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The Cyclical Sensitivity in Estimates of Potential Output

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  • Olivier Coibion
  • Yuriy Gorodnichenko
  • Mauricio Ulate

Abstract

The fact that most of the persistent declines in output since the Great Recession have parlayed into equivalent declines in measures of potential output is commonly interpreted as implying that output will not return to previous trends. Using a variety of estimates of potential output for the U.S. and other countries, we show that these estimates respond gradually not only to supply-side shocks but also respond to demand shocks that have only transitory effects on output. Observing a revision in measures of potential output therefore says little about whether concurrent changes in actual output are likely to be permanent or not. In contrast, some structural VAR methodologies can avoid these shortcomings, even in real-time. These approaches point toward a more limited decline in potential output following the Great Recession.

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  • Olivier Coibion & Yuriy Gorodnichenko & Mauricio Ulate, 2017. "The Cyclical Sensitivity in Estimates of Potential Output," NBER Working Papers 23580, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:23580
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    JEL classification:

    • E2 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment
    • E3 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles

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