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Three Strikes and You're Out: Reply to Cooper and Willis

Cooper and Willis (2003) is the latest in a sequence of criticisms of our methodology for estimating aggregate nonlinearities when microeconomic adjustment is lumpy. Their case is based on "reproducing" our main findings using artificial data generated by a model where microeconomic agents face quadratic adjustment costs. That is, they supposedly find our results where they should not be found. The three claims on which they base their case are incorrect. Their mistakes range from misinterpreting their own simulation results to failing to understand the context in which our procedures should be applied. They also claim that our approach assumes that employment decisions depend on the gap between the target and current level of unemployment. This is incorrect as well, since the 'gap approach' has been derived formally from at least as sophisticated microeconomic models as the one they present. On a more positive note, the correct interpretation of Cooper and Willis's results shows that our procedures are surprisingly robust to significant departures from the assumptions made in our original derivations.

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File URL: http://cowles.econ.yale.edu/P/cd/d14b/d1456.pdf
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Paper provided by Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University in its series Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers with number 1456.

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Length: 13 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2004
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in American Economic Review (September 2004), 94(4): 1238-1244
Handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:1456
Contact details of provider: Postal: Yale University, Box 208281, New Haven, CT 06520-8281 USA
Phone: (203) 432-3702
Fax: (203) 432-6167
Web page: http://cowles.econ.yale.edu/

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Order Information: Postal: Cowles Foundation, Yale University, Box 208281, New Haven, CT 06520-8281 USA

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  1. Ricardo J. Caballero & Eduardo M.R.A. Engel, 1992. "Microeconomic Adjustment Hazards and Aggregate Dynamics," NBER Working Papers 4090, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Sanford J. Grossman & Guy Laroque, 1987. "Asset Pricing and Optimal Portfolio Choice in the Presence of Illiquid Durable Consumption Goods," NBER Working Papers 2369, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Julio Rotemberg, 1987. "The New Keynesian Microfoundations," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1987, Volume 2, pages 69-116 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Russell Cooper & Jonathan L. Willis, 2003. "The economics of labor adjustment: mind the gap," Staff Report 310, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  5. Khan, Aubhik & Thomas, Julia K., 2003. "Nonconvex factor adjustments in equilibrium business cycle models: do nonlinearities matter?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 331-360, March.
  6. Marcelo Veracierto, 1998. "Plant level irreversible investment and equilibrium business cycles," Working Paper Series WP-98-1, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  7. Dixit, Avinash, 1991. "A simplified treatment of the theory of optimal regulation of Brownian motion," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 657-673, October.
  8. Calvo, Guillermo A., 1983. "Staggered prices in a utility-maximizing framework," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 383-398, September.
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