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Greater Moderations

Author

Listed:
  • John W. Keating

    (Department of Economics, The University of Kansas)

  • Victor J. Valcarcel

    (Department of Economics, Texas Tech University)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • John W. Keating & Victor J. Valcarcel, 2012. "Greater Moderations," WORKING PAPERS SERIES IN THEORETICAL AND APPLIED ECONOMICS 201202, University of Kansas, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:kan:wpaper:201202
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    File URL: http://www2.ku.edu/~kuwpaper/2009Papers/201202.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Blanchard, Olivier Jean & Quah, Danny, 1989. "The Dynamic Effects of Aggregate Demand and Supply Disturbances," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 655-673, September.
    2. Richard Clarida & Jordi Galí & Mark Gertler, 2000. "Monetary Policy Rules and Macroeconomic Stability: Evidence and Some Theory," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(1), pages 147-180.
    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 Galí, 2009. "On the Sources of the Great Moderation," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 26-57, January.
    5. Alejandro Justiniano & Giorgio E. Primiceri, 2008. "The Time-Varying Volatility of Macroeconomic Fluctuations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 604-641, June.
    6. Romer, Christina D, 1989. "The Prewar Business Cycle Reconsidered: New Estimates of Gross National Product, 1869-1908," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(1), pages 1-37, February.
    7. 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.
    8. Timothy Cogley & Thomas J. Sargent, 2005. "Drift and Volatilities: Monetary Policies and Outcomes in the Post WWII U.S," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 8(2), pages 262-302, April.
    9. 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 231-251, May.
    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. Keating, John W. & Valcarcel, Victor J., 2015. "The Time-Varying Effects Of Permanent And Transitory Shocks To Real Output," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 19(03), pages 477-507, April.
    12. 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.
    13. 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.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Keating, John W. & Valcarcel, Victor J., 2015. "The Time-Varying Effects Of Permanent And Transitory Shocks To Real Output," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 19(03), pages 477-507, April.
    2. Valcarcel, Victor J., 2013. "Exchange rate volatility and the time-varying effects of aggregate shocks," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 822-843.
    3. Soloschenko, Max & Weber, Enzo, 2012. "Trend-Cycle Interactions and the Subprime Crisis: Analysis of US and Canadian Output," University of Regensburg Working Papers in Business, Economics and Management Information Systems 470, University of Regensburg, Department of Economics.
    4. repec:ove:journl:aid:11272 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Keating, John W. & Valcarcel, Victor J., 2017. "What's so great about the Great Moderation?," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 115-142.
    6. María Dolores Gadea & Ana Gómez-Loscos & Gabriel Perez-Quiros, 2015. "The great moderation in historical perspective. Is it that great?," Working Papers 1527, Banco de España;Working Papers Homepage.
    7. Carstensen, K. & Salzmann, L., 2017. "The G7 business cycle in a globalized world," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 73(PA), pages 134-161.
    8. John W. Keating & Victor J. Valcarcel, 2012. "What's so Great about the Great Moderation? A Multi-Country Investigation of Time-Varying Volatilities of Output Growth and Inflation," WORKING PAPERS SERIES IN THEORETICAL AND APPLIED ECONOMICS 201204, University of Kansas, Department of Economics.
    9. Benjamín García, 2016. "Zero Lower Bound Risk and Long-Term Inflation in a Time Varying Economy," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 796, Central Bank of Chile.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    The Great Moderation; stochastic volatility; structural VAR;

    JEL classification:

    • E30 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • E65 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Studies of Particular Policy Episodes

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