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Are Cyclical Fluctuations in Productivity Due More to Supply Shocks or Demand Shocks?

Measured productivity is strongly procyclical. Real business cycle theories suggest that actual fluctuations in productivity are the source of fluctuations in aggregate output. Keynesian theories maintain that fluctuations in aggregate output come from shocks to aggregate demand. Keynesian theories appeal to labor hoarding or off the production function behavior to explain the procyclicality of productivity. If observed productivity shocks are true productivity shocks, a function of factor prices should covary exactly with productivity. In annual data for United States industries, that function of factor prices and conventionally-measured productivity move together very closely. Moreover, their difference is uncorrelated with aggregate output.

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File URL: http://cowles.econ.yale.edu/P/cd/d08a/d0822.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 822.

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Length: 19 pages
Date of creation: Feb 1987
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in AEA Papers and Proceedings (May 1987), 77(2): 118-124
Handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:822
Note: CFP 677.
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Phone: (203) 432-3702
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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. Long, John B, Jr & Plosser, Charles I, 1983. "Real Business Cycles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(1), pages 39-69, February.
  2. Prescott, Edward C., 1986. "Theory ahead of business-cycle measurement," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 11-44, January.
  3. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1982. "Time to Build and Aggregate Fluctuations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1345-70, November.
  4. Fischer, Stanley, 1977. "Long-Term Contracts, Rational Expectations, and the Optimal Money Supply Rule," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(1), pages 191-205, February.
  5. Robert E. Hall, 1986. "The Relation Between Price and Marginal Cost in U.S. Industry," NBER Working Papers 1785, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Hendrik S. Houthhakker, 1979. "Growth and Inflation: Analysis by Industry," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 10(1), pages 241-257.
  7. Lawrence H. Summers, 1986. "Some skeptical observations on real business cycle theory," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Fall, pages 23-27.
  8. Matthew D. Shapiro, 1986. "Investment, Output, and the Cost of Capital," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 17(1), pages 111-164.
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