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Why Did U.S. Market Hours Boom in the 1990s?


  • Ellen R. McGrattan
  • Eduard C. Prescott

    () (Federal Reserve Bank of MInneapolis)


During the 1990s, market hours in the United States rose dramatically. The rise in hours occurred as gross domestic product (GDP) per hour was declining relative to its historical trend, an occurrence that makes this boom unique, at least for the postwar U.S. economy. We find that expensed plus sweat investment was large during this period and critical for understanding the movements in hours and productivity. Expensed investments are expenditures that increase future profits but, by national accounting rules, are treated as operating expenses rather than capital expenditures. Sweat investments are uncompensated hours in a business made with the expectation of realizing capital gains when the business goes public or is sold. Incorporating expensed and sweat equity into an otherwise standard business cycle model, we find that there was rapid technological progress during the 1990s, causing a boom in market hours and actual productivity.H

Suggested Citation

  • Ellen R. McGrattan & Eduard C. Prescott, 2006. "Why Did U.S. Market Hours Boom in the 1990s?," 2006 Meeting Papers 192, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed006:192

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Edward C. Prescott, 2004. "Why do Americans work so much more than Europeans?," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Jul, pages 2-13.
    2. Kahn, James A. & Rich, Robert W., 2007. "Tracking the new economy: Using growth theory to detect changes in trend productivity," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(6), pages 1670-1701, September.
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    1990 U.S. Hours Boom; Productivity;

    JEL classification:

    • E01 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General - - - Measurement and Data on National Income and Product Accounts and Wealth; Environmental Accounts
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles

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