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A two-sector approach to modeling U.S. NIPA data

  • Karl Whelan

The one-sector Solow-Ramsey model is the most popular model of long-run economic growth. This paper argues that a two-sector approach, which distinguishes the durable goods sector from the rest of the economy, provides a far better picture of the long-run behavior of the U.S. economy. Real durable goods output has consistently grown faster than the rest of the economy. Because most investment spending is on durable goods, the one-sector model's hypothesis of balanced growth, so that the real aggregates for consumption, investment, output, and the capital stock all grow at the same rate in the long run, is rejected by U.S. data. In addition, to model these aggregates as currently constructed in the U.S. National Accounts, a two-sector approach is required. Implications for empirical macroeconomics are explored.

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Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series Finance and Economics Discussion Series with number 2001-04.

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Date of creation: 2001
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2001-04
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  2. King, Robert G. & Rebelo, Sergio T., 1999. "Resuscitating real business cycles," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 14, pages 927-1007 Elsevier.
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  4. Romer, Paul M, 1990. "Endogenous Technological Change," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages S71-102, October.
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  8. Blanchard, Olivier & Rhee, Changyong & Summers, Lawrence, 1993. "The Stock Market, Profit, and Investment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(1), pages 115-36, February.
  9. Hayashi, Fumio, 1982. "Tobin's Marginal q and Average q: A Neoclassical Interpretation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 213-24, January.
  10. Lawrence Slifman & Carol Corrado, 1999. "Decomposition of Productivity and Unit Costs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 328-332, May.
  11. Karl Whelan, 2000. "A guide to the use of chain aggregated NIPA data," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2000-35, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  12. Robert G. King & Charles I. Plosser & James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 1991. "Stochastic trends and economic fluctuations," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues 91-4, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  13. Hercowitz, Zvi, 1998. "The 'embodiment' controversy: A review essay," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 217-224, February.
  14. Robert J. Gordon, 1990. "The Measurement of Durable Goods Prices," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gord90-1, August.
  15. Stephen Oliner & Glenn Rudebusch & Daniel Sichel, 1993. "New and old models of business investment: a comparison of forecasting performance," Working Paper Series / Economic Activity Section 141, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  16. Gordon, Robert J., 1990. "The Measurement of Durable Goods Prices," National Bureau of Economic Research Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226304557.
  17. Cochrane, John H, 1994. "Permanent and Transitory Components of GNP and Stock Prices," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(1), pages 241-65, February.
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