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The Impact of Uncertainty Shocks: Firm Level Estimation and a 9/11 Simulation

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  • Nick Bloom

Abstract

Uncertainty appears to vary strongly over time, temporarily rising by up to 200% around major shocks like the Cuban Missile crisis, the assassination of JFK and 9/11. This paper offers the first structural framework to analyze uncertainty shocks. I build a model with a time varying second moment, which is numerically solved and estimated using firm level data. The parameterized model is then used to simulate a macro uncertainty shock, which produces a rapid drop and rebound in employment, investment and productivity, and a moderate loss in GDP. This temporary impact of a second moment shock is different from the typically persistent impact of a first moment shock, highlighting the importance for policymakers of identifying their relative magnitudes in major shocks. The simulation of an uncertainty shock is then compared to actual 9/11 data, displaying a surprisingly good match.

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  • Nick Bloom, 2006. "The Impact of Uncertainty Shocks: Firm Level Estimation and a 9/11 Simulation," CEP Discussion Papers dp0718, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0718
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    Cited by:

    1. Gourio, Francois & Kashyap, Anil K, 2007. "Investment spikes: New facts and a general equilibrium exploration," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(Supplemen), pages 1-22, September.
    2. Andrew B. Bernard & Stephen J. Redding & Peter K. Schott, 2009. "Products and Productivity," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 111(4), pages 681-709, December.
    3. Nick Bloom & Stephen Bond & John Van Reenen, 2007. "Uncertainty and Investment Dynamics," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(2), pages 391-415.
    4. Francois Gourio, 2007. "Disasters and Recoveries: A Note on the Barro-Rietz Explanation of the Equity Premium Puzzle," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2007-007, Boston University - Department of Economics.
    5. Contreras, Juan, 2006. "An Empirical Model of Factor Adjustment Dynamics," MPRA Paper 9797, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Nick Bloom, 2007. "Uncertainty and the Dynamics of R&D," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 250-255, May.
    7. Nicholas Bloom & Raffaella Sadun & John Van Reenen, 2012. "Americans Do IT Better: US Multinationals and the Productivity Miracle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(1), pages 167-201, February.
    8. Nicholas Bloom, 2009. "The Impact of Uncertainty Shocks," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(3), pages 623-685, May.
    9. William Miles, 2009. "Irreversibility, Uncertainty and Housing Investment," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 38(2), pages 173-182, February.
    10. Marco Lombardi & Raphael A Espinoza & Fabio Fornari, 2009. "The Role of Financial Variables in Predicting Economic Activity in the Euro Area," IMF Working Papers 09/241, International Monetary Fund.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Labor; investment; uncertainty; real options;

    JEL classification:

    • D92 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Intertemporal Firm Choice, Investment, Capacity, and Financing
    • E22 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity
    • D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty
    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models

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