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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. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Contreras, Juan, 2006. "An Empirical Model of Factor Adjustment Dynamics," MPRA Paper 9797, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. 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.
    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, 2009. "The Impact of Uncertainty Shocks," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(3), pages 623-685, May.
    8. 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.
    9. Mr. Raphael A Espinoza & Marco Lombardi & Fabio Fornari, 2009. "The Role of Financial Variables in Predicting Economic Activity in the Euro Area," IMF Working Papers 2009/241, International Monetary Fund.
    10. William Miles, 2009. "Irreversibility, Uncertainty and Housing Investment," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 38(2), pages 173-182, February.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Labor; investment; uncertainty; real options;
    All these keywords.

    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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