tsoukalas, 2009. "The Quantitative Importance of News Shocks in Estimated DSGE Models," Carleton Economic Papers 09-07, Carleton University, Department of Economics, revised 22 May 2012.
  12. Harald Uhlig, 2004. "Do Technology Shocks Lead to a Fall in Total Hours Worked?," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(2-3), pages 361-371, 04/05.
  13. Alejandro Justiniano & Giorgio E. Primiceri & Andrea Tambalotti, 2009. "Investment shocks and the relative price of investment," Staff Reports 411, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  14. Eric M. Leeper & Todd B. Walker & Shu-Chun Susan Yang, 2011. "Foresight and Information Flows," NBER Working Papers 16951, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Nir Jaimovich & Sergio Rebelo, 2006. "Can News About the Future Drive the Business Cycle?," NBER Working Papers 12537, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Mario Forni and Luca Gambetti, 2010. "Fiscal Foresight and the Effects of Government Spending," Working Papers 460, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. Fernald, John G., 2007. "Trend breaks, long-run restrictions, and contractionary technology improvements," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(8), pages 2467-2485, November.
  20. Jonas D. M. Fisher, 2010. "Comment on "Letting Different Views about Business Cycles Compete"," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2009, Volume 24, pages 457-474 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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