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Fortune or Virtue: Time-Variant Volatilities Versus Parameter Drifting in U.S. Data

  • Jesús Fernández-Villaverde
  • Pablo Guerrón-Quintana
  • Juan F. Rubio-Ramírez

This paper compares the role of stochastic volatility versus changes in monetary policy rules in accounting for the time-varying volatility of U.S. aggregate data. Of special interest to us is understanding the sources of the great moderation of business cycle fluctuations that the U.S. economy experienced between 1984 and 2007. To explore this issue, we build a medium-scale dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) model with both stochastic volatility and parameter drifting in the Taylor rule and we estimate it non-linearly using U.S. data and Bayesian methods. Methodologically, we show how to confront such a rich model with the data by exploiting the structure of the high-order approximation to the decision rules that characterize the equilibrium of the economy. Our main empirical findings are: 1) even after controlling for stochastic volatility (and there is a fair amount of it), there is overwhelming evidence of changes in monetary policy during the analyzed period; 2) however, these changes in monetary policy mattered little for the great moderation; 3) most of the great performance of the U.S. economy during the 1990s was a result of good shocks; and 4) the response of monetary policy to inflation under Burns, Miller, and Greenspan was similar, while it was much higher under Volcker.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15928.

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Date of creation: Apr 2010
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15928
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  1. Fernández-Villaverde, Jesús & Rubio-Ramírez, Juan Francisco, 2006. "Estimating Macroeconomic Models: A Likelihood Approach," CEPR Discussion Papers 5513, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Francesco Bianchi, 2010. "Regime Switches, Agents' Beliefs, and Post-World War II U.S. Macroeconomic Dynamics," Working Papers 10-39, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  3. Christopher A. Sims & Tao Zha, 2005. "Were There Regime Switches in U.S. Monetary Policy?," Working Papers 92, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..
  4. Galí, Jordi & Gambetti, Luca, 2008. "On the Sources of the Great Moderation," CEPR Discussion Papers 6632, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Roger E.A. Farmer & Daniel F. Waggoner & Tao Zha, 2009. "Understanding Markov-switching rational expectations models," FRB Atlanta Working Paper No. 2009-05, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  6. Farmer, Roger E.A. & Waggoner, Daniel F. & Zha, Tao, 2011. "Minimal state variable solutions to Markov-switching rational expectations models," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 35(12), pages 2150-2166.
  7. Sangjoon Kim & Neil Shephard, 1994. "Stochastic volatility: likelihood inference and comparison with ARCH models," Economics Papers 3., Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  8. Troy Davig & Eric M. Leeper, 2005. "Generalizing the Taylor principle," Research Working Paper RWP 05-13, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
  9. Jesús Fernández-Villaverde & Juan F. Rubio-Ramírez, 2007. "How Structural Are Structural Parameters?," NBER Working Papers 13166, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 2003. "Has the Business Cycle Changed and Why?," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2002, Volume 17, pages 159-230 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Klenow, Peter J. & Malin, Benjamin A., 2010. "Microeconomic Evidence on Price-Setting," Handbook of Monetary Economics, in: Benjamin M. Friedman & Michael Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Monetary Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 6, pages 231-284 Elsevier.
  12. Alejandro Justiniano & Giorgio E. Primiceri, 2006. "The Time Varying Volatility of Macroeconomic Fluctuations," NBER Working Papers 12022, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. S. B. Aruoba & Jesús Fernández-Villaverde & Juan F. Rubio-Ramirez, 2005. "Comparing Solution Methods for Dynamic Equilibrium Economies," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000855, UCLA Department of Economics.
  14. Jesús Fernández-Villaverde & Pablo Guerrón-Quintana & Juan F. Rubio-Ramírez, 2010. "Reading the Recent Monetary History of the U.S., 1959-2007," PIER Working Paper Archive 10-016, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  15. Roger E.A. Farmer & Daniel F. Waggoner & Tao Zha, 2007. "Indeterminacy in a forward-looking regime-switching model," FRB Atlanta Working Paper No. 2006-19, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  16. Pablo Guerron & Martin Uribe & Juan Rubio-Ramirez & Jesus Fernandez-Villaverde, 2010. "Risk Matters: The Real Effects of Volatility Shocks," 2010 Meeting Papers 281, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  17. Richard Rogerson & Johanna Wallenius, 2007. "Micro and Macro Elasticities in a Life Cycle Model With Taxes," NBER Working Papers 13017, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Valerie A. Ramey & Daniel J. Vine, 2005. "Declining Volatility in the U.S. Automobile Industry," NBER Working Papers 11596, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Fernandez-Villaverde, Jesus & Rubio-Ramirez, Juan F., 2006. "Solving DSGE models with perturbation methods and a change of variables," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 30(12), pages 2509-2531, December.
  20. Fermanian, Jean-David & Salani , Bernard, 2004. "A Nonparametric Simulated Maximum Likelihood Estimation Method," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 20(04), pages 701-734, August.
  21. Fabio Canova & Luca Gambetti, 2003. "Structural changes in the US economy: is there a role for monetary policy?," Economics Working Papers 918, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Apr 2008.
  22. Rochelle M. Edge & Michael T. Kiley & Jean-Philippe Laforte, 2007. "Documentation of the Research and Statistics Division’s estimated DSGE model of the U.S. economy: 2006 version," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2007-53, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  23. Koop, Gary & Pesaran, M. Hashem & Potter, Simon M., 1996. "Impulse response analysis in nonlinear multivariate models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 119-147, September.
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