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The Role of Agriculture in Aggregate Business Cycle Fluctuations

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Listed:
  • Jose Maria Da Rocha
  • Diego Restuccia

Abstract

The agricultural sector has certain distinctive features over the business cycle: it is more volatile than and not positively correlated with the rest of the economy and its employment is counter-cyclical. Because of these features and even though the agricultural sector represents less than 2% of the U.S. economy, we show that agriculture plays an essential role in understanding aggregate business cycles. The inclusion of agriculture into standard business cycle analysis resolves the longstanding problems of the standard theory in matching the observed volatility of aggregate labor and the correlation of aggregate labor and productivity (the so called Dunlop-Tharshis observation). In addition, the role of agriculture in the economy can account for the substantial differences observed in business cycle patterns across countries. This novel implication of the model is consistent with the systematic relationship observed between business cycle patterns and the share of agriculture across countries. Our theory has two important implications. First, the model implies that as the size of the agricultural sector falls, business cycle properties across countries should converge. Second, the role of agriculture provides a simple, measurable, and contrastable explanation for the historical properties of aggregate business cycles documented by Backus and Kehoe (1992).

Suggested Citation

  • Jose Maria Da Rocha & Diego Restuccia, 2002. "The Role of Agriculture in Aggregate Business Cycle Fluctuations," Working Papers diegor-02-04, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:tor:tecipa:diegor-02-04
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    File URL: https://www.economics.utoronto.ca/public/workingPapers/UT-ECIPA-DIEGOR-02-04.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Jose Maria Da Rocha & Diego Restuccia, 2002. "Aggregate Employment Fluctuations and Agricultural Share," Working Papers diegor-02-02, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
    2. Kufel-Gajda, Justyna, 2016. "Changes in the exerted market power in the farming sector and the food industry in Poland, and the business cycle," 149th Seminar, October 27-28, 2016, Rennes, France 245703, European Association of Agricultural Economists.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Business Cycles; Agriculture; Two-sector Model.;

    JEL classification:

    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles

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