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Short-Run Effects of Lower Productivity Growth: A Twist on the Secular Stagnation Hypothesis

Author

Listed:
  • Olivier Blanchard

    () (Peterson Institute for International Economics)

  • Guido Lorenzoni

    (Northwestern University)

  • Jean Paul L'Huillier

    (Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance)

Abstract

Despite interest rates being very close to zero, US GDP growth has been anemic in the last four years largely due to lower optimism about the future, more speci?cally to downward revisions in growth forecasts, rather than legacies of the past. Put simply, demand is temporarily weak because people are adjusting to a less bright future. The authors suggest that downward revisions of productivity growth may have decreased demand by 0.5 to 1.0 percent a year since 2012. This explanation, if correct, has important implications for policy and forecasts. It may weaken the case for secular stagnation, as it suggests that the need for very low interest rates to sustain demand may be partly temporary. It also implies that, to the extent that investors in ?nancial markets have not fully taken this undershooting into account, the current yield curve may underestimate the strength of future demand and the need for higher interest rates in the future. The authors' hypothesis is not an alternative to the secular stagnation hypothesis but a twist on it. They do not question that interest rates will probably be lower in the future than they were in the past but argue that, for a while, they may be undershooting their long-run value.

Suggested Citation

  • Olivier Blanchard & Guido Lorenzoni & Jean Paul L'Huillier, 2017. "Short-Run Effects of Lower Productivity Growth: A Twist on the Secular Stagnation Hypothesis," Policy Briefs PB17-6, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:iie:pbrief:pb17-6
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. repec:cbo:report:45150 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Olivier J. Blanchard & Jean-Paul L'Huillier & Guido Lorenzoni, 2013. "News, Noise, and Fluctuations: An Empirical Exploration," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(7), pages 3045-3070, December.
    3. Congressional Budget Office, 2014. "Revisions to CBO's Projection of Potential Output Since 2007," Reports 45150, Congressional Budget Office.
    4. Congressional Budget Office, 2014. "Revisions to CBO's Projection of Potential Output Since 2007," Reports 45150, Congressional Budget Office.
    5. Congressional Budget Office, 2014. "Revisions to CBO's Projection of Potential Output Since 2007," Reports 45150, Congressional Budget Office.
    6. Michael Bruno & Jeffrey D. Sachs, 1985. "Economics of Worldwide Stagflation," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number brun85-1, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:pal:buseco:v:52:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1057_s11369-017-0034-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. John G. Fernald & Robert E. Hall & James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 2017. "The Disappointing Recovery of Output after 2009," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 48(1 (Spring), pages 1-81.
    3. Olivier Coibion & Yuriy Gorodnichenko & Mauricio Ulate, 2017. "The Cyclical Sensitivity in Estimates of Potential Output," NBER Working Papers 23580, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Crafts, Nicholas & Mills, Terence C, 2017. "Trend TFP Growth in the United States: Forecasts versus Outcomes," CEPR Discussion Papers 12029, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. repec:pal:buseco:v:52:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1057_s11369-017-0035-3 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E1 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles

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