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Is the Business Cycles a Necessary Consequence of Stochastic Growth?

  • Julio J. Rotemberg
  • Michael Woodford

We compute the forecastable changes in output, consumption, and hours implied by a VAR that includes the growth rate of private value added, the share of output that is consumed, and the detrended level of private hours. We show that the size of the forecastable changes in output greatly exceeds that predicted by a standard stochastic growth model, of the kind studied by real business cycle theorists. Contrary to the model's implications, forecastable movements in labor productivity are small and only weakly related to forecasted changes in output. Also, forecasted movements in investment and hours are positively correlated with forecasted movements in output. Finally, and again in contrast to what the growth model implies, forecasted output movements are positively related to the current level of the consumption share and negatively related to the level of hours. We also show that these contrasts between the model and the observations are robust to allowance for measurement error and a variety of other types of transitory disturbances.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4650.

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Date of creation: Feb 1994
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Publication status: published as "Real Business Cycle Models and the Forecastable Movements in Outputs, Hours, and Consumption," American Economic Review, Vol. 86 (1996): 17-89.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4650
Note: EFG
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  1. Mark W. Watson, 1991. "Measures of Fit for Calibrated Models," NBER Technical Working Papers 0102, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Lippi, Marco & Reichlin, Lucrezia, 1993. "The Dynamic Effects of Aggregate Demand and Supply Disturbances: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 644-52, June.
  3. Plosser, C.I., 1989. "Understanding Real Business Cycles," RCER Working Papers 198, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  4. Edward C. Prescott, 1986. "Theory ahead of business cycle measurement," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Fall, pages 9-22.
  5. Robert J. Gordon, 1979. "The "End-of-Expansion" Phenomenon in Short-Run Productivity Behavior," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 10(2), pages 447-462.
  6. Campbell, John Y, 1987. "Does Saving Anticipate Declining Labor Income? An Alternative Test of the Permanent Income Hypothesis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(6), pages 1249-73, November.
  7. George Evans & Lucrezia Reichlin, 1994. "Information, forecasts and measurement of the business cycle," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/10155, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  8. King, Robert G. & Plosser, Charles I. & Rebelo, Sergio T., 1988. "Production, growth and business cycles : I. The basic neoclassical model," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2-3), pages 195-232.
  9. Boyan Jovanovic & Saul Lach, 1993. "Diffusion Lags and Aggregate Fluctuations. New Name: Product Innovation and the Business Cycle," NBER Working Papers 4455, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Cochrane, John H, 1994. "Permanent and Transitory Components of GNP and Stock Prices," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(1), pages 241-65, February.
  11. King, R.G. & Rebelo, S.T., 1989. "Low Frequency Filtering And Real Business Cycles," RCER Working Papers 205, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  12. King, Robert G. & Plosser, Charles I. & Stock, James H. & Watson, Mark W., 1991. "Stochastic Trends and Economic Fluctuations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 819-40, September.
  13. Rotemberg, Julio J & Woodford, Michael, 1992. "Oligopolistic Pricing and the Effects of Aggregate Demand on Economic Activity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(6), pages 1153-1207, December.
  14. Brock, William A. & Mirman, Leonard J., 1972. "Optimal economic growth and uncertainty: The discounted case," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 4(3), pages 479-513, June.
  15. Ellison, Glenn & Fudenberg, Drew, 1992. "Rules of Thumb for Social Learning," IDEI Working Papers 17, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  16. Nelson, Charles R. & Plosser, Charles I., 1982. "Trends and random walks in macroeconmic time series : Some evidence and implications," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 139-162.
  17. Gamber, Edward N & Joutz, Frederick L, 1993. "The Dynamic Effects of Aggregate Demand and Supply Disturbances: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1387-93, December.
  18. Christopher A. Sims, 1974. "Output and Labor Input in Manufacturing," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 5(3), pages 695-736.
  19. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1982. "Time to Build and Aggregate Fluctuations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1345-70, November.
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