Technology shocks and the business cycle
The permanent income hypothesis revisited
Measured aggregate U.S. consumption does not behave like a martingale. This paper develops and tests two variants of the permanent income model that are consistent with this fact. In both variants, we assume agents make decisions on a continuous time basis. According to the first variant, the martingale hypothesis holds in continuous time and serial persistence in measured consumption reflects only the effects of time aggregation. We investigate this variant using both structural and atheoretical econometric models. The evidence against these models is far from overwhelming. This suggests ...
Unit roots in real GNP: do we know, and do we care?
Current real business cycle theories and aggregate labor market fluctuations
In the 1930s, Dunlop and Tarshis observed that the correlation between hours worked and the return to working is close to zero. This observation has become a litmus test by which macroeconomic models are judged. Existing real business cycle models fail this test dramatically. Based on this result, we argue that technology shocks cannot be the sole impulse driving post-war U.S. business cycles. We modify prototypical real business cycle models by allowing government consumption shocks to influence labor market dynamics in a way suggested by Aschauer (1985), Baro (1981, 1987), and Kormendi ...
The output, employment, and interest rate effects of government consumption
This paper investigates the impact of aggregate variables of changes in government consumption in the context of a stochastic, neoclassical growth model. We show, theoretically, that the impact on output and employment of a persistent change in government consumption exceeds that of a temporary change. We also show that, in principle, there can be an analog to the Keynesian multiplier in the neoclassical growth model. Finally, in an empirically plausible version of the model, we show that the interest rate impact of a persistent government consumption shock exceeds that of a temporary one. ...
Liquidity effects, monetary policy, and the business cycle
This paper presents new empirical evidence to support the hypothesis that positive money supply shocks drive short-term interest rates down. We then present a quantitative, general equilibrium model which is consistent with this hypothesis. The two key features of our model are that (i) money shocks have a heterogeneous impact on agents and (ii) ex post inflexibilities in production give rise to a very low short-run interest elasticity of money demand. Together, these imply that, in our model, a positive money supply shock generates a large drop in the interest rate comparable in magnitude to ...
Hedging and financial fragility in fixed exchange rate regimes
Currency crises that coincide with banking crises tend to share four elements. First, governments provide guarantees to domestic and foreign bank creditors. Second, banks do not hedge their exchange rate risk. Third, there is a lending boom before the crises. Finally, when the currency/banking collapse occurs interest rates rise and there is a persistent decline in output. This paper proposes an explanation for these regularities. We show that government guarantees lower interest rates, and generate an economic boom. But they also lead to a more fragile banking system: banks choose not to ...
Firm-specific capital, nominal rigidities and the business cycle
Macroeconomic and microeconomic data paint conflicting pictures of price behavior. Macroeconomic data suggest that inflation is inertial. Microeconomic data indicate that firms change prices frequently. We formulate and estimate a model which resolves this apparent micro - macro conflict. Our model is consistent with post-war U.S. evidence on inflation inertia even though firms re-optimize prices on average once every 1.5 quarters. The key feature of our model is that capital is firm-specific and predetermined within a period.
On the fiscal implications of twin crises
This paper explores the implications of different strategies for financing the fiscal cost of twin crises for inflation and depreciation rates. We use a first-generation type model of speculative attacks which has four key features: (i) the crisis is triggered by prospective deficits, (ii) there exists outstanding non-indexed government debt issued prior to the crises; (iii) a portion of the government's liabilities are not indexed to inflation; and (iv) there are nontradable goods and costs of distributing tradable goods, so that purchasing power parity does not hold. We show that the model ...