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Understanding the Great Recession

  • Lawrence J. Christiano
  • Martin S. Eichenbaum
  • Mathias Trabandt

We argue that the vast bulk of movements in aggregate real economic activity during the Great Recession were due to financial frictions interacting with the zero lower bound. We reach this conclusion looking through the lens of a New Keynesian model in which firms face moderate degrees of price rigidities and no nominal rigidities in the wage setting process. Our model does a good job of accounting for the joint behavior of labor and goods markets, as well as inflation, during the Great Recession. According to the model the observed fall in total factor productivity and the rise in the cost of working capital played critical roles in accounting for the small size of the drop in inflation that occurred during the Great Recession.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 20040.

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Date of creation: Apr 2014
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Publication status: published as Understanding the Great Recession , Lawrence J. Christiano, Martin S. Eichenbaum, Mathias Trabandt. in Lessons from the Financial Crisis for Monetary Policy , Gertler. 2015
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:20040
Note: EFG ME
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  1. Christopher J. Erceg & Dale W. Henderson & Andrew T. Levin, 1999. "Optimal monetary policy with staggered wage and price contracts," International Finance Discussion Papers 640, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  2. Pissarides, Christopher A, 1985. "Short-run Equilibrium Dynamics of Unemployment Vacancies, and Real Wages," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 676-90, September.
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  4. Christopher J. Erceg & Andrew Levin, 2013. "Labor Force Participation and Monetary Policy in the Wake of the Great Recession," IMF Working Papers 13/245, International Monetary Fund.
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  8. Luigi Paciello, 2009. "Does Inflation Adjust Faster to Aggregate Technology Shocks than to Monetary Policy Shocks?," EIEF Working Papers Series 0917, Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF), revised Apr 2011.
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  10. Diamond, Peter A, 1982. "Aggregate Demand Management in Search Equilibrium," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(5), pages 881-94, October.
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  12. Mark Aguiar & Erik Hurst & Loukas Karabarbounis, 2013. "Time Use during the Great Recession," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(5), pages 1664-96, August.
  13. Christopher A. Sims & Tao Zha, 2006. "Were There Regime Switches in U.S. Monetary Policy?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 54-81, March.
  14. Yun, Tack, 1996. "Nominal price rigidity, money supply endogeneity, and business cycles," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(2-3), pages 345-370, April.
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