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Microeconomic Origins of Macroeconomic Tail Risks

Author

Listed:
  • Asu Ozdaglar

    (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

  • Alireza Tahbaz-Salehi

    (Columbia Business School)

  • Daron Acemoglu

    (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

Abstract

We document that even though the normal distribution is a good approximation to the nature of aggregate fluctuations, it severely underpredicts the frequency of large economic downturns. We then provide a model that can explain these facts simultaneously. Our model shows that the propagation of microeconomic shocks through input-output linkages can fundamentally reshape the distribution of aggregate output, increasing the likelihood of large downturns (macroeconomic tail risks) from infinitesimal to substantial. For example, an economy subject to thin-tailed micro shocks but with "unbalanced" input-output linkages (where some sectors or firms play a much more important role than others as inputs suppliers to the rest of the economy) may exhibit deep recessions as frequently as economies that are subject to heavy-tailed shocks. This is despite the fact that a central limit theorem-type result would imply that aggregate output is normally distributed. We characterize what types of input-output linkages and distributions of microeconomic shocks lead to sizable macroeconomic tail risks, and also show how the same economic forces cause the output of many sectors to simultaneously fall by large amounts.

Suggested Citation

  • Asu Ozdaglar & Alireza Tahbaz-Salehi & Daron Acemoglu, 2015. "Microeconomic Origins of Macroeconomic Tail Risks," 2015 Meeting Papers 314, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed015:314
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Michael Weber & Ali Ozdagli, 2016. "Monetary Policy Through Production Networks: Evidence from the Stock Market," 2016 Meeting Papers 148, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    2. David Baqaee & Emmanuel Farhi, 2017. "The Macroeconomic Impact of Microeconomic Shocks: Beyond Hulten's Theorem," Working Paper 482151, Harvard University OpenScholar.
    3. Ernesto Pasten & Raphael Schoenle & Michael Weber, 2017. "Price Rigidities and the Granular Origins of Aggregate Fluctuations," NBER Working Papers 23750, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Bee, Marco & Riccaboni, Massimo & Trapin, Luca, 2017. "An extreme value analysis of the last century crises across industries in the U.S. economy," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 65-78.
    5. Pasten, Ernosto & Schoenle, Raphael & Weber, Michael, 2018. "Price rigidities and the granular origins of aggregate fluctuations," Research Discussion Papers 3/2018, Bank of Finland.
    6. Fischer, Jack R. & McPhail, Joseph E. & Rodrigues, Nathan & Orazem, Peter, 2017. "The Relative Importance of Macroeconomic Shocks, Regional Shocks and Idiosyncratic Risk on Large and Small Banks," ISU General Staff Papers 201707130700001027, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    7. Wood, Aaron D., 2017. "A model to teach non-rival and excludable goods in undergraduate microeconomics," International Review of Economics Education, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 28-35.
    8. Daron Acemoglu & Pablo D. Azar, 2017. "Endogenous Production Networks," NBER Working Papers 24116, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. repec:mnb:finrev:v:16:y:2017:i:2:p:40-63 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Aida Caldera Sánchez & Oliver Röhn, 2016. "How do policies influence GDP tail risks?," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1339, OECD Publishing.
    11. Leal-Ordoñez Julio C., 2015. "Key sectors in economic development: a perspective from input-output linkages and cross-sector misallocation," Working Papers 2015-23, Banco de México.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D57 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - Input-Output Tables and Analysis
    • E16 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Social Accounting Matrix
    • E23 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Production
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles

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