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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. Luca Gambetti & Jordi Galí, 2007. "On the sources of the Great Moderation," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Nov.
  2. Farmer, Roger E A & Waggoner, Daniel F & Zha, Tao, 2006. "Indeterminacy in a Forward Looking Regime Switching Model," CEPR Discussion Papers 5919, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  4. Jesús Fernández-Villaverde & Juan F. Rubio-Ramirez, 2006. "Estimating Macroeconomic Models: A Likelihood Approach," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000849, UCLA Department of Economics.
  5. 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.
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  7. 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.
  8. Daniel J. Vine & Valerie A. Ramey, 2006. "Declining Volatility in the U.S. Automobile Industry," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1876-1889, December.
  9. 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.).
  10. Roger E. A. Farmer & Daniel F. Waggoner & Tao Zha, 2010. "Minimal State Variable Solutions to Markov-switching Rational Expectations Models," Emory Economics 1003, Department of Economics, Emory University (Atlanta).
  11. S. B. Aruoba & Jesús Fernández-Villaverde & Juan F. Rubio-Ramirez, 2005. "Comparing Solution Methods for Dynamic Equilibrium Economies," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000855, UCLA Department of Economics.
  12. Jesus Fernández-Villaverde & Pablo Guerrón-Quintana & Juan F. Rubio-Ramírez., 2010. "Reading the recent monetary history of the U.S., 1959-2007," Working Papers 10-15, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  13. Sangjoon Kim & Neil Shephard, 1994. "Stochastic volatility: likelihood inference and comparison with ARCH models," Economics Papers 3., Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  14. Jesús Fernández-Villaverde & Pablo A. Guerrón-Quintana & Juan Rubio-Ramírez & Martín Uribe, 2009. "Risk Matters: The Real Effects of Volatility Shocks," NBER Working Papers 14875, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Francesco Bianchi, 2012. "Regime Switches, Agents’ Beliefs, and Post-World War II U.S. Macroeconomic Dynamics," Working Papers 12-04, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  16. Peter J. Klenow & Benjamin A. Malin, 2010. "Microeconomic Evidence on Price-Setting," NBER Working Papers 15826, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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