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The role of oil price shocks in causing U.S. recessions

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  • Kilian, Lutz
  • Vigfusson, Robert J.

Abstract

Although oil price shocks have long been viewed as one of the leading candidates for explaining U.S. recessions, surprisingly little is known about the extent to which oil price shocks explain recessions. We provide the first formal analysis of this question with special attention to the possible role of net oil price increases in amplifying the transmission of oil price shocks. We quantify the conditional recessionary effect of oil price shocks in the net oil price increase model for all episodes of net oil price increases since the mid-1970s. Compared to the linear model, the cumulative effect of oil price shocks over course of the next two years is much larger in the net oil price increase model. For example, oil price shocks explain a 3% cumulative reduction in U.S. real GDP in the late 1970s and early 1980s and a 5% cumulative reduction during the financial crisis. An obvious concern is that some of these estimates are an artifact of net oil price increases being correlated with other variables that explain recessions. We show that the explanatory power of oil price shocks largely persists even after augmenting the nonlinear model with a measure of credit supply conditions, of the monetary policy stance and of consumer confidence. There is evidence, however, that the conditional fit of the net oil price increase model is worse on average than the fit of the corresponding linear model, suggesting much smaller cumulative effects of oil price shocks for these episodes of at most 1%.

Suggested Citation

  • Kilian, Lutz & Vigfusson, Robert J., 2014. "The role of oil price shocks in causing U.S. recessions," CFS Working Paper Series 460, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:cfswop:460
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    Cited by:

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    2. Apostolos Serletis & Libo Xu, "undated". "Markov Switching Oil Price Uncertainty," Working Papers 2019-02, Department of Economics, University of Calgary, revised 02 Jan 2019.
    3. repec:ces:ifobei:77 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Nijat Guliyev, 2018. "The effects of external shocks on Azerbaijan economy," Working Papers 1802, Central Bank of Azerbaijan Republic.
    5. Athanasios Triantafyllou & Dimitrios Bakas & Marilou Ioakimidis, 2019. "Commodity Price Uncertainty as a Leading Indicator of Economic Activity," Working Paper series 19-03, Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis.
    6. Naser, Hanan, 2015. "Analysing the long-run relationship among oil market, nuclear energy consumption, and economic growth: An evidence from emerging economies," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 421-434.
    7. Conny Olovsson, 2019. "Oil prices in a general equilibrium model with precautionary demand for oil," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 32, pages 1-17, April.
    8. Christiane Baumeister & Lutz Kilian & Xiaoqing Zhou, 2017. "Is the Discretionary Income Effect of Oil Price Shocks a Hoax?," Staff Working Papers 17-50, Bank of Canada.
    9. repec:eee:eneeco:v:70:y:2018:i:c:p:472-483 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Christiane Baumeister & Lutz Killian, 2016. "Lower Oil Prices and the U.S. Economy: Is This Time Different?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 47(2 (Fall)), pages 287-357.
    11. Irina Kozlovtceva & Alexey Ponomarenko & Andrey Sinyakov & Stas Tatarintsev, 2019. "Financial Stability Implications of Policy Mix in a Small Open Commodity-Exporting Economy," Bank of Russia Working Paper Series wps42, Bank of Russia.
    12. repec:eee:enepol:v:129:y:2019:i:c:p:89-99 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Sharma, Shahil & Escobari, Diego, 2018. "Identifying price bubble periods in the energy sector," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 418-429.
    14. Benkraiem, Ramzi & Lahiani, Amine & Miloudi, Anthony & Shahbaz, Muhammad, 2018. "New insights into the US stock market reactions to energy price shocks," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 169-187.
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    18. Olovsson, Conny, 2016. "Oil prices in a real-businesscycle model with precautionary demand for oil," Working Paper Series 332, Sveriges Riksbank (Central Bank of Sweden).
    19. repec:bla:obuest:v:81:y:2019:i:5:p:1045-1064 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. Aminu, Nasir & Meenagh, David & Minford, Patrick, 2018. "The role of energy prices in the Great Recession — A two-sector model with unfiltered data," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 14-34.
    21. Mohamad B. Karaki, 2018. "Asymmetries In The Responses Of Regional Job Flows To Oil Price Shocks," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 56(3), pages 1827-1845, July.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    real GDP; nonlinearity; asymmetry; time variation; conditional response; prediction;

    JEL classification:

    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E37 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications
    • E51 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Money Supply; Credit; Money Multipliers
    • Q43 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Energy and the Macroeconomy

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