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A Reassessment of Real Business Cycle Theory

Author

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  • McGrattan, Ellen R.

    (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis)

  • Prescott, Edward C.

    (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis)

Abstract

During the downturn of 2008–2009, output and hours fell significantly, but labor productivity rose. These facts have led many to conclude that there is a significant deviation between observations and current macrotheories that assume business cycles are driven, at least in part, by fluctuations in total factor productivities of firms. We show that once investment in intangible capital is included in the analysis, there is no inconsistency. Measured labor productivity rises if the fall in output is underestimated; this occurs when there are large unmeasured intangible investments. Microevidence suggests that these investments are large and cyclically important.

Suggested Citation

  • McGrattan, Ellen R. & Prescott, Edward C., 2014. "A Reassessment of Real Business Cycle Theory," Staff Report 494, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmsr:494
    Note: Forthcoming in: American Economic Review Papers and Proceedings
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. V. V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe & Ellen R. McGrattan, 2007. "Business Cycle Accounting," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(3), pages 781-836, May.
    2. Horvath, Michael, 2000. "Sectoral shocks and aggregate fluctuations," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 69-106, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Koh, Dongya; Santaeulàlia-Llopis, Raül; Zheng, Yu, 2015. "Labor share decline and intellectual property products capital," Economics Working Papers ECO2015/05, European University Institute.
    2. Haakon Kavli & Nicola Viegi, 2015. "Portfolio Flows in a Two-Country RBC Model with Financial Intermediaries," Working Papers 201568, University of Pretoria, Department of Economics.
    3. Guido Baldi & André Bodmer, 2017. "Intangible investments and international business cycles," International Economics and Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 211-219, April.
    4. Bridgman, Benjamin, 2014. "Do intangible assets explain high U.S. foreign direct investment returns?," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 159-171.
    5. Pau Roldan & Sophia Gilbukh, 2017. "Firm Dynamics and Pricing under Customer Capital Accumulation," 2017 Meeting Papers 1235, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    6. Paula Lourdes Hernandez-Verme, 2015. "Credit Chains and Mortgage Crises," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(2), pages 265-281, May.
    7. Yu Zheng & Raul Santaeulalia & Dongya Koh, 2015. "Labor Share Decline and the Capitalization of Intellectual Property Products," 2015 Meeting Papers 844, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    8. Meng, Xianwei & Wei, Xuan, 2016. "A Dynamic Model of Effects of Effects of Trade and Environmental Policies on Firms' Offshoring and Clean Technology Adoption Decisions," 2016 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, 2016, Boston, Massachusetts 236064, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    9. Dongya Koh & Raül Santaeulàlia-Llopis, 2017. "Countercyclical Elasticity of Substitution," Working Papers 946, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    10. Hansen, G.D. & Ohanian, L.E., 2016. "Neoclassical Models in Macroeconomics," Handbook of Macroeconomics, Elsevier.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Intangible capital; Business cycles; Productivity;

    JEL classification:

    • E13 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Neoclassical
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles

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