IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/ecl/corcae/02-14.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

What Does It Take to Explain Procyclical Productivity

Author

Listed:
  • Wen, Yi

    (Cornell U)

Abstract

Labor productivity comoves strongly with output, leads output and employment, and is only weakly correlated with employment at the businesscycle frequency. Procyclical productivity is observed in virtually all countries and industries, and it is observed at both the business-cycle frequency and the seasonal frequency. Such prominent features of economic °uctuations present a litmus test for business cycle theory. The conventional explanations for procyclical labor productivity are factor hoarding (labor hoarding and capacity utilization) or increasing returns to scale. Existing equilibrium-business cycle theory explain procyclical labor productivity by technology shocks. The sheer magnitude of excess volatilities in productivity relative to employment seems to defy explanations from increasing returns alone. The technology-shock explanation, on the other hand, comes perilously close to assuming the conclusion. Furthermore, even in periods of pure demand shocks, labor productivity remains procyclical. Applying general equilibrium theory, this paper shows that neither technology shocks nor increasing returns to scale are necessary for understanding procyclical productivity. Factor hoarding is su±cient for demand shocks to induce procyclical productivity at both aggregate and disaggregate levels despite constant or even diminishing returns to scale.

Suggested Citation

  • Wen, Yi, 2002. "What Does It Take to Explain Procyclical Productivity," Working Papers 02-14, Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecl:corcae:02-14
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://cae.economics.cornell.edu/prod6.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Shapiro, Matthew D, 1993. "Cyclical Productivity and the Workweek of Capital," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(2), pages 229-233, May.
    2. Hamermesh, Daniel S, 1989. "Labor Demand and the Structure of Adjustment Costs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 674-689, September.
    3. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1970. "Capacity, Overtime, and Empirical Production Functions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 60(2), pages 23-27, May.
    4. Hansen, Gary D., 1985. "Indivisible labor and the business cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 309-327, November.
    5. Harrison, Sharon G. & Weder, Mark, 2006. "Did sunspot forces cause the Great Depression?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(7), pages 1327-1339, October.
    6. Matthew D. Shapiro, 1986. "The Dynamic Demand for Capital and Labor," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 101(3), pages 513-542.
    7. Julio J. Rotemberg & Lawrence H. Summers, 1990. "Inflexible Prices and Procyclical Productivity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(4), pages 851-874.
    8. Lee E. Ohanian, 2002. "Why did productivity fall so much during the Great Depression?," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Spr.
    9. Sbordone, Argia M, 1997. "Interpreting the Procyclical Productivity of Manufacturing Sectors: External Effects or Labor Hoarding?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 29(1), pages 26-45, February.
    10. Evans, Charles L., 1992. "Productivity shocks and real business cycles," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 191-208, April.
    11. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1982. "Time to Build and Aggregate Fluctuations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1345-1370, November.
    12. Daniel S. Hamermesh & Gerard A. Pfann, 1996. "Adjustment Costs in Factor Demand," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(3), pages 1264-1292, September.
    13. Rogerson, Richard, 1988. "Indivisible labor, lotteries and equilibrium," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 3-16, January.
    14. Sargent, Thomas J, 1978. "Estimation of Dynamic Labor Demand Schedules under Rational Expectations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(6), pages 1009-1044, December.
    15. Christiano, Lawrence J & Eichenbaum, Martin, 1992. "Current Real-Business-Cycle Theories and Aggregate Labor-Market Fluctuations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 430-450, June.
    16. Sbordone, Argia M., 1996. "Cyclical productivity in a model of labor hoarding," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 331-361, October.
    17. Constantinides, George M, 1990. "Habit Formation: A Resolution of the Equity Premium Puzzle," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(3), pages 519-543, June.
    18. Miron, Jeffrey A & Beaulieu, J Joseph, 1996. "What Have Macroeconomists Learned about Business Cycles form the Study of Seasonal Cycles?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(1), pages 54-66, February.
    19. Hall, Robert E, 1988. "The Relation between Price and Marginal Cost in U.S. Industry," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(5), pages 921-947, October.
    20. Greenwood, Jeremy & Hercowitz, Zvi & Huffman, Gregory W, 1988. "Investment, Capacity Utilization, and the Real Business Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(3), pages 402-417, June.
    21. Wen, Yi, 2002. "Fickle Consumers versus Random Technology: Explaining Domestic and International Comovements," Working Papers 02-01, Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics.
    22. Barsky, Robert B & Miron, Jeffrey A, 1989. "The Seasonal Cycle and the Business Cycle," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(3), pages 503-534, June.
    23. Mankiw, N Gregory, 1989. "Real Business Cycles: A New Keynesian Perspective," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 79-90, Summer.
    24. 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.
    25. Wen, Yi, 2005. "Understanding the inventory cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(8), pages 1533-1555, November.
    26. Wen, Yi, 1998. "Capacity Utilization under Increasing Returns to Scale," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 7-36, July.
    27. Walter Y. Oi, 1962. "Labor as a Quasi-Fixed Factor," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70, pages 538-538.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Jordi Galí & Thijs van Rens, 2008. "The vanishing procyclicality of labor productivity," Economics Working Papers 1230, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Jul 2010.
    2. Sweder van Wijnbergen & Tim Willems, 2013. "Imperfect information, lagged labour adjustment, and the Great Moderation," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 65(2), pages 219-239, April.
    3. Wen, Yi, 2006. "Demand shocks and economic fluctuations," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 90(3), pages 378-383, March.
    4. Hashmat Khan & John Tsoukalas, 2005. "Technology Shocks and UK Business Cycles," Macroeconomics 0512006, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Luís Aguiar-Conraria & Yi Wen, 2007. "Understanding the Large Negative Impact of Oil Shocks," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 39(4), pages 925-944, June.
    6. Wen, Yi, 2003. "On the Optimal Volume of Labor Hoarding," Working Papers 03-14, Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics.
    7. Luís Francisco Aguiar-Conraria & Yi Wen, 2005. "Understanding the Impact of Oil Shocks," NIPE Working Papers 2/2005, NIPE - Universidade do Minho.
    8. Wang, Pengfei & Wen, Yi & Xu, Zhiwei, 2014. "What inventories tell us about aggregate fluctuations—A tractable approach to (S,s) policies," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 196-217.
    9. Wang, Peng-fei & Wen, Yi, 2006. "Another look at sticky prices and output persistence," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 30(12), pages 2533-2552, December.
    10. Kevin x.d. Huang & Jie Chen & Zhe Li & Jianfei Sun, 2014. "Financial Conditions and Slow Recoveries," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 14-00004, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
    11. Wang, Peng-fei & Wen, Yi, 2005. "Endogenous money or sticky prices?--comment on monetary non-neutrality and inflation dynamics," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 29(8), pages 1361-1383, August.
    12. Wen, Yi, 2005. "Understanding the inventory cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(8), pages 1533-1555, November.
    13. Wen, Yi, 2007. "By force of demand: Explaining international comovements," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 1-23, January.
    14. Jiang, Mingming, 2016. "By force of demand: Explaining cyclical fluctuations of international trade and government spending," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 249-267.
    15. repec:eee:ecolet:v:160:y:2017:i:c:p:29-32 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Cook, David & Xu, Juanyi, 2015. "Eurosclerosis and international business cycles," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(1), pages 54-67.
    17. Yi Wen, 2005. "By force of demand: explaining international comovements and the saving-investment correlation puzzle," Working Papers 2005-043, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

    More about this item

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ecl:corcae:02-14. 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: (). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/cacorus.html .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.