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Business Cycle Accounting

  • V. V. Chari
  • Patrick Kehoe
  • Ellen McGrattan

This paper proposes a simple method for guiding researchers in developing quantitative models of economic fluctuations. We show that a large class of models, including models with various frictions, are equivalent to a prototype growth model with time-varying wedges that, at least at face value, look like time-varying productivity, labor taxes, and capital income taxes. We label the time-varying wedges as efficiency wedges, labor wedges, and investment wedges. We use data to measure these wedges and then feed them back into the prototype growth model. We then assess the fraction of fluctuations accounted for by these wedges during the great depressions of the 1930s in the United States, Germany, and Canada. We find that the efficiency and labor wedges in combination account for essentially all of the declines and subsequent recoveries. Investment wedges play, at best, a minor role. (Replaced by Staff Report No: 328)

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Paper provided by UCLA Department of Economics in its series Levine's Bibliography with number 122247000000000560.

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Date of creation: 06 Nov 2004
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Handle: RePEc:cla:levrem:122247000000000560
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  1. V. V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe & Ellen R. McGrattan, 2003. "Accounting for the Great Depression," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Spr, pages 2-8.
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  7. Marianne Baxter & Mario J. Crucini, 1994. "Business Cycles and the Asset Structure of Foreign Trade," NBER Working Papers 4975, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. David K. Backus & Patrick J. Kehoe & Finn E. Kydland, 1991. "International real business cycles," Staff Report 146, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  9. Braun, R. Anton, 1994. "How large is the optimal inflation tax?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 201-214, October.
  10. Andreas Hornstein & Edward C. Prescott, 1989. "The firm and the plant in general equilibrium theory," Staff Report 126, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  11. Susanto Basu & John Fernald, 2001. "Why Is Productivity Procyclical? Why Do We Care?," NBER Chapters, in: New Developments in Productivity Analysis, pages 225-302 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Julio J. Rotemberg & Michael Woodford, 1991. "Markups and the Business Cycle," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1991, Volume 6, pages 63-140 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Jordi Galí & Mark Gertler & J. David López-Salido, 2007. "Markups, Gaps, and the Welfare Costs of Business Fluctuations," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(1), pages 44-59, November.
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  18. Parkin, Michael, 1988. "A method for determining whether parameters in aggregative models are structural," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 215-252, January.
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  23. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum, 1992. "Liquidity Effects and the Monetary Transmission Mechanism," NBER Working Papers 3974, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  25. James A. Schmitz Jr., 2005. "What Determines Productivity? Lessons from the Dramatic Recovery of the U.S. and Canadian Iron Ore Industries Following Their Early 1980s Crisis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(3), pages 582-625, June.
  26. Ingram, Beth Fisher & Kocherlakota, Narayana R. & Savin, N. E., 1994. "Explaining business cycles: A multiple-shock approach," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 415-428, December.
  27. Harold L. Cole & Lee E. Ohanian, 1999. "The Great Depression in the United States from a neoclassical perspective," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Win, pages 2-24.
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