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The Welfare Cost of Macroeconomic Uncertainty in the Post-War Period

  • Franco Neto, Afonso Arinos de Mello
  • Issler, João Victor
  • Guillén, Osmani Teixeira de Carvalho

Lucas (1987) has shown the surprising result that the welfare cost of business cycles is quite small. Using standard assumptions on preferences and a fully-fledged econometric model we computed the welfare costs of macroeconomic uncertainty for the post-WWII era using the multivariate Beveridge-Nelson decomposition for trends and cycles, which considers not only business-cycle uncertainty but also uncertainty from the stochastic trend in consumption. The post-WWII period is relatively quiet, with the welfare costs of uncertainty being about 0.9% of per-capita consumption. Although changing the decomposition method changed substantially initial results, the welfare cost of uncertainty is qualitatively small in the post-WWII era - about $175.00 a year per-capita in the U.S. We also computed the marginal welfare cost of macroeconomic uncertainty using this same technique. It is about twice as large as the welfare cost - $350.00 a year per-capita.

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Paper provided by FGV/EPGE Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil) in its series Economics Working Papers (Ensaios Economicos da EPGE) with number 624.

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Date of creation: 01 Sep 2006
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Handle: RePEc:fgv:epgewp:624
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