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Oil Shocks and Aggregate Macroeconomic Behavior: The Role of Monetary Policy


  • Herrera, Ana Maria
  • Hamilton, James D.


A recent paper by Bernanke, Gertler and Watson (1997) suggests that monetary policy could be used to eliminate any recessionary consequences of an oil price shock. This paper challenges that conclusion on two grounds. First, we question whether the Federal Reserve actually has the power to implement such a policy; for example, we consider it unlikely that additional money creation would have succeeded in reducing the Fed funds rate by 900 basis points relative to the values seen in 1974. Second, we point out that the size of the effect that Bernanke, Gertler and Watson attribute to oil shocks is substantially smaller than that reported by other researchers, primarily due to their choice of a shorter lag length than used by other researchers. We offer evidence in favor of the longer lag length employed by previous research, and show that, under this specification, even the aggressive Federal Reserve policies proposed would not have succeeded in averting a downturn.

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  • Herrera, Ana Maria & Hamilton, James D., 2001. "Oil Shocks and Aggregate Macroeconomic Behavior: The Role of Monetary Policy," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt4qp0p0v5, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:ucsdec:qt4qp0p0v5

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    Cited by:

    1. Rajeev Dhawan & Karsten Jeske & Pedro Silos, 2010. "Productivity, Energy Prices and the Great Moderation: A New Link," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 13(3), pages 715-724, July.
    2. Francesco Ravazzolo & Philip Rothman, 2013. "Oil and U.S. GDP: A Real‐Time Out‐of‐Sample Examination," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 45(2-3), pages 449-463, March.
    3. Woon Gyu Choi & Yi Wen, 2010. "Dissecting Taylor Rules in a Structural VAR," IMF Working Papers 10/20, International Monetary Fund.
    4. Li, Qiming & Cheng, Ke & Yang, Xiaoguang, 2017. "Response pattern of stock returns to international oil price shocks: From the perspective of China’s oil industrial chain," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 185(P2), pages 1821-1831.
    5. Bernard, Jean-Thomas & Khalaf, Lynda & Kichian, Maral & McMahon, Sébastien, 2008. "Oil Prices: Heavy Tails, Mean Reversion and the Convenience Yield," Cahiers de recherche 0801, GREEN.
    6. Rebeca Jiménez-Rodríguez, 2004. "Oil Price Shocks: Testing for Non-linearity," CSEF Working Papers 115, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
    7. Jose de Gregorio & Oscar Landerretche & Christopher Neilson, 2007. "Another Pass-Through Bites the Dust? Oil Prices and Inflation," ECONOMIA JOURNAL OF THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION, ECONOMIA JOURNAL OF THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION, vol. 0(Spring 20), pages 155-208, January.
    8. Aliyu, Shehu Usman Rano, 2009. "Oil Price Shocks and the Macroeconomy of Nigeria: A Non-linear Approach," MPRA Paper 18726, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 16 Nov 2009.
    9. Anderson, Richard G. & Binner, Jane M. & Schmidt, Vincent A., 2012. "Connectionist-based rules describing the pass-through of individual goods prices into trend inflation in the United States," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 117(1), pages 174-177.
    10. FRIAS-PINEDO, Isidro, 2013. "Oil Price Shocks And The Business Cycle In Spain: Is The 2008 Financial Crisis Different?," Applied Econometrics and International Development, Euro-American Association of Economic Development, vol. 13(2), pages 15-26.
    11. Casassus, Jaime & Ceballos, Diego & Higuera, Freddy, 2010. "Correlation structure between inflation and oil futures returns: An equilibrium approach," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 301-310, December.
    12. Jaime Casassus & Freddy Higuera, 2011. "Stock Return Predictability and Oil Prices," Documentos de Trabajo 406, Instituto de Economia. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile..
    13. Yang, Lucun, 2011. "An Empirical Analysis of Current Account Determinants in Emerging Asian Economies," Cardiff Economics Working Papers E2011/10, Cardiff University, Cardiff Business School, Economics Section.
    14. Mardi Dungey, 2002. "International Shocks and the Role of Domestic Policy in Australia," Australian Journal of Labour Economics (AJLE), Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC), Curtin Business School, vol. 5(2), pages 143-163, June.
    15. Virjinia Jeliazkova, 2010. "Effects of the Dynamics of the Oil Price – Theoretical and Empirical Bases," Economic Studies journal, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences - Economic Research Institute, issue 2, pages 127-165.
    16. Ahmad R. Jalali-Naini & Mehdi Asali, 2004. "Cyclical behaviour and shock-persistence: crude oil prices," OPEC Energy Review, Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, vol. 28(2), pages 107-131, June.
    17. Meenagh, David & Minford, Patrick & Oyekola, Olayinka, 2015. "Oil Prices and the Dynamics of Output and Real Exchange Rate," Cardiff Economics Working Papers E2015/18, Cardiff University, Cardiff Business School, Economics Section.
    18. Hernandez Martinez, Fernando, 2009. "Efectos del incremento del precio del petróleo en la economía española: Análisis de cointegración y de la política monetaria mediante reglas de Taylor
      [Oil price shocks and the spanish economy: Coi
      ," MPRA Paper 18056, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    19. Lescaroux, François, 2008. "Une revue interprétée des élasticités entre le PIB et le prix du pétrole," L'Actualité Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, vol. 84(4), pages 415-447, Décembre.
    20. Mandal, Kumarjit & Bhattacharyya, Indranil & Bhoi, Binod B., 2012. "Is the oil price pass-through in India any different?," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 34(6), pages 832-848.

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