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Business cycle fluctuations and the distribution of consumption
This paper sheds new light on the interactions between business cycles and the consumption distribution. We use Consumer Expenditure Survey data and a factor model to characterize the cyclical dynamics of the consumption distribution. We first establish that our approach is able to closely match business cycle fluctuations of consumption from the National Account. We then study the responses of the consumption distribution to total factor productivity shocks and economic policy uncertainty shocks. Importantly, we find that the responses of the right tail of the consumption distribution, ...
What Do Sectoral Dynamics Tell Us About the Origins of Business Cycles?
We use economic theory to rank the impact of structural shocks across sectors. This ranking helps us to identify the origins of U.S. business cycles. To do this, we introduce a Hierarchical Vector Auto-Regressive model, encompassing aggregate and sectoral variables. We find that shocks whose impact originate in the "demand" side (monetary, household, and government consumption) account for 43 percent more of the variance of U.S. GDP growth at business cycle frequencies than identified shocks originating in the "supply" side (technology and energy). Furthermore, corporate financial ...
Leverage over the Firm Life Cycle, Firm Growth, and Aggregate Fluctuations
We study the leverage of U.S. firms over their life cycles and the connection between firm leverage, firm growth, and aggregate shocks. We construct a new dataset that combines private and public firms' balance sheets with firm-level data from U.S. Census Bureau's Longitudinal Business Database for the period 2005-12. Public and private firms exhibit different leverage dynamics over their life cycles. Firm age and size are systematically related to leverage for private firms but not for public firms. We show that private firms, but not public ones, deleveraged during the Great Recession and ...
Upstream, Downstream & Common Firm Shocks
We develop a multi-sector DSGE model to calculate upstream and downstream industry exposure networks from U.S. input-output tables and test the relative importance of shocks from each direction by comparing these with estimated networks of firms? equity return responses to one another. The correlations between the upstream exposure and equity return networks are large and statistically significant, while the downstream exposure networks have lower ? but still positive ? correlations that are not statistically significant. These results suggest a low short-term elasticity of substitution ...
Household Inequality and the Consumption Response to Aggregate Real Shocks
The drop in output and consumption that occurred during the Great Recession has been large and prolonged. Figure 1 displays per capita U.S. real gross domestic product (GDP) and personal consumption expenditures (PCE) between 1985 and 2016 and highlights the large drop in both consumption and output that occurred starting in 2007 and its parallel shift compared with the previous trend. In this article, we ask why consumption has dropped so much and has been recovering so slowly. We also ask to what extent household inequality before and after the Great Recession interacted with the recession ...