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A Dual Method of Empirically Evaluating Dynamic Competitive Equilibrium Models with Market Distortions, Applied to the Great Depression & World War II

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  • Casey B. Mulligan

Abstract

I prove some theorems for competitive equilibria in the presence of market distortions, and use those theorems to motivate an algorithm for (simply and exactly) computing and empirically evaluating competitive equilibria for dynamic economies. Although a competitive equilibrium models interactions between all sectors, all consumer types, and all time periods, I show how my algorithm permits separate empirical evaluation of these pieces of the model and hence is practical even when very little data is available. I then compute a neoclassical growth model with distortionary taxes that fits aggregate U.S. time series for the period 1929-50 and conclude that, if it is to explain aggregate behavior during the period, government policy must have heavily taxed labor income during the Great Depression and lightly taxed it during the war. In other words, the challenge for the competitive equilibrium approach is not so much why output might change over time, but why the marginal product of labor and the marginal value of leisure diverged so much and why that wedge persisted so long. In this sense, explaining aggregate behavior during the period has been reduced to a public finance question -- were actual government policies distorting behavior in the same direction and magnitude as government policies in the model?

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  • Casey B. Mulligan, 2002. "A Dual Method of Empirically Evaluating Dynamic Competitive Equilibrium Models with Market Distortions, Applied to the Great Depression & World War II," NBER Working Papers 8775, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8775 Note: EFG PE
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    Cited by:

    1. Kobayashi, Keiichiro & Inaba, Masaru, 2006. "Business cycle accounting for the Japanese economy," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 418-440, December.
    2. Gauti B. Eggertsson, 2012. "Was the New Deal Contractionary?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(1), pages 524-555, February.
    3. Lawrence J. Christiano & Joshua M. Davis, 2006. "Two flaws in business cycle dating," Working Paper 0612, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
    4. Mario J. Crucini & James Kahn, 2003. "Tariffs and the Great Depression Revisited," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0316, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
    5. V. V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe & Ellen R. McGrattan, 2007. "Business Cycle Accounting," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(3), pages 781-836, May.
    6. KOBAYASHI Keiichiro & INABA Masaru (RIETI), 2007. "Debt-Ridden Equilibria - A Simple Theory of Great Depressions -," Discussion papers 07035, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    7. Chakraborty, Suparna, 2008. "Indian Economic Growth: Lessons for the Emerging Economies," WIDER Working Paper Series 067, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    8. Brinca Pedro, 2013. "Monetary business cycle accounting for Sweden," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 13(1), pages 1-35, October.
    9. V. V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe & Ellen R. McGrattan, 2003. "Accounting for the Great Depression," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Spr, pages 2-8.
    10. Chakraborty, Suparna, 2009. "The boom and the bust of the Japanese economy: A quantitative look at the period 1980-2000," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 116-131, January.
    11. Roman Sustek, 2011. "Monetary Business Cycle Accounting," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 14(4), pages 592-612, October.
    12. Keiichiro Kobayashi & Daichi Shirai, 2012. "Debt-Ridden Borrowers and Productivity Slowdown," CIGS Working Paper Series 14-005E, The Canon Institute for Global Studies.
    13. Michael Donadelli & Vahid Mojtahed & Antonio Paradiso, 2015. "Technological Progress, Investment Frictions and Business Cycle: New Insights from a Neoclassical Growth Model," Working Papers LuissLab 15119, Dipartimento di Economia e Finanza, LUISS Guido Carli.
    14. Restuccia, Diego & Yang, Dennis Tao & Zhu, Xiaodong, 2008. "Agriculture and aggregate productivity: A quantitative cross-country analysis," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 234-250, March.
    15. Ljungwall, Christer & Gao, Xu, 2009. "Sources Of Business Cycle Fluctuations: Comparing China And India," Working Paper Series 2009-7, Stockholm School of Economics, China Economic Research Center.
    16. Lawrence J. Christiano & Joshua M. Davis, 2006. "Two flaws in business cycle accounting," Working Paper Series WP-06-10, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    17. Gao, Xu, 2007. "Business Cycle Accounting for the Chinese Economy," MPRA Paper 7050, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Dec 2007.
    18. Giorgio Primiceri & Ernst Schaumburg & Andrea Tambalotti, 2006. "Intertemporal disturbances," 2006 Meeting Papers 355, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    19. Lawrence J. Christiano & Roberto Motto & Massimo Rostagno, 2003. "The Great Depression and the Friedman-Schwartz hypothesis," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, pages 1119-1215.
    20. Slim BRIDJI, 2007. "Accounting for the French Great Depression," 2007 Meeting Papers 461, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    21. Casey B. Mulligan, 2003. "Capital Tax Incidence: Fisherian Impressions from the Time Series," NBER Working Papers 9916, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    22. Christiano, Lawrence & Motto, Roberto & Rostagno, Massimo, 2004. "The Great Depression and the Friedman-Schwartz hypothesis," Working Paper Series 326, European Central Bank.
    23. Keiichiro Kobayashi & Masaru Inaba, 2006. "Borrowing constraints and protracted recessions," Discussion papers 06011, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    24. Casey B. Mulligan, 2004. "Robust Aggregate Implications of Stochastic Discount Factor Volatility," NBER Working Papers 10210, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H30 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - General
    • C68 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Computable General Equilibrium Models

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