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Why Did U.S. Market Hours Boom in the 1990s?

  • Ellen McGrattan
  • Edward Prescott

During the 1990s, market hours in the United States rose dramatically. The rise in hours occurred as gross domestic product (GDP) per hour was declining relative to its historical trend, an occurrence that makes this boom unique, at least for the postwar U.S. economy. We find that expensed plus sweat investment was large during this period and critical for understanding the movements in hours and productivity. Expensed investments are expenditures that increase future profits but, by national accounting rules, are treated as operating expenses rather than capital expenditures. Sweat investments are uncompensated hours in a business made with the expectation of realizing capital gains when the business goes public or is sold. Incorporating expensed and sweat equity into an otherwise standard business cycle model, we find that there was rapid technological progress during the 1990s, causing a boom in market hours and actual productivity.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w12046.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12046.

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Date of creation: Feb 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12046
Note: EFG LS
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  1. Edward C. Prescott, 2004. "Why do Americans work so much more than Europeans?," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Jul, pages 2-13.
  2. Ellen R. McGrattan, 2006. "Real business cycles," Staff Report 370, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  3. Ellen R. McGrattan & Edward C. Prescott, 2004. "Taxes, Regulations, and the Value of U.S. and U.K. Corporations," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000715, UCLA Department of Economics.
  4. Jay Ritter & Ivo Welch, 2002. "A Review of IPO Activity, Pricing, and Allocations," NBER Working Papers 8805, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Erik Brynjolfsson & Lorin M. Hitt, 2000. "Beyond Computation: Information Technology, Organizational Transformation and Business Performance," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(4), pages 23-48, Fall.
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