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Greater Moderations

  • John W. Keating

    (Department of Economics, The University of Kansas)

  • Victor J. Valcarcel

    (Department of Economics, Texas Tech University)

We decompose a 219 year sample of U.S. real output data into permanent and transitory shocks. We find reductions in volatility of output growth and inflation, starting in the mid 1980s, consistent with the “Great Moderation” noted by many others. More importantly, we find periods of even more substantial reduction in volatilities. Output growth and inflation volatilities fell by 60% and 76%, respectively, from shortly after World War II until the mid 1960s. We label this period the Postwar Moderation. Also, the largest reduction in inflation volatility occurred during the Classical Gold Standard period. Results from our empirical model suggest that aggregate supply shocks account for most of the changes in output growth volatility while aggregate demand shocks account for most of the changes in inflation volatility. The timing of the Postwar Moderation, which began almost immediately after passage of the Employment Act of 1946, suggests that policy played a crucial role in this period’s impressive decline in volatilities.

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File URL: http://www2.ku.edu/~kuwpaper/2009Papers/201202.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Kansas, Department of Economics in its series WORKING PAPERS SERIES IN THEORETICAL AND APPLIED ECONOMICS with number 201202.

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Length: 11 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:kan:wpaper:201202
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  1. Richard Clarida & Jordi Galí & Mark Gertler, 1997. "Monetary policy rules and macroeconomic stability: Evidence and some theory," Economics Working Papers 350, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised May 1999.
  2. Christina D. Romer, 1986. "The Prewar Business Cycle Reconsidered: New Estimates of Gross NationalProduct, 1869-1918," NBER Working Papers 1969, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 2003. "Has the Business Cycle Changed and Why?," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2002, Volume 17, pages 159-230 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Luca Gambetti & Jordi Gal�, 2009. "On the Sources of the Great Moderation," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 26-57, January.
  5. Olivier Jean Blanchard & Danny Quah, 1988. "The Dynamic Effects of Aggregate Demand and Supply Disturbances," NBER Working Papers 2737, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Giorgio E. Primiceri, 2005. "Time Varying Structural Vector Autoregressions and Monetary Policy," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(3), pages 821-852.
  7. Alejandro Justiniano & Giorgio E. Primiceri, 2006. "The Time Varying Volatility of Macroeconomic Fluctuations," NBER Working Papers 12022, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Timothy Cogley & Thomas J. Sargent, 2003. "Drifts and volatilities: monetary policies and outcomes in the post WWII U.S," Working Paper 2003-25, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  9. Christopher A. Sims & Tao Zha, 2006. "Were There Regime Switches in U.S. Monetary Policy?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 54-81, March.
  10. Balke, Nathan S & Gordon, Robert J, 1989. "The Estimation of Prewar Gross National Product: Methodology and New Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(1), pages 38-92, February.
  11. Peter M. Summers, 2005. "What caused the Great Moderation? : some cross-country evidence," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Q III, pages 5-32.
  12. Keating, John W & Nye, John V, 1998. "Permanent and Transitory Shocks in Real Output: Estimates from Nineteenth-Century and Postwar Economies," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 30(2), pages 231-51, May.
  13. John W. Keating & Victor J. Valcarcel, 2012. "The Time Varying Effects of Permanent and Transitory Shocks to Real Output," WORKING PAPERS SERIES IN THEORETICAL AND APPLIED ECONOMICS 201203, University of Kansas, Department of Economics.
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