IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/10926.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Cost of Business Cycles and the Benefits of Stabilization: A Survey

Author

Listed:
  • Gadi Barlevy

Abstract

This article reviews the literature on the cost of U.S. post-War business cycle fluctuations. I argue that recent work has established this cost is considerably larger than initial work found. However, despite the large cost of macroeconomic volatility, it is not obvious that policymakers should have pursued a more aggressive stabilization policy than they did. Still, the fact that volatility is so costly suggests stable growth is a desirable goal that ought to be maintained to the extent possible, just as policymakers are currently required to do under the Balanced Growth and Full Employment Act of 1978. This survey was prepared for the Economic Perspectives, a publication of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

Suggested Citation

  • Gadi Barlevy, 2004. "The Cost of Business Cycles and the Benefits of Stabilization: A Survey," NBER Working Papers 10926, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10926
    Note: EFG
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w10926.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Rafael Di Tella & Robert J. MacCulloch & Andrew J. Oswald, 2003. "The Macroeconomics of Happiness," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(4), pages 809-827, November.
    2. Benhabib Jess & Farmer Roger E. A., 1994. "Indeterminacy and Increasing Returns," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 19-41, June.
    3. Jordi Galí & Mark Gertler & J. David López-Salido, 2007. "Markups, Gaps, and the Welfare Costs of Business Fluctuations," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(1), pages 44-59, November.
    4. Obstfeld, Maurice, 1994. "Evaluating risky consumption paths: The role of intertemporal substitutability," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(7), pages 1471-1486, August.
    5. Portier Franck & Puch Luis A., 2007. "The Welfare Cost of Business Cycles in an Economy with Nonclearing Markets," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 6(3), pages 1-16, January.
    6. Andrew Atkeson & Christopher Phelan, 1994. "Reconsidering the Costs of Business Cycles with Incomplete Markets," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1994, Volume 9, pages 187-218 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. repec:fth:harver:1418 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Otrok, Christopher, 2001. "On measuring the welfare cost of business cycles," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 61-92, February.
    9. John Y. Campbell & John H. Cochrane, 1994. "By Force of Habit: A Consumption-Based Explanation of Aggregate Stock Market Behavior," CRSP working papers 412, Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
    10. Gadi Barlevy, 2004. "The Cost of Business Cycles Under Endogenous Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 964-990, September.
    11. Wolfers, Justin, 2003. "Is Business Cycle Volatility Costly? Evidence from Surveys of Subjective Well-Being," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(1), pages 1-26, Spring.
    12. J. Bradford De Long & Lawrence H. Summers, "undated". "How Does Macroeconomic Policy Matter?," J. Bradford De Long's Working Papers _130, University of California at Berkeley, Economics Department.
    13. Fernando Alvarez & Urban J. Jermann, 2004. "Using Asset Prices to Measure the Cost of Business Cycles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(6), pages 1223-1256, December.
    14. Janet L. Yellen & George A. Akerlof, 2006. "Stabilization Policy: A Reconsideration," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 44(1), pages 1-22, January.
    15. Shleifer, Andrei, 1986. "Implementation Cycles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(6), pages 1163-1190, December.
    16. Stephane Pallage & Michel A. Robe, 2002. "The States vs. the states: On the Welfare Cost of Business Cycles in the U.S," Cahiers de recherche du Département des sciences économiques, UQAM 20-17, Université du Québec à Montréal, Département des sciences économiques, revised Oct 2002.
    17. Boyan Jovanovic, 2006. "Asymmetric Cycles," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(1), pages 145-162.
    18. Turnovsky, Stephen J. & Bianconi, Marcelo, 2005. "Welfare Gains From Stabilization In A Stochastically Growing Economy With Idiosyncratic Shocks And Flexible Labor Supply," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 9(03), pages 321-357, June.
    19. TallariniJr., Thomas D., 2000. "Risk-sensitive real business cycles," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 507-532, June.
    20. Imrohoruglu, Ayse, 1989. "Cost of Business Cycles with Indivisibilities and Liquidity Constraints," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1364-1383, December.
    21. Robert E. Lucas Jr., 2003. "Macroeconomic Priorities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 1-14, March.
    22. Storesletten, Kjetil & Telmer, Chris I. & Yaron, Amir, 2001. "The welfare cost of business cycles revisited: Finite lives and cyclical variation in idiosyncratic risk," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(7), pages 1311-1339.
    23. Jim Dolmas, 1998. "Risk Preferences and the Welfare Cost of Business Cycles," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 1(3), pages 646-676, July.
    24. Epstein, Larry G & Zin, Stanley E, 1991. "Substitution, Risk Aversion, and the Temporal Behavior of Consumption and Asset Returns: An Empirical Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(2), pages 263-286, April.
    25. Beaudry, Paul & Pages, Carmen, 2001. "The cost of business cycles and the stabilization value of unemployment insurance," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(8), pages 1545-1572, August.
    26. Per Krusell & Anthony A. Smith, Jr., 1999. "On the Welfare Effects of Eliminating Business Cycles," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 2(1), pages 245-272, January.
    27. Tom Krebs, 2003. "Growth and Welfare Effects of Business Cycles in Economies with Idiosyncratic Human Capital Risk," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 6(4), pages 846-868, October.
    28. Satyajit Chatterjee & Dean Corbae, 2000. "On the welfare gains of reducing the likelihood of economic crises," Working Paper 0015, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
    29. Pemberton, James, 1996. "Growth trends, cyclical fluctuations, and welfare with non-expected utility preferences," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 387-392, March.
    30. Anne Epaulard & Aude Pommeret, 2003. "Recursive Utility, Endogenous Growth, and the Welfare Cost of Volatility," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 6(3), pages 672-684, July.
    31. Gadi Barlevy, 2004. "On the timing of innovation in stochastic Schumpeterian growth models," Working Paper Series WP-04-11, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    32. Garey Ramey & Valerie A. Ramey, 1991. "Technology Commitment and the Cost of Economic Fluctuations," NBER Working Papers 3755, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    33. Darrel Cohen, 2000. "A quantitative defense of stabilization policy," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2000-34, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Olivier Coibion & Yuriy Gorodnichenko & Johannes Wieland, 2012. "The Optimal Inflation Rate in New Keynesian Models: Should Central Banks Raise Their Inflation Targets in Light of the Zero Lower Bound?," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(4), pages 1371-1406.
    2. António Afonso & Luca Agnello & Davide Furceri, 2010. "Fiscal policy responsiveness, persistence, and discretion," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 145(3), pages 503-530, December.
    3. Fanelli, José María & Jiménez, Juan Pablo, 2009. "Crisis, volatility and fiscal policy in Latin America," Documentos de Proyectos 4167, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).
    4. Gómez Sabaini, Juan Carlos & Jiménez, Juan Pablo, 2009. "El papel de la política tributaria frente a la crisis: límites y posibilidades," Documentos de Proyectos 4166, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).
    5. Eduardo Engel & Christopher Neilson & Rodrigo Valdés, 2013. "Chile’s Fiscal Rule as Social Insurance," Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies Book Series,in: Luis Felipe Céspedes & Jordi Galí (ed.), Fiscal Policy and Macroeconomic Performance, edition 1, volume 17, chapter 10, pages 393-425 Central Bank of Chile.
    6. Andreas Brunhart, 2013. "Der Klein(st)staat Liechtenstein und seine grossen Nachbarländer: Eine wachstums- und konjunkturanalytische Gegenüberstellung," Arbeitspapiere 44, Liechtenstein-Institut.
    7. Michał Gradzewicz & Krzysztof Makarski, 2013. "The business cycle implications of the euro adoption in Poland," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(17), pages 2443-2455, June.
    8. Syed Ammad & Sabihuddin Butt & Shaista Alam, 2012. "Fiscal Responsiveness, Persistence and Discretion: A Case Study of Pakistan," Romanian Economic Journal, Department of International Business and Economics from the Academy of Economic Studies Bucharest, vol. 15(45), pages 227-244, September.
    9. Luca Agnello & Ricardo M. Sousa, 2009. "The Determinants of Public Deficit Volatility," NIPE Working Papers 11/2009, NIPE - Universidade do Minho.
    10. Kevin X.D. Huang & Zheng Liu & John Qi Zhu, 2015. "Temptation and Self‐Control: Some Evidence and Applications," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 47(4), pages 581-615, June.
    11. Wang, Peng-fei & Wen, Yi, 2011. "Volatility, growth, and welfare," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 35(10), pages 1696-1709, October.
    12. -, 2009. "Macroeconomic policies in times of crisis: options and perspectives," Documentos de Proyectos 275, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).
    13. Gómez Sabaini, Juan Carlos & Jiménez, Juan Pablo, 2009. "The role of tax policy in the context of the crisis: possibilities and limitations," Documentos de Proyectos 4169, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).
    14. Patrick Francois & Huw Lloyd-Ellis, 2006. "Growth, Cycles and Welfare: A Schumpeterian Perspective," Working Papers 1090, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
    15. Arato, Hiroki, 2008. "Optimal operational monetary policy rules in an endogenous growth model: a calibrated analysis," MPRA Paper 8547, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    16. Kacef, Osvaldo, 2009. "Crisis and public policies in Latin America and the Caribbean," Documentos de Proyectos 4168, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).
    17. Aghion, Philippe & Hemous, David & Kharroubi, Enisse, 2009. "Credit Constraints, Cyclical Fiscal Policy and Industry Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 7359, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    18. Fischer, Carolyn & Springborn, Michael, 2011. "Emissions targets and the real business cycle: Intensity targets versus caps or taxes," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 62(3), pages 352-366.
    19. D'Orlando, Fabio & Ferrante, Francesco, 2009. "The demand for job protection: Some clues from behavioural economics," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 104-114, January.
    20. -, 2009. "Políticas macroeconómicas en tiempos de crisis: opciones y perspectivas," Documentos de Proyectos 275, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).
    21. repec:wsi:serxxx:v:54:y:2009:i:02:n:s0217590809003331 is not listed on IDEAS
    22. Ahmed, Abdullahi D. & Suardi, Sandy, 2009. "Macroeconomic Volatility, Trade and Financial Liberalization in Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(10), pages 1623-1636, October.
    23. Fanelli, José María & Jiménez, Juan Pablo, 2009. "Crisis, volatilidad y política fiscal en América Latina," Documentos de Proyectos 4165, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).
    24. Pengfei Wang & Yi Wen, 2007. "Endogenous volatility, endogenous growth, and large welfare gains from stabilization policies," Working Papers 2006-032, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    25. Kacef, Osvaldo, 2009. "Crisis y políticas públicas en América Latina y el Caribe," Documentos de Proyectos 4164, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E63 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Comparative or Joint Analysis of Fiscal and Monetary Policy; Stabilization; Treasury Policy
    • D6 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10926. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.