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Trend Breaks, Long Run Restrictions, and the Contractionary Effects of Technology Shocks

Author

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  • John Fernald

Abstract

Recent empirical work using structural VARs with long-run restrictions assesses whether hours worked per capita rises or falls following a technology improvement. This literature reaches divergent conclusions on the sign of this effect, depending on whether hours worked enters the VAR in log-levels or growth rates. In contrast, I find that once one allows for (statistically and economically plausible) trend breaks in labor productivity, it is unimportant whether hours enters the VAR in levels or growth rates: Hours worked falls by a statistically significant amount on impact following a technology improvement. These findings apply in both bivariate and larger VAR systems. Results are also robust to reasonable variation in dating the trend breaks. In the full sample, however, one must take out two breaks to get the contractionary effects of technology improvements, at least if hours enters in levels. Finally, but importantly, I discuss conjectures on what, statistically and economically, drives the sensitivity to trend breaks. I argue that the sensitivity is economically interesting and informative

Suggested Citation

  • John Fernald, 2004. "Trend Breaks, Long Run Restrictions, and the Contractionary Effects of Technology Shocks," 2004 Meeting Papers 477, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed004:477
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Gil-Alana, Luis Alberiko & Moreno, Antonio, 2009. "Technology Shocks And Hours Worked: A Fractional Integration Perspective," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(05), pages 580-604, November.
    2. Canova, Fabio & Lopez-Salido, Jose David & Michelacci, Claudio, 2007. "The Labour Market Effects of Technology Shocks," CEPR Discussion Papers 6365, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Jordi Gali Garreta & Pau Rabanal, 2004. "Technology Shocks and Aggregate Fluctuations; How Well Does the RBC Model Fit Postwar U.S. Data?," IMF Working Papers 04/234, International Monetary Fund.
    4. Miles S. Kimball & John G. Fernald & Susanto Basu, 2006. "Are Technology Improvements Contractionary?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1418-1448, December.
    5. Zheng Liu & Louis Phaneuf, 2008. "Do Nominal Rigidities Matter for the Transmission of Technology Shocks?," Cahiers de recherche 0837, CIRPEE.
    6. Neville Francis & Michael T. Owyang & Jennifer E. Roush & Riccardo DiCecio, 2014. "A Flexible Finite-Horizon Alternative to Long-Run Restrictions with an Application to Technology Shocks," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 96(4), pages 638-647, October.
    7. Jordi Galí, 2005. "Trends in hours, balanced growth, and the role of technology in the business cycle," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jul, pages 459-486.
    8. Régis Barnichon, 2007. "Productivity, Aggregate Demand and Unemployment Fluctuations," CEP Discussion Papers dp0819, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    9. Jordi Galí & Pau Rabanal, 2005. "Technology Shocks and Aggregate Fluctuations: How Well Does the Real Business Cycle Model Fit Postwar U.S. Data?," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2004, Volume 19, pages 225-318 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Neville Francis & Valerie A. Ramey, 2006. "The Source of Historical Economic Fluctuations: An Analysis Using Long-Run Restrictions," NBER Chapters,in: NBER International Seminar on Macroeconomics 2004, pages 17-73 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Neville Francis & Valerie A. Ramey, 2009. "Measures of per Capita Hours and Their Implications for the Technology-Hours Debate," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 41(6), pages 1071-1097, September.
    12. repec:wfo:wstudy:42956 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Emilio Fernandez-Corugedo, 2007. "Employment, Hours per Worker and the Business Cycle," Working Papers 2007-02, Banco de México.
    14. Domenico J. Marchetti & Francesco Nucci, 2007. "Pricing Behavior and the Response of Hours to Productivity Shocks," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 39(7), pages 1587-1611, October.
    15. Sean Holly & Ivan Petrella, 2008. " Factor demand linkages and the business cycle: interpreting aggregate fluctuations as sectoral fluctuations," CDMA Conference Paper Series 0809, Centre for Dynamic Macroeconomic Analysis.
    16. Ghent, Andra, 2006. "Comparing Models of Macroeconomic Fluctuations: How Big Are the Differences?," MPRA Paper 180, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    17. Arabinda Basistha, 2009. "Hours per capita and productivity: evidence from correlated unobserved components models," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(1), pages 187-206.
    18. Silvia Sgherri, 2005. "Long-Run Productivity Shifts and Cyclical Fluctuations; Evidence for Italy," IMF Working Papers 05/228, International Monetary Fund.
    19. Fabio Canova & David Lopez-Salido & Claudio Michelacci, 2010. "The effects of technology shocks on hours and output: a robustness analysis," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(5), pages 755-773.
    20. Fabio Canova & David Lopez-Salido & Claudio Michelacci, 2006. "Schumpeterian technology shocks," Economics Working Papers 1012, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Nov 2007.
    21. Rodolfo Mendez-Marcano, 2014. "Technology, Employment, and the Oil-Countries Business Cycle," Working Papers 1405, BBVA Bank, Economic Research Department.
    22. Regis Barnichon, 2009. "Demand-driven job separation: reconciling search models with the ins and outs of unemployment," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2009-24, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Technology shocks; business cycles; structural change;

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence

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