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Aggregate Shocks or Aggregate Information? Costly Information and Business Cycle Comovement

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  • Laura Veldkamp
  • Justin Wolfers

Abstract

When similar patterns of expansion and contraction are observed across sectors, we call this a business cycle. Yet explaining the similarity and synchronization of these cycles across industries remains a puzzle. Whereas output growth across industries is highly correlated, identifiable shocks, like shocks to productivity, are far less correlated. While previous work has examined complementarities in production, we propose that sectors make similar input decisions because of complementarities in information acquisition. Because information about driving forces has a high fixed cost of production and a low marginal cost of replication, it can be more efficient for firms to share the cost of discovering common shocks than to invest in uncovering detailed sectoral information. Firms basing their decisions on this common information make highly correlated production choices. This mechanism amplifies the effects of common shocks, relative to sectoral shocks.
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  • Laura Veldkamp & Justin Wolfers, 2006. "Aggregate Shocks or Aggregate Information? Costly Information and Business Cycle Comovement," Working Papers 06-12, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ste:nystbu:06-12
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    File URL: http://pages.stern.nyu.edu/~lveldkam/pdfs/BCcomove.pdf
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    Cited by:

    1. Saldías, Martín, 2013. "A market-based approach to sector risk determinants and transmission in the euro area," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(11), pages 4534-4555.
    2. Venky Venkateswaran & Laura Veldkamp & Julian Kozlowski, 2015. "The Tail that Wags the Economy: Belief-Driven Business Cycles and Persistent Stagnation," 2015 Meeting Papers 800, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    3. Julian Kozlowski & Laura Veldkamp & Venky Venkateswaran, 2015. "The Tail that Wags the Economy: Beliefs and Persistent Stagnation," NBER Working Papers 21719, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Brockman, Paul & Liebenberg, Ivonne & Schutte, Maria, 2010. "Comovement, information production, and the business cycle," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(1), pages 107-129, July.
    5. Mohammad Davoodalhosseini, 2018. "Adverse Selection with Heterogeneously Informed Agents," Staff Working Papers 18-7, Bank of Canada.
    6. Meller, Barbara & Metiu, Norbert, 2015. "The synchronization of European credit cycles," Discussion Papers 20/2015, Deutsche Bundesbank.
    7. Yongsung Chang & Sunoong Hwang, 2011. "Asymmetric Phase Shifts in the U.S. Industrial Production Cycles," RCER Working Papers 564, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
    8. Drago Bergholt & Tommy Sveen, 2014. "Sectoral Interdependence and Business Cycle Synchronization in Small Open Economies," Working Papers No 2/2014, Centre for Applied Macro- and Petroleum economics (CAMP), BI Norwegian Business School.
    9. Liyan Yang & Itay Goldstein, 2014. "Good Disclosure, Bad Disclosure," 2014 Meeting Papers 42, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    10. Cathy Q. Ning & Loran Chollete, 2009. "The Dependence Structure of Macroeconomic Variables in the US," Working Papers 005, Ryerson University, Department of Economics.
    11. Chollete, Loran & Jaffee, Dwight, 2009. "Economic Implications of Extreme and Rare Events," UiS Working Papers in Economics and Finance 2009/32, University of Stavanger.
    12. Julian Kozlowski & Laura Veldkamp & Venky Venkateswaran, 2018. "The Tail that Keeps the Riskless Rate Low," NBER Working Papers 24362, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Chun, Hyunbae & Kim, Jung-Wook & Morck, Randall & Yeung, Bernard, 2008. "Creative destruction and firm-specific performance heterogeneity," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(1), pages 109-135, July.
    14. Yongsung Chang & Sunoong Hwang, 2015. "Asymmetric Phase Shifts in U.S. Industrial Production Cycles," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 97(1), pages 116-133, March.
    15. Fidrmuc, Jarko & Scharler, Johann, 2014. "What Determines Borrowing Costs at the Firm-Level: Firm-Specific and Aggregate Information," Annual Conference 2014 (Hamburg): Evidence-based Economic Policy 100322, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    16. Williams, Andrew, 2015. "A global index of information transparency and accountability," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 804-824.
    17. Sushant Acharya, 2017. "Costly Information, Planning Complementarities, and the Phillips Curve," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 49(4), pages 823-850, June.
    18. Michael J. Lamla & Sarah M. Lein & Jan-Egbert Sturm, 2007. "News and Sectoral Comovement," KOF Working papers 07-183, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
    19. Andrew Williams, 2014. "The effect of transparency on output volatility," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 15(2), pages 101-129, May.
    20. Lynch, Andrew & Nikolic, Biljana & Yan, Xuemin (Sterling) & Yu, Han, 2014. "Aggregate short selling, commonality, and stock market returns," Journal of Financial Markets, Elsevier, vol. 17(C), pages 199-229.
    21. Chollete, Loran & Ning, Cathy, 2012. "Asymmetric Dependence in the US Economy: Application to Money and the Phillips Curve," UiS Working Papers in Economics and Finance 2012/1, University of Stavanger.
    22. Buchen, Teresa, 2014. "News Media, Common Information, and Sectoral Comovement," Annual Conference 2014 (Hamburg): Evidence-based Economic Policy 100391, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    23. Avdiu, Besart & Gruhle, Tobias, 2018. "Contagion and information frictions in emerging markets: the role of joint signals," MPRA Paper 84872, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles

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