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Skewed Business Cycles

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  • Sergio Salgado

    (University of Minnesota)

  • Fatih Guvenen

    (University of Minnesota)

  • Nicholas Bloom

    (Stanford University)

Abstract

We show in panels of US Census and international firm data that the cross-sectional skewness of employment and sales growth distributions are procyclical. In particular, during recessions they display a large left-tail of negative growth rates (and during booms a large right tail of positive growth rates). These results are extremely robust to different selection criteria, across countries, industries, and measures. We build a heterogeneous-agents model in which entrepreneurs face shocks with time varying skewness risk that matches the firm-level distributions we document for the US. This model shows that a negative shock to skewness (that keeps the mean and variance constant) to firms’ productivity growth generates significant and persistent decreases in investment, hiring, growth and consumption. Hence, we argue that periods of heightened left-tail risk help to drive business cycle fluctuations.

Suggested Citation

  • Sergio Salgado & Fatih Guvenen & Nicholas Bloom, 2019. "Skewed Business Cycles," 2019 Meeting Papers 1189, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed019:1189
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    3. Christopher Busch & David Domeij & Fatih Guvenen & Rocio Madera, 2022. "Skewed Idiosyncratic Income Risk over the Business Cycle: Sources and Insurance," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 14(2), pages 207-242, April.
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    9. Jesus Fernandez-Villaverde & Pablo Guerron-Quintana, 2020. "Uncertainty Shocks and Business Cycle Research," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 37, pages 118-166, August.
    10. Isaac Baley & Andrés Blanco, 2021. "Aggregate Dynamics in Lumpy Economies," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 89(3), pages 1235-1264, May.
    11. Burgess, Matthew G. & Langendorf, Ryan E. & Ippolito, Tara & Pielke, Roger Jr, 2020. "Optimistically biased economic growth forecasts and negatively skewed annual variation," SocArXiv vndqr, Center for Open Science.
    12. Nam Gang Lee, 2020. "Vulnerable Growth: A Revisit," Working Papers 2020-22, Economic Research Institute, Bank of Korea.
    13. Eric Anderson & Sergio Rebelo & Arlene Wong, 2020. "Markups Across Space and Time," Working Papers 2020-6, Princeton University. Economics Department..
    14. Iseringhausen, Martin & Petrella, Ivan & Theodoridis, Konstantinos, 2021. "Aggregate Skewness and the Business Cycle," Cardiff Economics Working Papers E2021/30, Cardiff University, Cardiff Business School, Economics Section.
    15. Benigno, Pierpaolo & Rossi, Lorenza, 2021. "Asymmetries in monetary policy," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 140(C).
    16. De Santis, Roberto A. & Van der Veken, Wouter, 2020. "Forecasting macroeconomic risk in real time: Great and Covid-19 Recessions," Working Paper Series 2436, European Central Bank.
    17. Fève, Patrick & Sanchez, Pablo Garcia & Moura, Alban & Pierrard, Olivier, 2021. "Costly default and skewed business cycles," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 132(C).
    18. Martin Ravallion, 2022. "Macroeconomic Covariates of Real Household Incomes in America," Working Papers gueconwpa~22-22-04, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
    19. Bachmann, Rüdiger & Elstner, Steffen & Hristov, Atanas, 2017. "Surprise, surprise – Measuring firm-level investment innovations," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 83(C), pages 107-148.
    20. Danilo Cascaldi-Garcia & Deepa Dhume Datta & Thiago Revil T. Ferreira & Olesya V. Grishchenko & Mohammad R. Jahan-Parvar & Juan M. Londono & Francesca Loria & Sai Ma & Marius del Giudice Rodriguez & J, 2020. "What is Certain about Uncertainty?," International Finance Discussion Papers 1294, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    21. Òscar Jordà & Moritz Schularick & Alan M. Taylor, 2020. "Disasters Everywhere: The Costs of Business Cycles Reconsidered," Staff Reports 925, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    22. Haykaz Igityan, 2019. "Asymmetric Effects of Monetary Policy in Different Phases of Armenia's Business Cycle," Working Papers 11, Central Bank of the Republic of Armenia.
    23. Gigout, Timothee, 2019. "Firm dynamics in an global and uncertain economy," MPRA Paper 96569, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 16 Oct 2019.
    24. Thiago Revil T. Ferreira, 2022. "Cross-Sectional Financial Conditions, Business Cycles and The Lending Channel," International Finance Discussion Papers 1335, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    25. Dario Caldara & Chiara Scotti & Molin Zhong, 2021. "Macroeconomic and Financial Risks: A Tale of Mean and Volatility," International Finance Discussion Papers 1326, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).

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