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Vector Autoregression Analysis and the Great Moderation

  • Luca Benati and Paolo Surico

Most analyses of the U.S. Great Moderation have been based on VAR methods, and have consistently pointed toward good luck as the main explanation for the greater macroeconomic stability of recent years. Using data generated by a New-Keynesian model in which the only source of change is the move from passive to active monetary policy, we show that VARs may misinterpret good policy for good luck. In particular, we detect significant breaks in estimated VAR innovation variances, although in the data generating process the volatilities of the structural shocks are constant across policy regimes. Counterfactual simulations, structural and reduced-form, point toward the incorrect conclusion of good luck. Our results cast doubts on the existing notion that VAR evidence is inconsistent with the good policy explanation of the Great Moderation.

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Paper provided by Monetary Policy Committee Unit, Bank of England in its series Discussion Papers with number 18.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:mpc:wpaper:18
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  9. Canova, Fabio & Gambetti, Luca, 2009. "Structural changes in the US economy: Is there a role for monetary policy?," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 477-490, February.
  10. Troy Davig & Eric M. Leeper, 2006. "Generalizing the Taylor Principle," Caepr Working Papers 2006-001, Center for Applied Economics and Policy Research, Economics Department, Indiana University Bloomington.
  11. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 2002. "Has the Business Cycle Changed and Why?," NBER Working Papers 9127, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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