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Countercyclical policy and the speed of recovery after recessions

  • Francis, Neville
  • Jackson, Laura E.
  • Owyang, Michael T.

The nature of the business cycle appears to have changed. Prior to the 1990s, recoveries from recessions were quick and steep; after the past three recessions, however, recoveries were weak and prolonged. We consider the effect of a number of countercyclical policies intended to shorten recessions and speed recoveries. Our innovation is to analyze the duration of the recoveries of various U.S. states, which gives us a cross-section of both state- and national-level policies. Because we study multiple recessions for the same state and multiple states for the same recession, we can control for differences in the economic conditions preceding recessions and the causes of the recessions when evaluating various policies. We find that expansionary monetary policy at the national level helps to stimulate the exit of individual states from recession. We also find certain factors extend expected recovery times: other states in the same region suffering from recession around the same time, the length of the preceding recession, and shocks to oil prices at the peak.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis in its series Working Papers with number 2013-032.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision: 01 Jan 2014
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2013-032
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  1. Bruce D. Meyer, 1988. "Unemployment Insurance And Unemployment Spells," NBER Working Papers 2546, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Nir Jaimovich & Henry E. Siu, 2012. "The Trend is the Cycle: Job Polarization and Jobless Recoveries," NBER Working Papers 18334, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. James D. Hamilton & Michael T. Owyang, 2011. "The Propagation of Regional Recessions," NBER Working Papers 16657, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Michael T. Owyang & Jeremy Piger & Howard J. Wall, 2005. "Business Cycle Phases in U.S. States," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(4), pages 604-616, November.
  5. Mark Partridge & Dan Rickman, 1997. "The Dispersion of US State Unemployment Rates: The Role of Market and Non-market Equilibrium Factors," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(6), pages 593-606.
  6. Pedro Portugal & Olivier Blanchard, 2001. "What Hides Behind an Unemployment Rate: Comparing Portuguese and U.S. Labor Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 187-207, March.
  7. Stacey L. Schreft & Aarti Singh, 2003. "A closer look at jobless recoveries," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Q II, pages 45-73.
  8. Honore, Bo E, 1993. "Identification Results for Duration Models with Multiple Spells," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(1), pages 241-46, January.
  9. Hamilton, James D., 1996. "This is what happened to the oil price-macroeconomy relationship," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 215-220, October.
  10. Daniel Aaronson & Ellen Rissman & Daniel G. Sullivan, 2004. "Assessing the jobless recovery," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Q II, pages 2-21.
  11. Arthur F. Burns & Wesley C. Mitchell, 1946. "Measuring Business Cycles," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number burn46-1, June.
  12. Hamilton, James D, 1989. "A New Approach to the Economic Analysis of Nonstationary Time Series and the Business Cycle," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 357-84, March.
  13. Kettunen, Juha, 1997. "Education and unemployment duration," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 163-170, April.
  14. Nickell, Stephen J, 1979. "Estimating the Probability of Leaving Unemployment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(5), pages 1249-66, September.
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