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Lower-Frequency Macroeconomic Fluctuations: Living Standards and Leisure

  • Ben Malin


    (Economics Stanford University)

Although it is well known that aggregate variables have slow-moving stochastic components, research on macroeconomic fluctuations has focused primarily on high-frequency movements of the data. I document some interesting lower-frequency facts in U.S. postwar data and investigate whether dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) models can explain these facts. One fact of particular interest is that hours worked per capita is negatively correlated with both output per capita and total factor productivity at lower frequencies, in stark contrast to the positive comovement of these three variables at high frequencies. I show that this lower-frequency fact is puzzling for many DSGE models and explore a variety of candidate solutions to the puzzle. I demonstrate that preferences which depend on a time-varying reference level of consumption ("living standards") can rationalize the observed patterns. Finally, I discuss the relative merits of the "living standards" interpretation of the model to other alternatives

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Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2006 Meeting Papers with number 752.

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Date of creation: 03 Dec 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:red:sed006:752
Contact details of provider: Postal: Society for Economic Dynamics Marina Azzimonti Department of Economics Stonybrook University 10 Nicolls Road Stonybrook NY 11790 USA
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  1. Chang-Jin Kim & Charles R. Nelson, 1999. "State-Space Models with Regime Switching: Classical and Gibbs-Sampling Approaches with Applications," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262112388, June.
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  3. Jeremy Greenwood & Guillaume Vandenbroucke, 2005. "Hours Worked: Long-Run Trends," NBER Working Papers 11629, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Karen Kopecky, 2005. "The Trend in Retirement," Economie d'Avant Garde Research Reports 12, Economie d'Avant Garde.
  5. Campbell, John, 1994. "Inspecting the Mechanism: An Analytical Approach to the Stochastic Growth Model," Scholarly Articles 3196342, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  6. Kim, C-J., 1991. "Dynamic Linear Models with Markov-Switching," Papers 91-8, York (Canada) - Department of Economics.
  7. Andrew B. Abel, . "Asset Prices Under Habit Formation and Catching Up With the Jones," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 1-90, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
  8. Judd, Kenneth L., 1992. "Projection methods for solving aggregate growth models," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 410-452, December.
  9. Richard Rogerson, 2010. "Indivisible Labor, Lotteries and Equilibrium," Levine's Working Paper Archive 250, David K. Levine.
  10. Robert J. Barro & Chaipat Sahasakul, 1983. "Measuring the Average Marginal Tax Rates from Social Security and the Individual Income Tax," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 29, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
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