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Missing Aggregate Dynamics: On the Slow Convergence of Lumpy Adjustment Models

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  • David Berger
  • Ricardo J. Caballero
  • Eduardo Engel

Abstract

The estimated persistence of macro aggregates involving lumpy microeconomic adjustment is biased downward when inferred from VAR estimates. The extent of this “missing persistence bias” decreases with the level of aggregation, yet convergence is very slow. Paradoxically, while idiosyncratic shocks smooth away microeconomic non-convexities and are often used to justify approximating aggregate dynamics with linear models, their presence exacerbates the bias. We propose a method to estimate the true speed of adjustment and illustrate its effectiveness via simulations and applications to real data. The missing persistence bias is relevant for macroeconomists on many grounds. First, when calibrating or estimating models via simulation based methods, macroeconomists should pay attention to the number of agents used in simulations for otherwise they are likely to obtain systematic biases in their parameter estimates. Second, results purporting to find persistence measures that vary systematically with levels of aggregation should be examined with care since the differential speeds may disappear when using estimation methods robust to the missing persistence bias. To illustrate the latter, we show that the difference in the speed with which inflation responds to sectoral and aggregate shocks (Boivin et al 2009; Mackoviak et al 2009) disappears once we correct for the missing persistence bias.

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  • David Berger & Ricardo J. Caballero & Eduardo Engel, 2003. "Missing Aggregate Dynamics: On the Slow Convergence of Lumpy Adjustment Models," NBER Working Papers 9898, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9898 Note: EFG LS PR
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    Cited by:

    1. Caggiano, Giovanni & Castelnuovo, Efrem, 2011. "On the dynamics of international inflation," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 112(2), pages 189-191, August.
    2. Patrick Lünnemann & Thomas Y. Mathä, 2010. "Rigidities and inflation persistence of services and regulated prices," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 31(2-3), pages 193-208.
    3. Denis Fougere & Erwan Gautier & Herve Le Bihan, 2010. "Restaurant Prices and the Minimum Wage," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 42(7), pages 1199-1234, October.
    4. Jonathan Wadsworth, 2010. "Did the National Minimum Wage Affect UK Prices?," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 31(1), pages 81-120, March.
    5. Xavier Gabaix, 2004. "Power laws and the origins of aggregate fluctuations," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 484, Econometric Society.
    6. Mojon, Benoît & Altissimo, Filippo & Zaffaroni, Paolo, 2007. "Fast micro and slow macro: can aggregation explain the persistence of inflation?," Working Paper Series 729, European Central Bank.
    7. Todd E. Clark, 2006. "Disaggregate evidence on the persistence of consumer price inflation," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(5), pages 563-587.
    8. Jesús Fernández-Villaverde & Juan F. Rubio-Ramírez & Thomas J. Sargent & Mark W. Watson, 2007. "ABCs (and Ds) of Understanding VARs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 1021-1026.
    9. Patrick Lünnemann & Thomas Y. Mathä, 2005. "Nominal rigidities and inflation persistence in Luxembourg: a comparison with EU 15 member countries with particular focus on services and regulated prices," BCL working papers 14, Central Bank of Luxembourg.
    10. Gita Gopinath & Roberto Rigobon, 2006. "Sticky Borders," NBER Working Papers 12095, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Zorn, Peter, 2016. "Investment under Rational Inattention: Evidence from US Sectoral Data," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145572, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    12. Daniele Coen-Pirani, 2004. "Markups, Aggregation, and Inventory Adjustment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1328-1353, December.
    13. Xavier Gabaix, 2011. "The Granular Origins of Aggregate Fluctuations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(3), pages 733-772, May.
    14. Juan Pablo Medina G. & David Rappoport W. & Claudio Soto G., 2007. "Dynamics of Price Adjustments: Evidence From Micro Level Data For Chile," Journal Economía Chilena (The Chilean Economy), Central Bank of Chile, vol. 10(2), pages 5-26, August.
    15. Calmès, Christian & Théoret, Raymond, 2010. "The impact of off-balance-sheet activities on banks returns: An application of the ARCH-M to Canadian data," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(7), pages 1719-1728, July.
    16. Jürgen Bierbaumer-Polly & Werner Hölzl, 2016. "Business Cycle Dynamics and Firm Heterogeneity. Evidence for Austria Using Survey Data," WIFO Working Papers 504, WIFO.
    17. Filippo Altissimo & Michael Ehrmann & Frank Smets, 2006. "Inflation persistence and price-setting behaviour in the euro area – a summary of the IPN evidence," Occasional Paper Series 46, European Central Bank.
    18. Adams, Zeno & Füss, Roland, 2010. "Macroeconomic determinants of international housing markets," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 38-50, March.
    19. Christian Calmès & Raymond Théoret, 2008. "Banking Deregulation and Financial Stability : is it Time to re-regulate in Canada ?," RePAd Working Paper Series UQO-DSA-wp042008, Département des sciences administratives, UQO.

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    JEL classification:

    • C22 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes
    • C43 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Index Numbers and Aggregation

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