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The Cowles Commission Approach, Real Business Cycle Theories, and New Keynesian Economics

  • Ray C. Fair

The Cowles Commission approach is reviewed and compared to the approaches of real business cycle (RBC) theorists and new Keynesian economists. It is argued that RBC models are not tested in a serious enough way and that the new Keynesian literature is not empirical enough for testing even to be a serious possibility. Macroeconomics seems to be moving away from its traditional empirical basis, which is sad. This paper argues for returning to the path that was abandoned by most macroeconomists around 1970, namely the specification and testing of structural macroeconometric models.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 3990.

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Date of creation: Feb 1992
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as The Business Cycles: Theories and Evidence, (Proceedings of the Sixteenth Annual Economic Policy Conference of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis), edited by Michael T. Belognia and Michelle R. Garfinkel, pp. 133-147, Norwell, MA: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1992
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3990
Note: EFG
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  1. Russell Davidson & James G. MacKinnon, 1980. "Several Tests for Model Specification in the Presence of Alternative Hypotheses," Working Papers 378, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  2. Laidler, David & Bentley, Brian, 1983. "A Small Macro-Model of the Post-War United States," The Manchester School of Economic & Social Studies, University of Manchester, vol. 51(4), pages 317-40, December.
  3. Christiano, Lawrence J & Eichenbaum, Martin, 1992. "Current Real-Business-Cycle Theories and Aggregate Labor-Market Fluctuations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 430-50, June.
  4. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1982. "Time to Build and Aggregate Fluctuations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1345-70, November.
  5. Ray C. Fair & John B. Taylor, 1980. "Solution and Maximum Likelihood Estimation of Dynamic Nonlinear RationalExpectations Models," NBER Technical Working Papers 0005, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. MacKinnon, James G. & White, Halbert & Davidson, Russell, 1983. "Tests for model specification in the presence of alternative hypotheses : Some further results," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 53-70, January.
  7. Barro, Robert J, 1978. "Unanticipated Money, Output, and the Price Level in the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(4), pages 549-80, August.
  8. Fair, Ray C & Shiller, Robert J, 1990. "Comparing Information in Forecasts from Econometric Models," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 375-89, June.
  9. Hansen, Lars Peter & Singleton, Kenneth J, 1982. "Generalized Instrumental Variables Estimation of Nonlinear Rational Expectations Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(5), pages 1269-86, September.
  10. Krane, Spencer D & Braun, Stephen N, 1991. "Production Smoothing Evidence from Physical-Product Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(3), pages 558-81, June.
  11. Sumru Altug, 1986. "Time to build and aggregate fluctuations: some new evidence," Working Papers 277, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  12. David Laidler & Ben S. Bernanke (ary), 1992. "The cycle before new-classical economics," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, pages 85-117.
  13. Ray C. Fair, 1978. "Estimating the Expected Predictive Accuracy of Econometric Models," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 480, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  14. Chow, G.C., 1993. "Statistical Estimation and Testing of a Real Business Cycle Model," Papers 365, Princeton, Department of Economics - Econometric Research Program.
  15. Chong, Yock Y & Hendry, David F, 1986. "Econometric Evaluation of Linear Macro-Economic Models," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(4), pages 671-90, August.
  16. Hansen, Lars Peter, 1982. "Large Sample Properties of Generalized Method of Moments Estimators," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 1029-54, July.
  17. Hendry, David F. & Richard, Jean-Francois, 1982. "On the formulation of empirical models in dynamic econometrics," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 3-33, October.
  18. Hall, Robert E, 1978. "Stochastic Implications of the Life Cycle-Permanent Income Hypothesis: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(6), pages 971-87, December.
  19. Lucas, Robert Jr, 1976. "Econometric policy evaluation: A critique," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 19-46, January.
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