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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. Timothy Cogley & Thomas J. Sargent, 2003. "Drifts and volatilities: monetary policies and outcomes in the post WWII U.S," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2003-25, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  2. Alejandro Justiniano & Northwestern University, 2006. "The Time Varying Volatility of Macroeconomic Fluctuations," Computing in Economics and Finance 2006 219, Society for Computational Economics.
  3. Olivier Jean Blanchard & Danny Quah, 1988. "The Dynamic Effects of Aggregate Demand and Supply Disturbance," Working papers 497, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  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. 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.
  6. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 2002. "Has the Business Cycle Changed and Why?," NBER Working Papers 9127, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. 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.
  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. 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.
  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. Clarida, R. & Gali, J. & Gertler, M., 1998. "Monetary Policy Rules and Macroeconomic Stability: Evidence and some Theory," Working Papers 98-01, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
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