IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Why Is Productivity Procyclical? Why Do We Care?

  • Susanto Basu
  • John Fernald

Productivity rises in booms and falls in recessions. There are four main explanations for this procyclical productivity: (i) procyclical technology shocks, (ii) widespread imperfect competition and increasing returns, (iii) variable utilization of inputs over the cycle, and (iv) resource reallocations. Recent macroeconomic literature views this stylized fact of procyclical productivity as an essential feature of business cycles because each explanation has important implications for macroeconomic modeling. In this paper, we discuss empirical methods for assessing the importance of these four explanations. We provide microfoundations for our preferred approach of estimating an explicitly first-order approximation to the production function, using a theoretically motivated proxy for utilization. When we implement this approach, we find that variable utilization and resource reallocations are particularly important in explaining procyclical productivity. We also argue that the reallocation effects that we identify are not biases' they reflect changes in an economy's ability to produce goods and services for final consumption from given primary inputs of capital and labor. Thus, from a normative viewpoint, reallocations are significant for welfare; from a positive viewpoint, they constitute potentially important amplification and propagation mechanisms for macroeconomic modeling.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w7940.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 7940.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: Oct 2000
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Why Is Productivity Procyclical? Why Do We Care? , Susanto Basu, John Fernald. in New Developments in Productivity Analysis , Hulten, Dean, and Harper. 2001
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7940
Note: EFG
Contact details of provider: Postal:
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.

Phone: 617-868-3900
Web page: http://www.nber.org
Email:


More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Cooper, Russell W. & Johri, Alok, 1997. "Dynamic complementarities: A quantitative analysis," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 97-119, September.
  2. Eli Berman & John Bound & Zvi Griliches, 1994. "Changes in the Demand for Skilled Labor within U. S. Manufacturing: Evidence from the Annual Survey of Manufactures," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(2), pages 367-397.
  3. Bruno, Michael, 1978. "Duality, Intermediate Inputs and Value-Added," Histoy of Economic Thought Chapters, in: Fuss, Melvyn & McFadden, Daniel (ed.), Production Economics: A Dual Approach to Theory and Applications, volume 2, chapter 1 McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought.
  4. Matthew D. Shapiro, 1986. "Capital Utilization and Capital Accumulation: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 1900, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Ramey, Valerie A. & Shapiro, Matthew D., 1998. "Costly capital reallocation and the effects of government spending," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 145-194, June.
  6. Basu, Susanto, 1995. "Intermediate Goods and Business Cycles: Implications for Productivity and Welfare," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 512-31, June.
  7. Edward J Green & Robert H Porter, 1997. "Noncooperative Collusion Under Imperfect Price Information," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1147, David K. Levine.
  8. Morrison, Catherine J, 1992. "Markups in U.S. and Japanese Manufacturing: A Short-Run Econometric Analysis," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 10(1), pages 51-63, January.
  9. Zvi Griliches & Jacques Mairesse, 1995. "Production Functions: The Search for Identification," NBER Working Papers 5067, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Weder, Mark, 1997. "Animal spirits, technology shocks and the business cycle," SFB 373 Discussion Papers 1997,61, Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes.
  11. Craig Burnside & Martin Eichenbaum & Sergio Rebelo, 1995. "Capital Utilization and Returns to Scale," NBER Working Papers 5125, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Jordi Gali, 1999. "Technology, Employment, and the Business Cycle: Do Technology Shocks Explain Aggregate Fluctuations?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 249-271, March.
  13. repec:umd:umdeco:prucha3 is not listed on IDEAS
  14. P. Diamond, 1980. "Aggregate Demand Management in Search Equilibrium," Working papers 268, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  15. Diewert, W. E., 1976. "Exact and superlative index numbers," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 115-145, May.
  16. Susanto Basu & John Fernald & Miles Kimball, 2004. "Are Technology Improvements Contractionary?," NBER Working Papers 10592, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Hall, Robert E, 1988. "The Relation between Price and Marginal Cost in U.S. Industry," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(5), pages 921-47, October.
  18. Robert J. Barro & Robert G. King, 1984. "Time-Separable Preferences and Intertemporal-Substitution Models of Business Cycles," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 99(4), pages 817-839.
  19. Argia M. Sbordone, 1994. "Interpreting the procyclical productivity of manufacturing sectors: external effects or labor hoarding?," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues 94-9, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  20. John Shea, 1997. "Instrument Relevance in Multivariate Linear Models: A Simple Measure," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 79(2), pages 348-352, May.
  21. John Haltiwanger, 1997. "Measuring and analyzing aggregate fluctuations: the importance of building from microeconomic evidence," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue May, pages 55-78.
  22. M. Ishaq Nadiri & Ingmar R. Prucha, 1999. "Dynamic Factor Demand Models and Productivity Analysis," NBER Working Papers 7079, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Miles S. Kimball & Michael Woodford, 1994. "The quantitative analysis of the basic neomonetarist model," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, pages 1241-1289.
  24. Gary Solon & Robert Barsky & Jonathan A. Parker, 1992. "Measuring the Cyclicality of Real Wages: How Important is Composition Bias," NBER Working Papers 4202, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. Lau, Lawrence J., 1986. "Functional forms in econometric model building," Handbook of Econometrics, in: Z. Griliches† & M. D. Intriligator (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 26, pages 1515-1566 Elsevier.
  26. Benhabib, Jess & Farmer, Roger E.A., 1991. "Indeterminacy and Increasing Returns," Working Papers 91-59, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  27. Romer, Paul M, 1986. "Increasing Returns and Long-run Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(5), pages 1002-37, October.
  28. Klette, Tor Jakob & Griliches, Zvi, 1996. "The Inconsistency of Common Scale Estimators When Output Prices Are Unobserved and Endogenous," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(4), pages 343-61, July-Aug..
  29. Pindyck, Robert S & Rotemberg, Julio J, 1983. "Dynamic Factor Demands and the Effects of Energy Price Shocks," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(5), pages 1066-79, December.
  30. Chambers,Robert G., 1988. "Applied Production Analysis," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521314275, 1.
  31. Rotemberg, Julio J & Saloner, Garth, 1986. "A Supergame-Theoretic Model of Price Wars during Booms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 390-407, June.
  32. Farmer Roger E. A. & Guo Jang-Ting, 1994. "Real Business Cycles and the Animal Spirits Hypothesis," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 42-72, June.
  33. Craig Burnside & Martin Eichenbaum, 1994. "Factor Hoarding and the Propagation of Business Cycles Shocks," NBER Working Papers 4675, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  34. Lucas, Robert Jr, 1976. "Econometric policy evaluation: A critique," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 19-46, January.
  35. repec:oup:restud:v:57:y:1990:i:2:p:183-203 is not listed on IDEAS
  36. Hulten, Charles R., 1986. "Productivity change, capacity utilization, and the sources of efficiency growth," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1-2), pages 31-50.
  37. Laurence Ball & David Romer, 1990. "Real Rigidities and the Non-Neutrality of Money," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(2), pages 183-203.
  38. Mark Bils & Jang-Ok Cho, 1993. "Cyclical factor utilization," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 79, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  39. Olley, G Steven & Pakes, Ariel, 1996. "The Dynamics of Productivity in the Telecommunications Equipment Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(6), pages 1263-97, November.
  40. Stephanie Schmitt-Grohe, 1995. "Comparing four models of aggregate fluctuations due to self-fulfilling expectations," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 95-17, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  41. J. Beaulieu & Joe Mattey, 1998. "The Workweek of Capital and Capital Utilization in Manufacturing," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 199-223, October.
  42. repec:ubc:bricol:93-34 is not listed on IDEAS
  43. John Haltiwanger & C J Krizan & Lucia Foster, 1998. "Aggregate Productivity Growth: Lessons From Microeconomic Evidence," Working Papers 98-12, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  44. Nadiri, M.I. & Prucha, I., 1999. "Dynamic Factor Demand Models and Productivity Analysis," Working Papers 99-09, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  45. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1970. "Capacity, Overtime, and Empirical Production Functions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 60(2), pages 23-27, May.
  46. Olivier Jean Blanchard & Peter A. Diamond, 1989. "The Aggregate Matching Function," NBER Working Papers 3175, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  47. Berndt, Ernst R. & Fuss, Melvyn A., 1986. "Productivity measurement with adjustments for variations in capacity utilization and other forms of temporary equilibrium," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1-2), pages 7-29.
  48. Donald S. Siegel & Catherine J. Morrison Paul, 1999. "Scale Economies and Industry Agglomeration Externalities: A Dynamic Cost Function Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 272-290, March.
  49. Russell Cooper & Andrew John, 1988. "Coordinating Coordination Failures in Keynesian Models," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 103(3), pages 441-463.
  50. Basu, Susanto & Fernald, John G., 1995. "Are apparent productive spillovers a figment of specification error?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 165-188, August.
  51. Sato, Kazuo, 1976. "The Meaning and Measurement of the Real Value Added Index," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 58(4), pages 434-42, November.
  52. Matthew D. Shapiro, 1996. "Macroeconomic Implications of Variation in the Workweek of Capital," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 27(2), pages 79-134.
  53. Bartelsman, Eric J & Caballero, Ricardo J & Lyons, Richard K, 1994. "Customer- and Supplier-Driven Externalities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 1075-84, September.
  54. Susanto Basu & Miles S. Kimball, 1997. "Cyclical Productivity with Unobserved Input Variation," NBER Working Papers 5915, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  55. Charles R. Hulten, 1978. "Growth Accounting with Intermediate Inputs," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 45(3), pages 511-518.
  56. Julio J. Rotemberg & Michael Woodford, 1991. "Markups and the Business Cycle," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1991, Volume 6, pages 63-140 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  57. M. Ishaq Nadiri & Ingmar R. Prucha, 1999. "Dynamic Factor Demand Models and Productivity Analysis," Electronic Working Papers 99-005, University of Maryland, Department of Economics.
  58. Hall, Alastair R & Rudebusch, Glenn D & Wilcox, David W, 1996. "Judging Instrument Relevance in Instrumental Variables Estimation," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 37(2), pages 283-98, May.
  59. Dennis W. Carlton, 1983. "Equilibrium Fluctuations When Price and Delivery Lag Clear the Market," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 14(2), pages 562-572, Autumn.
  60. Simon Gilchrist & John Williams, 1998. "Investment, capacity, and output: a putty-clay approach," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1998-44, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  61. Bils, Mark, 1987. "The Cyclical Behavior of Marginal Cost and Price," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(5), pages 838-55, December.
  62. Marianne Baxter & Robert G. King, 1991. "Productive externalities and business cycles," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 53, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  63. Diamond, Peter A & Mirrlees, James A, 1971. "Optimal Taxation and Public Production II: Tax Rules," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(3), pages 261-78, June.
  64. repec:oup:restud:v:45:y:1978:i:3:p:511-18 is not listed on IDEAS
  65. D. W. Jorgenson & Z. Griliches, 1967. "The Explanation of Productivity Change," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 34(3), pages 249-283.
  66. Ricardo J. Caballero & Richard K. Lyons, 1989. "The Role of External Economies in U.S. Manufacturing," NBER Working Papers 3033, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  67. Lilien, David M, 1982. "Sectoral Shifts and Cyclical Unemployment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(4), pages 777-93, August.
  68. Dale W. Jorgenson, 1991. "Productivity and Economic Growth," NBER Chapters, in: Fifty Years of Economic Measurement: The Jubilee of the Conference on Research in Income and Wealth, pages 19-118 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7940. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.