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

  • Gadi Barlevy

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.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w10926.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 10926.

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Date of creation: Nov 2004
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Publication status: published as Barlevy, Gadi. "The Cost Of Business Cycles Under Endogenous Growth," American Economic Review, 2004, v94(4,Sep), 964-990.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10926
Note: EFG
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  1. 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.).
  2. Thomas Tallarini, . "Risk-Sensitive Real Business Cycles," GSIA Working Papers 1997-35, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
  3. Per Krusell & Anthony A. Smith, Jr., . "On the Welfare Effects of Eliminating Business Cycles," GSIA Working Papers 243, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
  4. 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.
  5. Shleifer, Andrei, 1986. "Implementation Cycles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(6), pages 1163-90, December.
  6. DiTella, Rafael & MacCulloch, Robert & Oswald, Andrew J., 1999. "The macroeconomics of happiness," ZEI Working Papers B 03-1999, ZEI - Center for European Integration Studies, University of Bonn.
  7. Jordi Gali & Mark Gertler & J. David Lopez-Salido, 2002. "Markups, Gaps, and the Welfare Costs of Business Fluctuations," NBER Working Papers 8850, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. 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.
  9. Frank Portier & Luis A. Puch, 2004. "The Welfare Cost of Business Cycles in an Economy with Nonclearing Markets," Documentos de Trabajo del ICAE 0403, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales, Instituto Complutense de Análisis Económico.
  10. Robert E. Lucas Jr., 2003. "Macroeconomic Priorities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 1-14, March.
  11. Aude Pommeret & Anne Epaulard, 2001. "Recursive Utility, Endogenous Growth, and the Welfare Cost of Volatility," IMF Working Papers 01/5, International Monetary Fund.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Alvarez, Fernando & Jermann, Urban J., 2000. "Using Asset Prices to Measure the Cost of Business Cycles," Working Papers 00-1, University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School, Weiss Center.
  15. Maurice Obstfeld, 1995. "Evaluating Risky Consumption Paths: The Role of Intertemporal Substitutability," NBER Technical Working Papers 0120, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. J. Bradford De Long & Lawrence H. Summers, . "How Does Macroeconomic Policy Matter?," J. Bradford De Long's Working Papers _130, University of California at Berkeley, Economics Department.
  17. Otrok, Christopher, 2001. "On measuring the welfare cost of business cycles," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 61-92, February.
  18. Satyajit Chatterjee & Dean Corbae, 2000. "On the welfare gains of reducing the likelihood of economic crises," Working Papers 00-14, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  19. Imrohoruglu, Ayse, 1989. "Cost of Business Cycles with Indivisibilities and Liquidity Constraints," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1364-83, December.
  20. repec:fth:harver:1418 is not listed on IDEAS
  21. Janet L. Yellen, 2004. "Stabilization policy: a reconsideration," Speech 1, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  22. Benhabib, Jess & Farmer, Roger E.A., 1991. "Indeterminacy and Increasing Returns," Working Papers 91-59, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  23. Gadi Barlevy, 2004. "The Cost of Business Cycles Under Endogenous Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 964-990, September.
  24. 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.
  25. Garey Ramey & Valerie A. Ramey, 1991. "Technology Commitment and the Cost of Economic Fluctuations," NBER Working Papers 3755, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  26. Gadi Barlevy, 2004. "On the timing of innovation in stochastic Schumpeterian growth models," Working Paper Series WP-04-11, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  27. 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 263-86, April.
  28. Boyan Jovanovic, 2004. "Asymmetric Cycles," NBER Working Papers 10573, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  29. 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.
  30. 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.
  31. 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.
  32. 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.
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