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Rare shocks, great recessions

  • Vasco Cúrdia
  • Marco Del Negro
  • Daniel L. Greenwald

We estimate a DSGE model where rare large shocks can occur, but replace the commonly used Gaussian assumption with a Student´s t-distribution. Results from the Smets and Wouters (2007) model estimated on the usual set of macroeconomic time series over the 1964-2011 period indicate that 1) the Student´s t specification is strongly favored by the data, even when we allow for low-frequency variation in the volatility of the shocks, and 2) the estimated degrees of freedom are quite low for several shocks that drive U.S. business cycles, implying an important role for rare large shocks. This result holds even if we exclude the Great Recession from the sample. We also show that inference about low-frequency changes in volatility—and, in particular, inference about the magnitude of the Great Moderation—is different once we allow for fat tails.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of New York in its series Staff Reports with number 585.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:585
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  1. Frank Smets & Raf Wouters, 2003. "An Estimated Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium Model of the Euro Area," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(5), pages 1123-1175, 09.
  2. Lawrence J. Christiano & Michele Boldrin & Jonas D. M. Fisher, 2001. "Habit Persistence, Asset Returns, and the Business Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 149-166, March.
  3. Zheng Liu & Daniel F. Waggoner & Tao Zha, 2011. "Sources of macroeconomic fluctuations: A regime‐switching DSGE approach," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 2(2), pages 251-301, 07.
  4. Calvo, Guillermo A., 1983. "Staggered prices in a utility-maximizing framework," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 383-398, September.
  5. Guido Ascari & Giorgio Fagiolo & Andrea Roventini, 2012. "Fat-Tail Distributions and Business-Cycle Models," EconomiX Working Papers 2012-7, University of Paris West - Nanterre la Défense, EconomiX.
  6. Charles S. Bos & Ronald J. Mahieu & Herman K. van Dijk, 2000. "Daily Exchange Rate Behaviour and Hedging of Currency Risk," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0504, Econometric Society.
  7. Geweke, J, 1993. "Bayesian Treatment of the Independent Student- t Linear Model," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 8(S), pages S19-40, Suppl. De.
  8. Rochelle M. Edge & Refet S. Gurkaynak, 2010. "How Useful Are Estimated DSGE Model Forecasts for Central Bankers?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 41(2 (Fall)), pages 209-259.
  9. Chib, Siddhartha & Greenberg, Edward, 1994. "Bayes inference in regression models with ARMA (p, q) errors," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1-2), pages 183-206.
  10. Siddhartha Chib & Srikanth Ramamurthy, 2014. "DSGE Models with Student- t Errors," Econometric Reviews, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(1-4), pages 152-171, June.
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