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The Return to Capital and the Business Cycle

  • Paul Gomme


    (Department of Economics, Concordia University)

  • B. Ravikumar


    (Department of Economics, University of Iowa)

  • Peter Rupert


    (Department of Economics, University of California, Santa Barbara)

A widely cited failing of real business cycle models is their inability to account for the cyclical patterns of financial variables. Perhaps less well known is the fact that the return to capital and equity are identical in the neoclassical growth model. This paper constructs a measure of the return to business capital for the U.S. The S&P 500 return is roughly six times more volatile than the return to business capital. Owing to the equivalence between the returns to capital and equity in the neoclassical growth model, papers in the real business cycle literature that successfully account for the time series variation in the S&P 500 return must fail to account for the time series properties of the return to capital. A fairly basic real business cycle model captures most of the observed variability in the return to capital. What is needed is a theory of the stock market that breaks the equivalence between the returns to equity and capital. Forthcoming, Review of Economic Dynamics

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Paper provided by Concordia University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 08002.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2008
Date of revision: 23 Sep 2010
Handle: RePEc:crd:wpaper:08002
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  1. Ellen R. McGrattan & Edward C. Prescott, 2003. "Average debt and equity returns: puzzling?," Staff Report 313, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  2. Peter Rupert & Richard Rogerson & Randall Wright, 1994. "Estimating substitution elasticities in household production models," Staff Report 186, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  3. Lawrence J. Christiano & Michele Boldrin & Jonas D. M. Fisher, 2001. "Habit Persistence, Asset Returns, and the Business Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 149-166, March.
  4. Greenwood, J. & Hercowitz, Z., 1991. "The Allocation of Capital and Time Over the Business Cycles," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 9104, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
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  9. David Carey & Harry Tchilinguirian, 2000. "Average Effective Tax Rates on Capital, Labour and Consumption," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 258, OECD Publishing.
  10. Hercowitz, Z., 1992. "Macroeconomic Implication of Investment-Specific Technological Change," Papers 13-92, Tel Aviv - the Sackler Institute of Economic Studies.
  11. Paul Gomme & Finn E. Kydland & Peter Rupert, 2001. "Home Production Meets Time to Build," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(5), pages 1115-1131, October.
  12. Ellen R. McGrattan, 1991. "The macroeconomic effects of distortionary taxation," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 37, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
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  18. Paul Gomme & Paul Klein, 2009. "Second-order approximation of dynamic models without the use of tensors," Working Papers 09004, Concordia University, Department of Economics, revised 28 Apr 2010.
  19. Hansen, Gary D., 1985. "Indivisible labor and the business cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 309-327, November.
  20. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1982. "Time to Build and Aggregate Fluctuations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1345-70, November.
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