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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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  1. Jesús Fernández-Villaverde & Pablo Guerrón-Quintana & Juan F. Rubio-Ramírez, 2010. "Reading the Recent Monetary History of the U.S., 1959-2007," PIER Working Paper Archive 10-016, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  2. Valerie A. Ramey & Daniel J. Vine, 2005. "Declining Volatility in the U.S. Automobile Industry," NBER Working Papers 11596, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  6. Jes�s Fern�ndez-Villaverde & Juan F. Rubio-Ram�rez, 2007. "Estimating Macroeconomic Models: A Likelihood Approach," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(4), pages 1059-1087.
  7. Jordi Galí & Luca Gambetti, 2006. "On the sources of the Great Moderation," Economics Working Papers 1041, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Jun 2007.
  8. Fermanian, Jean-David & Salani , Bernard, 2004. "A Nonparametric Simulated Maximum Likelihood Estimation Method," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 20(04), pages 701-734, August.
  9. 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.
  10. S. Boragan Aruoba & Jesus Fernandez-Villaverde & Juan F. Rubio-Ramirez, 2003. "Comparing Solution Methods for Dynamic Equilibrium Economies," PIER Working Paper Archive 04-003, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  11. Alejandro Justiniano & Giorgio E. Primiceri, 2006. "The Time Varying Volatility of Macroeconomic Fluctuations," NBER Working Papers 12022, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Roger E. A. Farmer & Daniel F. Waggoner & Tao Zha, 2006. "Indeterminacy in a Forward Looking Regime Switching Model," NBER Working Papers 12540, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Sangjoon Kim & Neil Shephard & Siddhartha Chib, 1996. "Stochastic Volatility: Likelihood Inference And Comparison With Arch Models," Econometrics 9610002, EconWPA.
  14. Farmer, Roger E.A. & Waggoner, Daniel F. & Zha, Tao, 2011. "Minimal state variable solutions to Markov-switching rational expectations models," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 35(12), pages 2150-2166.
  15. Jesus Fernandez-Villaverde & Pablo Guerron-Quintana & Juan F. Rubio-Ramírez & Martin Uribe, 2009. "Risk Matters: The Real Effects of Volatility Shocks," PIER Working Paper Archive 09-013, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  16. Francesco Bianchi, 2010. "Regime Switches, Agents' Beliefs, and Post-World War II U.S. Macroeconomic Dynamics," Working Papers 10-39, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  17. Christopher A. Sims & Tao Zha, 2005. "Were There Regime Switches in U.S. Monetary Policy?," Working Papers 92, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..
  18. Klenow, Peter J. & Malin, Benjamin A., 2010. "Microeconomic Evidence on Price-Setting," Handbook of Monetary Economics, in: Benjamin M. Friedman & Michael Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Monetary Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 6, pages 231-284 Elsevier.
  19. Rogerson, Richard & Wallenius, Johanna, 2009. "Micro and macro elasticities in a life cycle model with taxes," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(6), pages 2277-2292, November.
  20. Rochelle M. Edge & Michael T. Kiley & Jean-Philippe Laforte, 2007. "Documentation of the Research and Statistics Division’s estimated DSGE model of the U.S. economy: 2006 version," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2007-53, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  21. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 2003. "Has the Business Cycle Changed and Why?," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2002, Volume 17, pages 159-230 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Fernandez-Villaverde, Jesus & Rubio-Ramirez, Juan F., 2006. "Solving DSGE models with perturbation methods and a change of variables," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 30(12), pages 2509-2531, December.
  23. 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.
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