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Diverging Trends in Macro and Micro Volatility: Facts

  • Diego Comin
  • Sunil Mulani

This paper documents the diverging trends in volatility of the growth rate of sales at the aggregate and firm level. We establish that the upward trend in micro volatility is not simply driven by a compositional bias in the sample studied. We argue that this new fact sheds some shadows on the proposed explanations for the decline in aggregate volatility and that, given the symmetry of the diverging trends at the micro and macro level, a common explanation is likely. We conclude by describing one such theory.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 10922.

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Date of creation: Nov 2004
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Comin, Diego and Sunil Mulani. "Diverging Trends in Macro and Micro Volatility: Facts." Review of Economics and Statistics (May 2006).
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10922
Note: EFG
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  1. Timothy Cogley & Thomas Sargent, . "Evolving Post-World War II U.S. Inflation Dynamics," Working Papers 2132872, Department of Economics, W. P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University.
  2. Jordi Gali & J. David Lopez-Salido & Javier Valles, 2002. "Technology Shocks and Monetary Policy: Assessing the Fed's Performance," NBER Working Papers 8768, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Dornbusch, Rudiger & Fischer, Stanley & Samuelson, Paul A, 1977. "Comparative Advantage, Trade, and Payments in a Ricardian Model with a Continuum of Goods," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(5), pages 823-39, December.
  4. Richard Clarida & Jordi Galí & Mark Gertler, 2000. "Monetary Policy Rules And Macroeconomic Stability: Evidence And Some Theory," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(1), pages 147-180, February.
  5. Diego Comin & Thomas Philippon, 2005. "The Rise in Firm-Level Volatility: Causes and Consequences," NBER Working Papers 11388, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Jean Boivin & Marc Giannoni, 2002. "Assessing changes in the monetary transmission mechanism: a VAR approach," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue May, pages 97-111.
  7. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 2002. "Has the Business Cycle Changed and Why?," NBER Working Papers 9127, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Malkiel, Burton & Campbell, John & Lettau, Martin & Xu, Yexiao, 2001. "Have Individual Stocks Become More Volatile? An Empirical Exploration of Idiosyncratic Risk," Scholarly Articles 3128707, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  9. Olivier Blanchard & John Simon, 2001. "The Long and Large Decline in U.S. Output Volatility," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 32(1), pages 135-174.
  10. Peter Gottschalk & Robert Moffitt, 1994. "The Growth of Earnings Instability in the U.S. Labor Market," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 25(2), pages 217-272.
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