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Intangible Capital, Corporate Earnings and the Business Cycle

  • Keqiang Hou
  • Alok Johri

Aggregate corporate profits are highly volatile and procyclical. Most dynamic general equilibrium models of the business cycle cannot deliver these basic features of the data. We develop a model of the U.S. economy in which firms expend resources to create intangible capital (IC), which is an additional input in their production technology. In keeping with the data, the model delivers profits that are many times more volatile than output. An estimated version of the model implies that IC investments are large and pro-cyclical. IC acts as a propaga- tion mechanism, generating inertial responses to shocks. Overall, the model fits the aggregate data much better than a model without IC.

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File URL: http://socserv.mcmaster.ca/econ/rsrch/papers/archive/2009-17.pdf
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Paper provided by McMaster University in its series Department of Economics Working Papers with number 2009-17.

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Length: 56 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mcm:deptwp:2009-17
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  3. Yongsung Chang & Joao F. Gomes & Frank Schorfheide, 2002. "Learning-by-Doing as a Propagation Mechanism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1498-1520, December.
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  6. Takashi Kano & Hafedh Bouakez, 2005. "Learning-by-doing or Habit Formation?," Computing in Economics and Finance 2005 126, Society for Computational Economics.
  7. Frank Schorfheide & Marco Del Negro, 2007. "Forming Priors for DSGE Models (and How It Affects the Assessment of Nominal Rigidities)," 2007 Meeting Papers 283, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  8. Carol A. Corrado & Charles R. Hulten & Daniel E. Sichel, 2006. "Intangible Capital and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 11948, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Cochrane, John H, 1988. "How Big Is the Random Walk in GNP?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(5), pages 893-920, October.
  10. Timothy Cogley & James M. Nason, 1993. "Output dynamics in real business cycle models," Working Papers in Applied Economic Theory 93-10, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
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  12. Peter N. Ireland, 1999. "A method for taking models to the data," Working Paper 9903, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  13. Thomas Lubik & Frank Schorfheide, 2003. "Do Central Banks Respond to Exchange Rate Movements? A Structural Investigation," Economics Working Paper Archive 505, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
  14. Alok Johri & Amartya Lahiri, 2008. "Persistent Real Exchange Rates," Department of Economics Working Papers 2008-04, McMaster University.
  15. Clarke, Andrew J., 2006. "Learning-by-doing and aggregate fluctuations: Does the form of the accumulation technology matter?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 92(3), pages 434-439, September.
  16. Daehaeng Kim & Chul-In Lee, 2007. "On-the-Job Human Capital Accumulation in a Real Business Cycle Model: Implications for Intertemporal Substitution Elasticity and Labor Hoarding," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 10(3), pages 494-518, July.
  17. Larry E. Jones & Rodolfo E. Manuelli & Henry E. Siu, 2005. "Fluctuations in Convex Models of Endogenous Growth II: Business Cycle Properties," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 8(4), pages 805-828, October.
  18. Cochrane, John H, 1994. "Permanent and Transitory Components of GNP and Stock Prices," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(1), pages 241-65, February.
  19. King, Robert G. & Plosser, Charles I. & Rebelo, Sergio T., 1988. "Production, growth and business cycles : I. The basic neoclassical model," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2-3), pages 195-232.
  20. Perli, Roberto & Sakellaris, Plutarchos, 1998. "Human capital formation and business cycle persistence," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 67-92, June.
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  23. Gadi Barlevy, 2007. "On the Cyclicality of Research and Development," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(4), pages 1131-1164, September.
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