IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/fgv/epgewp/729.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

On the welfare costs of business-cycle fluctuations and economic-growth variation in the 20th century

Author

Listed:
  • Guillen, Osmani Teixeira Carvalho
  • Issler, João Victor
  • Franco Neto, Afonso Arinos de Mello

Abstract

Lucas (1987) has shown a surprising result in business-cycle research: the welfare cost of business cycles are very small. Our paper has several original contributions. First, in computing welfare costs, we propose a novel setup that separates the effects of uncertainty stemming from business-cycle fluctuations and economic-growth variation. Second, we extend the sample from which to compute the moments of consumption: the whole of the literature chose primarily to work with post-WWII data. For this period, actual consumption is already a result of counter-cyclical policies, and is potentially smoother than what it otherwise have been in their absence. So, we employ also pre-WWII data. Third, we take an econometric approach and compute explicitly the asymptotic standard deviation of welfare costs using the Delta Method. Estimates of welfare costs show major differences for the pre-WWII and the post-WWII era. They can reach up to 15 times for reasonable parameter values -β=0.985, and ∅=5. For example, in the pre-WWII period (1901-1941), welfare cost estimates are 0.31% of consumption if we consider only permanent shocks and 0.61% of consumption if we consider only transitory shocks. In comparison, the post-WWII era is much quieter: welfare costs of economic growth are 0.11% and welfare costs of business cycles are 0.037% - the latter being very close to the estimate in Lucas (0.040%). Estimates of marginal welfare costs are roughly twice the size of the total welfare costs. For the pre-WWII era, marginal welfare costs of economic-growth and business- cycle fluctuations are respectively 0.63% and 1.17% of per-capita consumption. The same figures for the post-WWII era are, respectively, 0.21% and 0.07% of per-capita consumption.

Suggested Citation

  • Guillen, Osmani Teixeira Carvalho & Issler, João Victor & Franco Neto, Afonso Arinos de Mello, 2012. "On the welfare costs of business-cycle fluctuations and economic-growth variation in the 20th century," FGV/EPGE Economics Working Papers (Ensaios Economicos da EPGE) 729, FGV/EPGE - Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
  • Handle: RePEc:fgv:epgewp:729
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://bibliotecadigital.fgv.br/dspace/bitstream/10438/9320/5/On-the-Welfare-Costs-of-Business-Cycle-Fluctuations-and-Economic-Growth-Variation-in-the-20th-Century.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Ramey, Garey & Ramey, Valerie A, 1995. "Cross-Country Evidence on the Link between Volatility and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1138-1151, December.
    2. Issler, Joao Victor & Vahid, Farshid, 2001. "Common cycles and the importance of transitory shocks to macroeconomic aggregates," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 449-475, June.
    3. Beveridge, Stephen & Nelson, Charles R., 1981. "A new approach to decomposition of economic time series into permanent and transitory components with particular attention to measurement of the `business cycle'," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 151-174.
    4. Jim Dolmas, 1998. "Risk Preferences and the Welfare Cost of Business Cycles," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 1(3), pages 646-676, July.
    5. Hall, Robert E, 1978. "Stochastic Implications of the Life Cycle-Permanent Income Hypothesis: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(6), pages 971-987, December.
    6. Vahid, F & Engle, Robert F, 1993. "Common Trends and Common Cycles," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 8(4), pages 341-360, Oct.-Dec..
    7. TallariniJr., Thomas D., 2000. "Risk-sensitive real business cycles," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 507-532, June.
    8. John Campbell & Angus Deaton, 1989. "Why is Consumption So Smooth?," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(3), pages 357-373.
    9. Fernando Alvarez & Urban J. Jermann, 2004. "Using Asset Prices to Measure the Cost of Business Cycles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(6), pages 1223-1256, December.
    10. Hanno Lustig & Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh & Adrien Verdelhan, 2013. "The Wealth-Consumption Ratio," Review of Asset Pricing Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 3(1), pages 38-94.
    11. Obstfeld, Maurice, 1994. "Evaluating risky consumption paths: The role of intertemporal substitutability," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(7), pages 1471-1486, August.
    12. Ricardo Reis, 2009. "The Time-Series Properties of Aggregate Consumption: Implications for the Costs of Fluctuations," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(4), pages 722-753, June.
    13. den Haan, Wouter J., 2000. "The comovement between output and prices," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 3-30, August.
    14. Otrok, Christopher, 2001. "On measuring the welfare cost of business cycles," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 61-92, February.
    15. King, Robert G. & Plosser, Charles I. & Rebelo, Sergio T., 1988. "Production, growth and business cycles : II. New directions," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2-3), pages 309-341.
    16. Andrew Atkeson & Christopher Phelan, 1994. "Reconsidering the Costs of Business Cycles with Incomplete Markets," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1994, Volume 9, pages 187-218 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Proietti, Tommaso, 1997. "Short-Run Dynamics in Cointegrated Systems," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 59(3), pages 405-422, August.
    18. Harvey, A C, 1985. "Trends and Cycles in Macroeconomic Time Series," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 3(3), pages 216-227, June.
    19. Zellner, A., 1992. "Statistics, Science and Public Policy," Papers 92-21, California Irvine - School of Social Sciences.
    20. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1982. "Time to Build and Aggregate Fluctuations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1345-1370, November.
    21. Lars Peter Hansen & Thomas J. Sargent & Thomas D. Tallarini, 1999. "Robust Permanent Income and Pricing," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(4), pages 873-907.
    22. Márcio Antônio Salvato & João Victor Issler & Angelo Mont'alverne Duarte, 2005. "Are Business Cycles All Alike In Europe?," Anais do XXXIII Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 33th Brazilian Economics Meeting] 031, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
    23. John Y. Campbell & N. Gregory Mankiw, 1989. "Consumption, Income and Interest Rates: Reinterpreting the Time Series Evidence," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1989, Volume 4, pages 185-246 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    24. Engle, Robert F. & Issler, João Victor, 1993. "Common trends and common cycles in Latin America," Revista Brasileira de Economia - RBE, FGV/EPGE - Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil), vol. 47(2), April.
    25. Granger, C W J, 1969. "Investigating Causal Relations by Econometric Models and Cross-Spectral Methods," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 37(3), pages 424-438, July.
    26. Edmund S. Phelps, 1968. "Money-Wage Dynamics and Labor-Market Equilibrium," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 76, pages 678-678.
    27. repec:fth:harver:1435 is not listed on IDEAS
    28. Robert J. Barro, 2009. "Rare Disasters, Asset Prices, and Welfare Costs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 243-264, March.
    29. Fernando Alvarez & Urban J. Jermann, 2005. "Using Asset Prices to Measure the Persistence of the Marginal Utility of Wealth," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(6), pages 1977-2016, November.
    30. Wincoop, Eric van, 1994. "Welfare gains from international risksharing," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 175-200, October.
    31. Imrohoruglu, Ayse, 1989. "Cost of Business Cycles with Indivisibilities and Liquidity Constraints," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1364-1383, December.
    32. King, Robert G. & Plosser, Charles I. & Rebelo, Sergio T., 1988. "Production, growth and business cycles : I. The basic neoclassical model," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2-3), pages 195-232.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    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:fgv:epgewp:729. 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: (Núcleo de Computação da FGV/EPGE). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/epgvfbr.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.