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Are Cyclical Fluctuations in Productivity Due More to Supply Shocks or Demand Shocks?

  • Matthew D. Shapiro

Measured productivity is strongly procyclical. Real business cycle theories suggest that actual fluctuations in productivity are the source of fluctuations in aggregate output. Keynesian theories maintain that fluctuations in aggregate output come from shocks to aggregate demand. Keynesian theories appeal to labor hoarding or off the production function behavior to explain the procyclicality of productivity. If observed productivity shocks are true productivity shocks, a function of factor prices should covary exactly with productivity. In annual data for U.S. industries, that function of factor prices and conventionally-measured productivity move together very closely. Moreover, their difference is uncorrelated with aggregate output.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w2147.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 2147.

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Date of creation: Feb 1987
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Publication status: published as Shapiro, Matthew D. "Are Cyclical Fluctuations in Productivity Due More to Supply Shocks of Demand Shocks?" From The American Economic Review, Vol. 77, No. 2, pp. 118-124, (May 1987).
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2147
Note: EFG
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  1. Long, John B, Jr & Plosser, Charles I, 1983. "Real Business Cycles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(1), pages 39-69, February.
  2. Hendrik S. Houthhakker, 1979. "Growth and Inflation: Analysis by Industry," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 10(1), pages 241-257.
  3. Prescott, Edward C., 1986. "Theory ahead of business-cycle measurement," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 11-44, January.
  4. Matthew D. Shapiro, 1986. "Investment, Output, and the Cost of Capital," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 17(1), pages 111-164.
  5. Robert E. Hall, 1986. "The Relation Between Price and Marginal Cost in U.S. Industry," NBER Working Papers 1785, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Fischer, Stanley, 1977. "Long-Term Contracts, Rational Expectations, and the Optimal Money Supply Rule," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(1), pages 191-205, February.
  7. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1982. "Time to Build and Aggregate Fluctuations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1345-70, November.
  8. Lawrence H. Summers, 1986. "Some skeptical observations on real business cycle theory," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Fall, pages 23-27.
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