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The Decline in Australian Output Volatility

  • John Simon

    (Reserve Bank of Australia)

There has been a large decline in the volatility of Australian output over the past 40 years. This paper looks at the causes of this decline. Accounting for part of the change have been substantial changes in the inventories cycle. Abstracting from changes in the inventories cycle there have also been significant declines in underlying output volatility. This paper focuses on the underlying structural factors for the reduction in volatility. It finds that the principal cause of the decline has been a decline in the shocks hitting the economy rather than an increase in structural stability. Furthermore, the primary explanation seems to lie in a reduction in the volatility of supply or ‘productivity’ shocks. The ultimate source of these productivity shocks is left as an open question.

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File URL: http://www.rba.gov.au/publications/rdp/2001/pdf/rdp2001-01.pdf
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Paper provided by Reserve Bank of Australia in its series RBA Research Discussion Papers with number rdp2001-01.

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Date of creation: Mar 2001
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Handle: RePEc:rba:rbardp:rdp2001-01
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  1. Kormendi, Roger C. & Meguire, Philip G., 1985. "Macroeconomic determinants of growth: Cross-country evidence," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 141-163, September.
  2. Romer, Christina D, 1986. "Is the Stabilization of the Postwar Economy a Figment of the Data?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 314-34, June.
  3. Olivier J. Blanchard & Mark W. Watson, 1986. "Are Business Cycles All Alike?," NBER Chapters, in: The American Business Cycle: Continuity and Change, pages 123-180 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Martin, Philippe & Ann Rogers, Carol, 2000. "Long-term growth and short-term economic instability," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 359-381, February.
  5. Olivier Jean Blanchard & Danny Quah, 1988. "The Dynamic Effects of Aggregate Demand and Supply Disturbance," Working papers 497, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  6. Otto, Glenn, 1999. "The Solow Residual for Australia: Technology Shocks or Factor Utilization?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 37(1), pages 136-53, January.
  7. Ramey, Garey & Ramey, Valerie A, 1995. "Cross-Country Evidence on the Link between Volatility and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1138-51, December.
  8. J. Bradford DeLong & Lawrence H. Summers, 1986. "The Changing Cyclical Variability of Economic Activity in the United States," NBER Chapters, in: The American Business Cycle: Continuity and Change, pages 679-734 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Olivier Blanchard & John Simon, 2001. "The Long and Large Decline in U.S. Output Volatility," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 32(1), pages 135-174.
  10. Margaret M. McConnell & Gabriel Perez Quiros, 1997. "Output fluctuations in the United States: what has changed since the early 1980s?," Research Paper 9735, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  11. Weir, David R., 1986. "The Reliability of Historical Macroeconomic Data for Comparing Cyclical Stability," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 46(02), pages 353-365, June.
  12. Balke, Nathan S & Gordon, Robert J, 1989. "The Estimation of Prewar Gross National Product: Methodology and New Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(1), pages 38-92, February.
  13. James, John A, 1993. "Changes in Economic Instability in 19th-Century America," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(4), pages 710-31, September.
  14. Gali, Jordi, 1992. "How Well Does the IS-LM Model Fit Postwar U.S. Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(2), pages 709-38, May.
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