IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

The Scarring Effect of Recessions

  • Min Ouyang


    (Department of Economics, University of California-Irvine)

Recessions often coincide with intensified restructuring. The conventional Schumpeterian view argues that recessions promote allocative efficiency by driving out less productive firms and freeing resources for more productive uses. This paper proposes that the conventional cleansing effect is offset by a scarring effect. Recessions impede the development of potentially superior firms, which might put innovations to better uses, but which are destroyed during their infancy, and never realize their potential. A model of industry dynamics that combines Schumpeterian creative destruction with firm learning is developed to capture both the cleansing and scarring effects. Calibrating the model with data from the U.S. manufacturing sector demonstrates that the scarring effect is likely to dominate the cleansing effect, and accounts for the procyclicality of average labor productivity, a phenomenon at odds with conventional cleansing models.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 050609.

in new window

Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:irv:wpaper:050609
Contact details of provider: Postal: Irvine, CA 92697-3125
Phone: (949) 824-5788
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. repec:bla:restud:v:61:y:1994:i:1:p:3-17 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. Austan Goolsbee, 1997. "Investment Tax Incentives, Prices, and the Supply of Capital Goods," NBER Working Papers 6192, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:112:y:1997:i:3:p:873-911 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Susanto Basu, 1996. "Procyclical Productivity: Increasing Returns or Cyclical Utilization?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(3), pages 719-751.
  5. Lucia Foster & John Haltiwanger & C.J. Krizan, 2002. "The Link Between Aggregate and Micro Productivity Growth: Evidence from Retail Trade," NBER Working Papers 9120, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Michael Pries & Richard Rogerson, 2005. "Hiring Policies, Labor Market Institutions, and Labor Market Flows," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(4), pages 811-839, August.
  7. John Rust, 1997. "Using Randomization to Break the Curse of Dimensionality," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(3), pages 487-516, May.
  8. Michael J. Pries, 2004. "Persistence of Employment Fluctuations: A Model of Recurring Job Loss," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(1), pages 193-215.
  9. Gadi Barlevy, 2002. "The Sullying Effect of Recessions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(1), pages 65-96.
  10. Joao Gomes & Jeremy Greenwood & Sergio T. Rebelo, 2001. "Equilibrium Unemployment," RCER Working Papers 479, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  11. Jeffrey R. Campbell & Jonas D. M. Fisher, 2000. "Idiosyncratic risk and aggregate employment dynamics," Working Paper Series WP-00-15, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  12. Basu, Susanto & Fernald, John G., 2002. "Aggregate productivity and aggregate technology," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(6), pages 963-991, June.
  13. Ricardo J. Caballero & Mohamad L. Hammour, 2001. "The Cost of Recessions Revisited : A Reverse-Liquidationist View," DELTA Working Papers 2001-05, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  14. Jonas D. M. Fisher & Jeffrey R. Campbell, 2000. "Aggregate Employment Fluctuations with Microeconomic Asymmetries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1323-1345, December.
  15. Robert E. Hall, 1991. "Labor Demand, Labor Supply, and Employment Volatility," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1991, Volume 6, pages 17-62 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Eric J. Bartelsman & Mark Doms, 2000. "Understanding productivity: lessons from longitudinal microdata," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2000-19, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  17. Martin Neil Baily & Eric J. Bartelsman & John Haltiwanger, 1998. "Labor Productivity: Structural Change and Cyclical Dynamics," Working Papers 98-7, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  18. S. B. Aruoba & Jesús Fernández-Villaverde & Juan F. Rubio-Ramirez, 2005. "Comparing Solution Methods for Dynamic Equilibrium Economies," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000855, UCLA Department of Economics.
  19. Per Krusell & Anthony A. Smith & Jr., 1998. "Income and Wealth Heterogeneity in the Macroeconomy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(5), pages 867-896, October.
  20. John Haltiwanger & Russell Cooper & Laura Power, 1999. "Machine Replacement and the Business Cycle: Lumps and Bumps," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 921-946, September.
  21. Caballero, Ricardo J & Hammour, Mohamad L, 1994. "The Cleansing Effect of Recessions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1350-68, December.
  22. Robert E. Lucas Jr., 1978. "On the Size Distribution of Business Firms," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 9(2), pages 508-523, Autumn.
  23. Steve J. Davis & John Haltiwanger, 1991. "Gross job creation, gross job destruction and employment reallocation," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues 91-5, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  24. Hall, Robert E., 2000. "Reorganization," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 1-22, June.
  25. Edward Montgomery & William L. Wascher, 1986. "Creative destruction and the behavior of productivity over the business cycle," Working Paper Series / Economic Activity Section 60, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  26. Dickens, William T., 1982. "The productivity crisis: Secular or cyclical?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 37-42.
  27. Richard E. Caves, 1998. "Industrial Organization and New Findings on the Turnover and Mobility of Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(4), pages 1947-1982, December.
  28. repec:bla:restud:v:62:y:1995:i:1:p:53-82 is not listed on IDEAS
  29. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:111:y:1996:i:3:p:805-52 is not listed on IDEAS
  30. R. Jason Faberman, 2003. "Job Flows and Establishment Characteristics: Variations Across U.S. Metropolitan Areas," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 2003-609, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  31. Lucia Foster & John Haltiwanger & Chad Syverson, 2005. "Reallocation, Firm Turnover, and Efficiency: Selection on Productivity or Profitability?," NBER Working Papers 11555, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  32. Bowlus, Audra J, 1995. "Matching Workers and Jobs: Cyclical Fluctuations in Match Quality," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(2), pages 335-50, April.
  33. Aghion, Philippe & Howitt, Peter, 1991. "Growth and Unemployment," CEPR Discussion Papers 577, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  34. J. Bradford Jensen & Robert H. McGuckin & Kevin J. Stiroh, 2001. "The Impact Of Vintage And Survival On Productivity: Evidence From Cohorts Of U.S. Manufacturing Plants," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(2), pages 323-332, May.
  35. Susanto Basu & Miles S. Kimball, 1997. "Cyclical Productivity with Unobserved Input Variation," NBER Working Papers 5915, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  36. Dale T. Mortensen & Christopher A. Pissarides, 1993. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," CEP Discussion Papers dp0110, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  37. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:113:y:1998:i:3:p:809-834 is not listed on IDEAS
  38. Barlevy, Gadi, 2003. "Credit market frictions and the allocation of resources over the business cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(8), pages 1795-1818, November.
  39. Wouter J. den Haan & Albert Marcet, 1993. "Accuracy in simulations," Economics Working Papers 42, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  40. Dunne, T. & Roberts, M.J. & Samuelson, L., 1988. "The Growth And Failure Of U.S. Manufacturing Plants," Papers 1-87-5, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
  41. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1982. "Time to Build and Aggregate Fluctuations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1345-70, November.
  42. Baldwin,John R. & Gorecki,Paul, 1995. "The Dynamics of Industrial Competition," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521465618.
  43. Eric T. Swanson, 2007. "Real wage cyclicality in the PSID," Working Paper Series 2007-15, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  44. Robert E. Hall, 2005. "Job Loss, Job Finding, and Unemployment in the U.S. Economy Over the Past Fifty Years," NBER Working Papers 11678, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  45. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1982. "Selection and the Evolution of Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(3), pages 649-70, May.
  46. Steven J. Davis & John C. Haltiwanger & Scott Schuh, 1998. "Job Creation and Destruction," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262540932, June.
  47. Bee Yan Aw & Xiaomin Chen & Mark J. Roberts, 1997. "Firm-level Evidence on Productivity Differentials, Turnover, and Exports in Taiwanese Manufacturing," NBER Working Papers 6235, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  48. Davis, Steven J. & Haltiwanger, John, 1999. "Gross job flows," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 41, pages 2711-2805 Elsevier.
  49. Christopher L. Foote, 1998. "Trend Employment Growth and the Bunching of Job Creation and Destruction," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1818, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  50. Eric R Young, 2005. "Approximate Aggregation," Computing in Economics and Finance 2005 141, Society for Computational Economics.
  51. Ricardo J. Caballero & Mohamad L. Hammour, 1994. "On the Timing and Efficiency of Creative Destruction," NBER Working Papers 4768, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:irv:wpaper:050609. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jennifer dos Santos)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.