IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

On the Sources of the Great Moderation

  • Jordi Gali
  • Luca Gambetti

The remarkable decline in macroeconomic volatility experienced by the U.S. economy since the mid-80s (the so-called Great Moderation) has been accompanied by large changes in the patterns of comovements among output, hours and labor productivity. Those changes are reflected in both conditional and unconditional second moments as well as in the impulse responses to identified shocks. Among other changes, our findings point to (i) an increase in the volatility of hours relative to output, (ii) a shrinking contribution of non-technology shocks to output volatility, and (iii) a change in the cyclical response of labor productivity to those shocks. That evidence suggests a more complex picture than that associated with "good luck" explanations of the Great Moderation.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14171.

in new window

Date of creation: Jul 2008
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Jordi Galí & Luca Gambetti, 2009. "On the Sources of the Great Moderation," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 26-57, January
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14171
Note: EFG
Contact details of provider: Postal:
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.

Phone: 617-868-3900
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Marianne Baxter & Robert G. King, 1995. "Measuring Business Cycles Approximate Band-Pass Filters for Economic Time Series," NBER Working Papers 5022, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Giorgio E. Primiceri, 2005. "Time Varying Structural Vector Autoregressions and Monetary Policy," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(3), pages 821-852.
  3. Richard Clarida & Jordi Galí & Mark Gertler, 2000. "Monetary Policy Rules and Macroeconomic Stability: Evidence and Some Theory," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(1), pages 147-180.
  4. Galí, Jordi, 1996. "Technology, Employment, and the Business Cycle: Do Technology Shocks Explain Aggregate Fluctuations?," CEPR Discussion Papers 1499, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Jordi Gali & Pau Rabanal, 2004. "Technology Shocks and Aggregate Fluctuations: How Well Does the RBS Model Fit Postwar U.S. Data?," NBER Working Papers 10636, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Timothy Cogley & Thomas J. Sargent, 2003. "Drifts and volatilities: monetary policies and outcomes in the post WWII U.S," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2003-25, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  7. Sbordone, Argia M., 1996. "Cyclical productivity in a model of labor hoarding," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 331-361, October.
  8. Margaret M. McConnell & Gabriel Perez Quiros, 1997. "Output fluctuations in the United States: what has changed since the early 1980s?," Research Paper 9735, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  9. Galí, Jordi & Lopez-Salido, Jose David & Vallés Liberal, Javier, 2002. "Technology Shocks and Monetary Policy: Assessing the Fed's Performance," CEPR Discussion Papers 3211, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Lee Ohanian & Andres Arias & Gary Hansen, 2005. "Why have business cycle fluctuations become less volatile?," 2005 Meeting Papers 927, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  11. John G. Fernald, 2005. "Trend breaks, long-run restrictions, and the contractionary effects of technology improvements," Working Paper Series 2005-21, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  12. Jean Boivin & Marc P. Giannoni, 2003. "Has Monetary Policy Become More Effective?," NBER Working Papers 9459, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. John B. Taylor, 1999. "Introduction to "Monetary Policy Rules"," NBER Chapters, in: Monetary Policy Rules, pages 1-14 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Chang-Jin Kim & Charles R. Nelson, 1999. "Has The U.S. Economy Become More Stable? A Bayesian Approach Based On A Markov-Switching Model Of The Business Cycle," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(4), pages 608-616, November.
  15. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum, 1990. "Current real business cycle theories and aggregate labor market fluctuations," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues 90, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  16. Francis, Neville & Ramey, Valerie A., 2005. "Is the technology-driven real business cycle hypothesis dead? Shocks and aggregate fluctuations revisited," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(8), pages 1379-1399, November.
  17. Regis Barnichon, 2007. "Productivity, aggregate demand and unemployment fluctuations," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19694, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  18. John B. Taylor, 1999. "A Historical Analysis of Monetary Policy Rules," NBER Chapters, in: Monetary Policy Rules, pages 319-348 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Benati, Luca & Mumtaz, Haroon, 2007. "U.S. evolving macroeconomic dynamics: a structural investigation," Working Paper Series 0746, European Central Bank.
  20. Neville Francis & Valerie A. Ramey, 2002. "Is the Technology-Driven Real Business Cycle Hypothesis Dead?," NBER Working Papers 8726, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Jacquier, Eric & Polson, Nicholas G & Rossi, Peter E, 1994. "Bayesian Analysis of Stochastic Volatility Models," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 12(4), pages 371-89, October.
  22. John B. Taylor, 1999. "Monetary Policy Rules," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number tayl99-1, June.
  23. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 2002. "Has the Business Cycle Changed and Why?," NBER Working Papers 9127, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. 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.
  25. Jonas D. M. Fisher, 2006. "The Dynamic Effects of Neutral and Investment-Specific Technology Shocks," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(3), pages 413-451, June.
  26. Galí, Jordi & Rabanal, Pau, 2004. "Technology Shocks and Aggregate Fluctuations: How Well Does the RBC Model Fit Post-War US Data?," CEPR Discussion Papers 4522, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  27. Stephen G Cecchetti & Alfonso Flores-Lagunes & Stefan Krause, 2005. "Assessing the Sources of Changes in the Volatility of Real Growth," RBA Annual Conference Volume, in: Christopher Kent & David Norman (ed.), The Changing Nature of the Business Cycle Reserve Bank of Australia.
  28. James A. Kahn & Margaret M. McConnell & Gabriel Perez-Quiros, 2002. "On the causes of the increased stability of the U.S. economy," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue May, pages 183-202.
  29. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 2005. "Understanding Changes In International Business Cycle Dynamics," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(5), pages 968-1006, 09.
  30. Kevin J. Stiroh, 2009. "Volatility Accounting: A Production Perspective on Increased Economic Stability," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(4), pages 671-696, 06.
  31. Karen E. Dynan & Douglas W. Elmendorf & Daniel E. Sichel, 2005. "Can financial innovation help to explain the reduced volatility of economic activity?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2005-54, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  32. Gary D. Hansen & Randall Wright, 1992. "The labor market in real business cycle theory," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Spr, pages 2-12.
  33. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Robert Vigfusson, 2003. "What Happens After a Technology Shock?," NBER Working Papers 9819, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  34. Fernald, John G., 2007. "Trend breaks, long-run restrictions, and contractionary technology improvements," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(8), pages 2467-2485, November.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is featured on the following reading lists or Wikipedia pages:

  1. On the Sources of the Great Moderation (AEJ:MA 2009) in ReplicationWiki

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14171. 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: ()

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.