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Uncertainty Shocks Are Aggregate Demand Shocks

  • Zheng Liu

    (Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco)

  • Sylvain Leduc

    (Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco)

We present empirical evidence and a theoretical argument that uncertainty shocks act like a negative aggregate demand shock, which raises unemployment and lowers inflation. We measure uncertainty using survey data from the United States and the United Kingdom. We estimate the macroeconomic effects of uncertainty shocks in a vector autoregression (VAR) model, exploiting the relative timing of the surveys and macroeconomic data releases for identification. Our estimation reveals that uncertainty shocks accounted for at least one percentage point increases in unemployment in the Great Recession and recovery, but did not contribute much to the 1981-82 recession. We present a DSGE model to show that, to understand the observed macroeconomic effects of uncertainty shocks, it is essential to have both labor search frictions and nominal rigidities.

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File URL: https://economicdynamics.org/meetpapers/2013/paper_270.pdf
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Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2013 Meeting Papers with number 270.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:red:sed013:270
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Society for Economic Dynamics Marina Azzimonti Department of Economics Stonybrook University 10 Nicolls Road Stonybrook NY 11790 USA

Web page: http://www.EconomicDynamics.org/
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  1. Scott R. Baker & Nicholas Bloom & Steven J. Davis, 2015. "Measuring economic policy uncertainty," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 64986, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  2. Sylvain Leduc & Keith Sill, 2013. "Expectations and Economic Fluctuations: An Analysis Using Survey Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(4), pages 1352-1367, October.
  3. Nicholas Bloom & Max Floetotto & Nir Jaimovich & Itay Saporta-Eksten & Stephen J. Terry, 2012. "Really Uncertain Business Cycles," NBER Working Papers 18245, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. R?diger Bachmann & Steffen Elstner & Eric R. Sims, 2013. "Uncertainty and Economic Activity: Evidence from Business Survey Data," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 217-49, April.
  5. Jesus Fernandez-Villaverde & Pablo Guerron-Quintana & Keith Kuester & Juan F. Rubio-Ramirez, 2011. "Fiscal volatility shocks and economic activity," Working Papers 11-32, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, revised 05 Jan 2012.
  6. Bundick, Brent & Basu, Susanto, 2014. "Uncertainty shocks in a model of effective demand," Research Working Paper RWP 14-15, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, revised 01 Nov 2015.
  7. Alan J. Auerbach & Yuriy Gorodnichenko, 2012. "Measuring the Output Responses to Fiscal Policy," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 1-27, May.
  8. John V. Leahy & Toni M. Whited, 1995. "The Effect of Uncertainty on Investment: Some Stylized Facts," NBER Working Papers 4986, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Leduc, Sylvain & Sill, Keith & Stark, Tom, 2007. "Self-fulfilling expectations and the inflation of the 1970s: Evidence from the Livingston Survey," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 433-459, March.
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