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Letting Different Views about Business Cycles Compete

  • Paul Beaudry
  • Bernd Lucke

There are several candidate explanations for macro-fluctuations. Two of the most common discussed sources are surprise changes in disembodied technology and monetary innovations. Another popular explanation is found under the heading of a preference or more generally a demand shock. More recently two other explanations have been advocated: surprise changes in investment specific technology and news about future technology growth. The aim of this paper is to provide a quantitative assessment of the relative merits of all these explanations by adopting a framework which allows them to compete. In particular, we propose a co-integrated SVAR approach that encompasses all 5 shocks and thereby offers a coherent evaluation of the dynamics they induce as well as their contribution to macro volatility. Our main finding is that surprise changes in technology, whether it be of the disembodied or embodied nature, account for very little of fluctuations. In contrast, expected changes in technology appear to be an important force, with preference/demand shocks and monetary shocks also playing non-negligible roles.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14950.

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Date of creation: May 2009
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Publication status: published as Letting Different Views about Business Cycles Compete , Paul Beaudry, Bernd Lucke. in NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2009, Volume 24 , Acemoglu, Rogoff, and Woodford. 2010
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14950
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  1. Bagliano, Fabio-Cesare & Favero, Carlo A., 1997. "Measuring Monetary Policy with VAR Models: An Evaluation," CEPR Discussion Papers 1743, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. 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.
  3. Jordi Gali, 1996. "Technology, Employment, and the Business Cycle: Do Technology Shocks Explain Aggregate Fluctuations," NBER Working Papers 5721, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Greenwood, J. & Hercowitz, Z. & Krusell, P., 1996. "Long-Run Implications of Investment-Specific Technological Change," RCER Working Papers 420, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  5. Paul Beaudry & Franck Portier, 2004. "Stock Prices, News and Economic Fluctuations," NBER Chapters, in: Enhancing Productivity (NBER-CEPR-TCER-Keio conference) National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Robert Vigfusson, 2004. "The Response of Hours to a Technology Shock: Evidence Based on Direct Measures of Technology," NBER Working Papers 10254, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. V. V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe & Ellen R. McGrattan, 2008. "Are Structural VARs with Long-Run Restrictions Useful in Developing Business Cycle Theory?," NBER Working Papers 14430, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Lucke, Bernd, 2010. "Identification and overidentification in SVECMs," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 108(3), pages 318-321, September.
  9. Bénédicte Vidaillet & V. D'Estaintot & P. Abécassis, 2005. "Introduction," Post-Print hal-00287137, HAL.
  10. Jason G. Cummins & Giovanni L. Violante, 2002. "Investment-Specific Technical Change in the US (1947-2000): Measurement and Macroeconomic Consequences," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 5(2), pages 243-284, April.
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