IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

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
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. Susanto Basu & John Fernald & Miles Kimball, 2004. "Are Technology Improvements Contractionary?," NBER Working Papers 10592, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Craig Burnside & Martin Eichenbaum, 1994. "Factor Hoarding and the Propagation of Business Cycles Shocks," NBER Working Papers 4675, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Schmitt-Grohe, Stephanie, 1997. "Comparing Four Models of Aggregate Fluctuations due to Self-Fulfilling Expectations," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 96-147, January.
  4. 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.
  5. Basu, S., 1993. "Intermediate Goods and Business Cycles: Implications for Productivity and Welfare," Papers 93-23, Michigan - Center for Research on Economic & Social Theory.
  6. 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.
  7. Matthew D. Shapiro, 1985. "Capital Utilization and Capital Accumulation: Theory and Evidence," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 736, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  8. Bils, Mark, 1987. "The Cyclical Behavior of Marginal Cost and Price," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(5), pages 838-855, December.
  9. Susanto Basu & John G. Fernald, 1994. "Are apparent productive spillovers a figment of specification error?," International Finance Discussion Papers 463, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  10. Chambers,Robert G., 1988. "Applied Production Analysis," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521314275, October.
  11. Lucia Foster & John C. Haltiwanger & C. J. Krizan, 2001. "Aggregate Productivity Growth: Lessons from Microeconomic Evidence," NBER Chapters, in: New Developments in Productivity Analysis, pages 303-372 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. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. Blanchard, J.O., 1989. "The Aggregate Matching Function," Working papers 538, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  17. Zvi Griliches & Jacques Mairesse, 1995. "Production Functions: The Search for Identification," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1719, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  18. 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.
  19. Susanto Basu & Miles S. Kimball, 1997. "Cyclical Productivity with Unobserved Input Variation," NBER Working Papers 5915, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Edward J Green & Robert H Porter, 1997. "Noncooperative Collusion Under Imperfect Price Information," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1147, David K. Levine.
  21. 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.
  22. Craig Burnside & Martin Eichenbaum & Sergio Rebelo, 1995. "Capital Utilization and Returns to Scale," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1995, Volume 10, pages 67-124 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. Russell Cooper & Alok Johri, 1996. "Dynamic Complementarities: A Quantitative Analysis," NBER Working Papers 5691, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  26. Catherine J. Morrison, 1988. "Markups in U.S. and Japanese Manufacturing: A Short Run Econometric Analysis," NBER Working Papers 2799, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  27. George S Olley & Ariel Pakes, 1992. "The Dynamics Of Productivity In The Telecommunications Equipment Industry," Working Papers 92-2, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  28. Diamond, Peter A, 1982. "Aggregate Demand Management in Search Equilibrium," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(5), pages 881-894, October.
  29. 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.
  30. Charles R. Hulten, 1978. "Growth Accounting with Intermediate Inputs," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 45(3), pages 511-518.
  31. 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.
  32. 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.
  33. 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.
  34. 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 1075-1084, September.
  35. 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.
  36. Lilien, David M, 1982. "Sectoral Shifts and Cyclical Unemployment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(4), pages 777-793, August.
  37. 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.
  38. Sbordone, Argia M, 1997. "Interpreting the Procyclical Productivity of Manufacturing Sectors: External Effects or Labor Hoarding?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 29(1), pages 26-45, February.
  39. 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 343-361, July-Aug..
  40. D. W. Jorgenson & Z. Griliches, 1967. "The Explanation of Productivity Change," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 34(3), pages 249-283.
  41. Diewert, W. E., 1976. "Exact and superlative index numbers," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 115-145, May.
  42. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1970. "Capacity, Overtime, and Empirical Production Functions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 60(2), pages 23-27, May.
  43. 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.
  44. Lucas, Robert Jr, 1976. "Econometric policy evaluation: A critique," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 19-46, January.
  45. Paul M Romer, 1999. "Increasing Returns and Long-Run Growth," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2232, David K. Levine.
  46. Miles S. Kimball & Michael Woodford, 1994. "The quantitative analysis of the basic neomonetarist model," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, pages 1241-1289.
  47. 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.).
  48. 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.
  49. 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.
  50. 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.
  51. Gary Solon & Robert Barsky & Jonathan A. Parker, 1994. "Measuring the Cyclicality of Real Wages: How Important is Composition Bias?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(1), pages 1-25.
  52. Mark Bils & Jang-Ok Cho, 1993. "Cyclical factor utilization," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 79, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  53. Laurence Ball & David Romer, 1987. "Real Rigidities and the Non-Neutrality of Money," NBER Working Papers 2476, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  54. 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 1066-1079, December.
  55. repec:umd:umdeco:prucha3 is not listed on IDEAS
  56. 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.
  57. Marianne Baxter & Robert G. King, 1991. "Productive externalities and business cycles," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 53, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  58. 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.
  59. Weder, Mark, 2000. "Animal spirits, technology shocks and the business cycle," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 273-295, February.
  60. 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 921-947, October.
  61. 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.
  62. 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 261-278, June.
  63. 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.
  64. repec:ubc:bricol:93-34 is not listed on IDEAS
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.