IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Cyclical changes in firm volatility

  • Emmanuel De Veirman
  • Andrew Levin

We estimate changes in firm-specific volatility in sales and earnings growth of US firms. We do so using an approach which better captures firm-specific volatility than commonly used dispersion measures do. Our results do not lend strong support to the common view that firm-specific volatility is counter-cyclical. The role of firmspecific volatility in explaining aggregate fluctuations is empirically very limited. This is evidence against the implication of irreversibility and financial accelerator theories that increases in firm-specific volatility cause macroeconomic downturns. Our measure also provides evidence on trends in firm volatility. Earlier findings of a trend increase in the volatility of publicly traded firms are completely overturned when we control for changes in sample composition. At the firm level, the 2007-2009 recession did not end the Great Moderation.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department in its series DNB Working Papers with number 408.

in new window

Date of creation: Jan 2014
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:dnb:dnbwpp:408
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Postbus 98, 1000 AB Amsterdam

Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Ariel Burstein & Christian Hellwig, 2008. "Welfare Costs of Inflation in a Menu Cost Model," 2008 Meeting Papers 1, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  2. Margaret M. McConnell & Gabriel Perez Quiros, 1998. "Output fluctuations in the United States: what has changed since the early 1980s?," Staff Reports 41, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  3. CASTRO, Rui & CLEMENTI, Gian Luca & LEE, Yoonsoo, 2010. "Cross-Sectoral Variation in Firm-Level Idiosyncratic Risk," Cahiers de recherche 15-2010, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
  4. Olivier Blanchard & John Simon, 2001. "The Long and Large Decline in U.S. Output Volatility," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 32(1), pages 135-174.
  5. Jonathan L. Willis & Peter J. Klenow, 2007. "Real Rigidities and Nominal Price Changes," 2007 Meeting Papers 844, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  6. Emmanuel De Veirman, 2007. "Which Nonlinearity in the Phillips Curve? The Absence of Accelerating Deflation in Japan," Economics Working Paper Archive 536, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
  7. Fink, Jason & Fink, Kristin E. & Grullon, Gustavo & Weston, James P., 2010. "What Drove the Increase in Idiosyncratic Volatility during the Internet Boom?," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 45(05), pages 1253-1278, October.
  8. Stephen Davis & John Haltiwanger & Ron Jarmin & Javier Miranda, 2006. "Volatility and Dispersion in Business Growth Rates: Publicly Traded Versus Privately Held Firms," Working Papers 06-17, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  9. Nicholas Bloom & Max Floetotto & Nir Jaimovich & Itay Saporta-Eksten & Stephen Terry, 2013. "Really uncertain business cycles," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 51526, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  10. Yasushi Hamao & Jianping Mei & Yexiao Xu, 2007. "Unique Symptoms of Japanese Stagnation: An Equity Market Perspective," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 39(4), pages 901-923, 06.
  11. Roberto Motto & Massimo Rostagno & Lawrence J. Christiano, 2010. "Financial Factors in Economic Fluctuations," 2010 Meeting Papers 141, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  12. Steven J. Davis & James A. Kahn, 2008. "Interpreting the Great Moderation: Changes in the Volatility of Economic Activity at the Macro and Micro Levels," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(4), pages 155-80, Fall.
  13. Emmanuel De Veirman & Andrew Levin, 2009. "Measuring Changes in Firm-Level Volatility: An Application to Japan," Reserve Bank of New Zealand Discussion Paper Series DP2009/20, Reserve Bank of New Zealand.
  14. Jordi Gali & Luca Gambetti, 2008. "On the Sources of the Great Moderation," NBER Working Papers 14171, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Ferre De Graeve, 2006. "The External Finance Premium and the Macroeconomy: US post-WWII Evidence," Computing in Economics and Finance 2006 84, Society for Computational Economics.
  16. Stephen G. Cecchetti & Alfonso Flores-Lagunes & Stefan Krause, 2006. "Assessing the Sources of Changes in the Volatility of Real Growth," NBER Working Papers 11946, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Sandeep Mazumder & Laurence M. Ball, 2011. "Inflation Dynamics and the Great Recession," IMF Working Papers 11/121, International Monetary Fund.
  18. James Costain & Anton Nakov, 2011. "Price Adjustments in a General Model of State‐Dependent Pricing," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 43, pages 385-406, 03.
  19. R?diger Bachmann & Steffen Elstner & Eric R. Sims, 2013. "Uncertainty and Economic Activity: Evidence from Business Survey Data," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 217-49, April.
  20. Jean Boivin & Marc P. Giannoni & Ilian Mihov, 2009. "Sticky Prices and Monetary Policy: Evidence from Disaggregated US Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 350-84, March.
  21. Mark Gertler & John Leahy, 2008. "A Phillips Curve with an Ss Foundation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(3), pages 533-572, 06.
  22. Karen E. Dynan & Douglas W. Elmendorf & Daniel E. Sichel, 2005. "Can financial innovation help to explain the reduced volatility of economic activity?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2005-54, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  23. Diego Comin & Sunil Mulani, 2006. "Diverging Trends in Aggregate and Firm Volatility," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(2), pages 374-383, May.
  24. Yexiao Xu & Burton G. Malkiel, 2003. "Investigating the Behavior of Idiosyncratic Volatility," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 76(4), pages 613-644, October.
  25. Fama, Eugene F. & French, Kenneth R., 2004. "New lists: Fundamentals and survival rates," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 229-269, August.
  26. Mikhail Golosov & Robert E. Lucas, 2003. "Menu Costs and Phillips Curves," NBER Working Papers 10187, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  27. John Y. Campbell, 2001. "Have Individual Stocks Become More Volatile? An Empirical Exploration of Idiosyncratic Risk," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(1), pages 1-43, 02.
  28. Chang-Jin Kim & Charles R. Nelson, 1999. "Has The U.S. Economy Become More Stable? A Bayesian Approach Based On A Markov-Switching Model Of The Business Cycle," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(4), pages 608-616, November.
  29. Nicholas Bloom, 2009. "The Impact of Uncertainty Shocks," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(3), pages 623-685, 05.
  30. Brown, Gregory & Kapadia, Nishad, 2007. "Firm-specific risk and equity market development," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 358-388, May.
  31. Takashi Senda & Julie K Smith, 2008. "Inflation History And The Sacrifice Ratio: Episode-Specific Evidence," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 26(3), pages 409-419, 07.
  32. Rüdiger Bachmann & Christian Bayer, 2011. "Uncertainty Business Cycles - Really?," NBER Working Papers 16862, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  33. DeFina, Robert H, 1991. "International Evidence on a New Keynesian Theory of the Output-Inflation Trade-Off," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 23(3), pages 410-22, August.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:dnb:dnbwpp:408. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Rob Vet)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.