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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 Gali & Mark Gertler, 1998. "Monetary Policy Rules and Macroeconomic Stability: Evidence and Some Theory," NBER Working Papers 6442, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. 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.
  3. Timothy Cogley & Thomas Sargent, . "Drifts and Volatilities: Monetary Policies and Outcomes in the Post WWII US," Working Papers 2133503, Department of Economics, W. P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University.
  4. Alejandro Justiniano & Giorgio E. Primiceri, 2006. "The Time Varying Volatility of Macroeconomic Fluctuations," NBER Working Papers 12022, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 2002. "Has the Business Cycle Changed and Why?," NBER Working Papers 9127, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Jordi Galí & Luca Gambetti, 2006. "On the sources of the Great Moderation," Economics Working Papers 1041, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Jun 2007.
  7. Christopher A. Sims & Tao Zha, 2004. "Were there regime switches in U.S. monetary policy?," Working Paper 2004-14, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  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. 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.
  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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