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Noisy Business Cycles

  • George-Marios Angeletos
  • Jennifer La'O

This paper investigates a real-business-cycle economy that features dispersed information about the underlying aggregate productivity shocks, taste shocks, and, potentially, shocks to monopoly power. We show how the dispersion of information can (i) contribute to significant inertia in the response of macroeconomic outcomes to such shocks; (ii) induce a negative short-run response of employment to productivity shocks; (iii) imply that productivity shocks explain only a small fraction of high-frequency fluctuations; (iv) contribute to significant noise in the business cycle; (v) formalize a certain type of demand shocks within an RBC economy; and (vi) generate cyclical variation in observed Solow residuals and labor wedges. Importantly, none of these properties requires significant uncertainty about the underlying fundamentals: they rest on the heterogeneity of information and the strength of trade linkages in the economy, not the level of uncertainty. Finally, none of these properties are symptoms of inefficiency: apart from undoing monopoly distortions or providing the agents with more information, no policy intervention can improve upon the equilibrium allocations.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14982.

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Date of creation: May 2009
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Publication status: published as Noisy Business Cycles , George-Marios Angeletos, Jennifer La'O. in NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2009, Volume 24 , Acemoglu, Rogoff, and Woodford. 2010
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14982
Note: EFG ME
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  1. Marvin Goodfriend & Robert G. King, 2001. "The Case for Price Stability," NBER Working Papers 8423, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Robert Vigfusson, 2003. "What happens after a technology shock?," International Finance Discussion Papers 768, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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  5. Mirko Wiederholt & Bartosz Mackowiak, 2005. "Optimal Sticky Prices under Rational Inattention," 2005 Meeting Papers 369, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  6. Christiano, Lawrence & Ilut, Cosmin & Motto, Roberto & Rostagno, Massimo, 2008. "Monetary policy and stock market boom-bust cycles," Working Paper Series 0955, European Central Bank.
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  8. repec:ste:nystbu:08-21 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. N. Gregory Mankiw & Ricardo Reis, 2001. "Sticky Information Versus Sticky Prices: A Proposal to Replace the New Keynesian Phillips Curve," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1922, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  10. Adam, Klaus, 2007. "Optimal monetary policy with imperfect common knowledge," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 267-301, March.
  11. Moscarini, Giuseppe, 2004. "Limited information capacity as a source of inertia," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 28(10), pages 2003-2035, September.
  12. Yulei Luo, 2005. "Consumption Dynamics under Information Processing Constraints," Macroeconomics 0505011, EconWPA, revised 03 Jun 2005.
  13. Venky Venkateswaran & Christian Hellwig, 2009. "Setting The Right Prices for the Wrong Reasons," 2009 Meeting Papers 260, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  14. Ricardo Reis, 2006. "Inattentive Producers," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(3), pages 793-821.
  15. Van Nieuwerburgh, Stijn & Veldkamp, Laura, 2006. "Learning asymmetries in real business cycles," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(4), pages 753-772, May.
  16. Mackowiak, Bartosz Adam & Wiederholt, Mirko, 2010. "Business Cycle Dynamics under Rational Inattention," CEPR Discussion Papers 7691, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. Jordi Galí & Pau Rabanal, 2005. "Technology Shocks and Aggregate Fluctuations: How Well Does the Real Business Cycle Model Fit Postwar U.S. Data?," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2004, Volume 19, pages 225-318 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Amador, Manuel & Weill, Pierre-Olivier, 2006. "Learning from Private and Public Observation of Other's Actions," MPRA Paper 109, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  19. Ben S. Bernanke & Julio J. Rotemberg, 1997. "Editorial in "NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1997, Volume 12"," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1997, Volume 12, pages 1-6 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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