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How the Baby Boomers' Retirement Wave Distorts Model-Based Output Gap Estimates

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  • Maik Wolters

    (FSU Jena)

Abstract

This paper illustrates the importance of consistency between the empirical measurement and the concept of variables in macroeconomic models. Since standard New Keynesian models do not account for demographic trends and sectoral shifts, I propose adjusting hours per capita used to estimate such models to enhance the consistency between the data and the model. Without this adjustment, low frequency shifts in hours lead to unreasonable trends in the output gap, caused by the close link between hours and the output gap in such models. The retirement wave of baby boomers, for example, lowers U.S. aggregate hours per capita, which leads to erroneous permanently negative output gap estimates following the Great Recession. After correcting hours for changes in the age composition, the estimated output gap closes gradually instead following the years after the Great Recession.

Suggested Citation

  • Maik Wolters, 2017. "How the Baby Boomers' Retirement Wave Distorts Model-Based Output Gap Estimates," Jena Economic Research Papers 2017-008, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
  • Handle: RePEc:jrp:jrpwrp:2017-008
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    Cited by:

    1. Yasuo Hirose & Takeki Sunakawa, 2017. "The natural rate of interest in a nonlinear DSGE model," CAMA Working Papers 2017-38, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
    2. Jannsen, Nils & Wolters, Maik H., 2016. "Zu Produktionspotenzial und Produktionslücke in den Vereinigten Staaten," IfW-Box 2016.2, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW Kiel).
    3. Elstner, Steffen & Feld, Lars P. & Schmidt, Christoph M., 2018. "The German productivity paradox: Facts and explanations," Ruhr Economic Papers 767, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    4. Josefine Quast & Maik H. Wolters, 2022. "Reliable Real-Time Output Gap Estimates Based on a Modified Hamilton Filter," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(1), pages 152-168, January.
    5. Fair, Ray C., 2020. "Variable mismeasurement in a class of DSGE models: Comment," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 66(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    low frequency trends; demographic trends; hours per capita measurement; output gap estimates; DSGE models; Bayesian estimation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C54 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Quantitative Policy Modeling
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts

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