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What Ends Recessions?

  • Christina D. Romer
  • David H. Romer

This paper analyzes the contributions of monetary and fiscal policy to postwar economic recoveries. We find that the Federal Reserve typically responds to downturns with prompt and large reductions in interest rates. Discretionary fiscal policy, in contrast, rarely reacts before the trough in economic activity, and even then the responses are usually small. Simulations using multipliers from both simple regressions and a large macroeconomic model show that the interest rate falls account for nearly all of the above-average growth that occurs early in recoveries. Our estimates also indicate that on several occasions expansionary policies have contributed substantially to above-normal growth outside of recoveries. Finally, the results suggest that the persistence of aggregate output movements is largely the result of the extreme persistence of the contribution of policy changes.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4765.

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Date of creation: Jun 1994
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Fischer, S. and J. Rotemberg (eds.) NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1994. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1994.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4765
Note: EFG ME
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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  1. Romer, Christina D. & Romer, David H., 1994. "Monetary policy matters," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 75-88, August.
  2. Campbell, John Y & Mankiw, N Gregory, 1987. "Are Output Fluctuations Transitory?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 102(4), pages 857-80, November.
  3. Sichel, Daniel E, 1994. "Inventories and the Three Phases of the Business Cycle," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 12(3), pages 269-77, July.
  4. Christina D. Romer & David H. Romer, 1993. "Credit Channel or Credit Actions? An Interpretation of the Postwar Transmission Mechanism," NBER Working Papers 4485, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Goldfeld, Stephen M. & Sichel, Daniel E., 1990. "The demand for money," Handbook of Monetary Economics, in: B. M. Friedman & F. H. Hahn (ed.), Handbook of Monetary Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 8, pages 299-356 Elsevier.
  6. Christina D. Romer and David H. Romer., 1989. "Does Monetary Policy Matter? A New Test in the Spirit of Friedman and Schwartz," Economics Working Papers 89-107, University of California at Berkeley.
  7. Blanchard, Olivier Jean & Quah, Danny, 1989. "The Dynamic Effects of Aggregate Demand and Supply Disturbances," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 655-73, September.
  8. David B. Gordon & Eric M. Leeper, 1992. "The dynamic impacts of monetary policy: an exercise in tentative identification," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 92-13, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  9. Thomas J. Sargent, 1975. "The observational equivalence of natural and unnatural rate theories of macroeconomics," Working Papers 48, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  10. Beaudry, Paul & Koop, Gary, 1993. "Do recessions permanently change output?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 149-163, April.
  11. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum, 1990. "Unit roots in real GNP: do we know, and do we care?," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues 90-2, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  12. 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.
  13. George L. Perry & Charles L. Schultze, 1993. "Was This Recession Different? Are They All Different?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 24(1), pages 145-212.
  14. Ben S. Bernanke & Alan S. Blinder, 1989. "The federal funds rate and the channels of monetary transmission," Working Papers 89-10, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  15. 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.
  16. Sims, Christopher A, 1972. "Money, Income, and Causality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(4), pages 540-52, September.
  17. Robert King & Mark W. Watson, 1992. "Testing Long Run Neutrality," NBER Working Papers 4156, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. De Long, James Bradford & Summers, Lawrence H, 1986. "Is Increased Price Flexibility Stabilizing?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 1031-44, December.
  19. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum, 1991. "Identification and the Liquidity Effect of a Monetary Policy Shock," NBER Working Papers 3920, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Gordon, Robert J, 1990. "What Is New-Keynesian Economics?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 28(3), pages 1115-71, September.
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