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Fortune or Virtue: Time-Variant Volatilities Versus Parameter Drifting in U.S. Data

  • Fernández-Villaverde, Jesús
  • Guerron-Quintana, Pablo A.
  • Rubio-Ramírez, Juan Francisco

This paper compares the role of stochastic volatility versus changes in monetary policy rules in accounting for the time-varying volatility of U.S. aggregate data. Of special interest to us is understanding the sources of the great moderation of business cycle fluctuations that the U.S. economy experienced between 1984 and 2007. To explore this issue, we build a medium-scale dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) model with both stochastic volatility and parameter drifting in the Taylor rule and we estimate it non-linearly using U.S. data and Bayesian methods. Methodologically, we show how to confront such a rich model with the data by exploiting the structure of the high-order approximation to the decision rules that characterize the equilibrium of the economy. Our main empirical findings are: 1) even after controlling for stochastic volatility (and there is a fair amount of it), there is overwhelming evidence of changes in monetary policy during the analyzed period; 2) however, these changes in monetary policy mattered little for the great moderation; 3) most of the great performance of the U.S. economy during the 1990s was a result of good shocks; and 4) the response of monetary policy to inflation under Burns, Miller, and Greenspan was similar, while it was much higher under Volcker.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 7813.

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Date of creation: May 2010
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7813
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  10. Jesús Fernández-Villaverde & Juan F. Rubio-Ramírez, 2008. "How Structural Are Structural Parameters?," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2007, Volume 22, pages 83-137 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Galí, Jordi & Gambetti, Luca, 2008. "On the Sources of the Great Moderation," CEPR Discussion Papers 6632, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Aruoba, S. Boragan & Fernandez-Villaverde, Jesus & Rubio-Ramirez, Juan F., 2006. "Comparing solution methods for dynamic equilibrium economies," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 30(12), pages 2477-2508, December.
  13. Roger E. A. Farmer & Daniel F. Waggoner & Tao Zha, 2009. "Understanding Markov-switching rational expectations models," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2009-05, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
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  17. Koop, Gary & Pesaran, M. Hashem & Potter, Simon M., 1996. "Impulse response analysis in nonlinear multivariate models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 119-147, September.
  18. Jesús Fernández-Villaverde & Juan F. Rubio-Ramirez, 2006. "Estimating Macroeconomic Models: A Likelihood Approach," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000849, UCLA Department of Economics.
  19. Fabio Canova & Luca Gambetti, 2003. "Structural changes in the US economy: is there a role for monetary policy?," Economics Working Papers 918, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Apr 2008.
  20. Troy Davig & Eric M. Leeper, 2006. "Generalizing the Taylor Principle," Caepr Working Papers 2006-001, Center for Applied Economics and Policy Research, Economics Department, Indiana University Bloomington.
  21. Fernández-Villaverde, Jesús & Guerron-Quintana, Pablo A. & Rubio-Ramírez, Juan Francisco, 2010. "Reading the Recent Monetary History of the U.S., 1959-2007," CEPR Discussion Papers 7812, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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