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A Plucking Model of Business Cycles

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  • Stéphane Dupraz
  • Emi Nakamura
  • Jón Steinsson

Abstract

In standard models, economic activity fluctuates symmetrically around a “natural rate” and stabilization policies can dampen these fluctuations but do not affect the average level of activity. An alternative view—labeled the “plucking model” by Milton Friedman—is that economic fluctuations are drops below the economy’s full potential ceiling. If this view is correct, stabilization policy, by dampening these fluctuations, can raise the average level of activity. We show that the dynamics of the unemployment rate in the US display a striking asymmetry that strongly favors the plucking model: increases in unemployment are followed by decreases of similar amplitude, while the amplitude of the increase is not related to the amplitude of the previous decrease. We develop a microfounded plucking model of the business cycle. The source of asymmetry in our model is downward nominal wage rigidity, which we embed in an explicit search model of the labor market. Our search framework implies that downward nominal wage rigidity is consistent with optimizing behavior and equilibrium. In our plucking model, stabilization policy lowers average unemployment and thereby yields sizable welfare gains.

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  • Stéphane Dupraz & Emi Nakamura & Jón Steinsson, 2019. "A Plucking Model of Business Cycles," NBER Working Papers 26351, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:26351
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    1. A Plucking Model of Business Cycles
      by Christian Zimmermann in NEP-DGE blog on 2020-05-29 21:02:28

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    2. Freund, Lukas & Rendahl, Pontus, 2020. "Unexpected Effects: Uncertainty, Unemployment, and Inflation," CEPR Discussion Papers 14690, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Jardim, Ekaterina & Solon, Gary & Vigdor, Jacob, 2019. "How Prevalent Is Downward Rigidity in Nominal Wages? Evidence from Payroll Records in Washington State," IZA Discussion Papers 12124, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    4. Robert E. Hall & Marianna Kudlyak, 2020. "Why Has the US Economy Recovered So Consistently from Every Recession in the Past 70 Years?," NBER Working Papers 27234, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Park, Ki Young & Kim, Soohyon, 2019. "Detecting currency manipulation: An application of a state-space model with Markov switching," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 50-60.
    6. Sushant Acharya & Julien Bengui & Keshav Dogra & Shu Lin Wee, 2017. "Slow recoveries and unemployment traps: monetary policy in a time of hysteresis," Staff Reports 831, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, revised 01 Aug 2018.
    7. Olivier J. Blanchard, 2017. "Should we Get rid of the Natural Rate Hypothesis?," NBER Working Papers 24057, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. S. Dupraz, 2017. "A Kinked-Demand Theory of Price Rigidity," Working papers 656, Banque de France.
    9. Chang Ma & John H. Rogers & Sili Zhou, 2020. "Modern Pandemics: Recession and Recovery," International Finance Discussion Papers 1295, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    10. Joshua Bernstein & Alexander W. Richter & Nathaniel A. Throckmorton, 2020. "Entry and Exit, Unemployment, and Macroeconomic Tail Risk," Working Papers 2018, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
    11. Òscar Jordà & Moritz Schularick & Alan M. Taylor, 2020. "Disasters Everywhere: The Costs of Business Cycles Reconsidered," Staff Reports 925, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    12. Elroukh, Ahmed W. & Nikolsko-Rzhevskyy, Alex & Panovska, Irina, 2020. "A look at jobless recoveries in G7 countries," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 64(C).
    13. Sushant Acharya & Julien Bengui & Keshav Dogra & Shu Lin Wee, 2016. "Escaping Unemployment Traps," Liberty Street Economics 20161116, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    14. Isabel Cairo & Jae Sim, 2017. "Income Inequality, Financial Crises and Monetary Policy," 2017 Meeting Papers 1433, Society for Economic Dynamics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy

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