Creator: Cole, Harold Linh, 1957- and Ohanian, Lee E. Series: Great depressions of the twentieth century Abstract:
There are two striking aspects of the recovery from the Great Depression in the United States: the recovery was very weak and real wages in several sectors rose significantly above trend. These data contrast sharply with neoclassical theory, which predicts a strong recovery with low real wages. We evaluate whether New Deal cartelization policies designed to limit competition among firms and increase labor bargaining power can account for the persistence of the Depression. We develop a model of the intraindustry bargaining process between labor and firms that occurred with these policies, and embed that model within a multi-sector dynamic general equilibrium model. We find that New Deal cartelization policies are an important factor in accounting for the post-1933 Depression. We also find that the key depressing element of New Deal policies was not collusion per se, but rather the link between paying high wages and collusion.
Keyword: New Deal, Great Depression, Competition, Cartels, Wages, and Collective bargaining Subject (JEL): D50 - General equilibrium and disequilibrium - General and J58 - Labor-management relations, trade unions, and collective bargaining - Public policy
Creator: Mulligan, Casey B. Series: Great depressions of the twentieth century Abstract:
I prove some theorems for competitive equilibria in the presence of distortionary taxes and other restraints of trade, and use those theorems to motivate an algorithm for (exactly) computing and empirically evaluating competitive equilibria in dynamic economies. Although its economics is relatively sophisticated, the algorithm is so computationally economical that it can be implemented with a few lines in a spreadsheet. Although a competitive equilibrium models interactions between all sectors, all consumer types, and all time periods, I show how my algorithm permits separate empirical evaluation of these pieces of the model and hence is practical even when very little data is available. For similar reasons, these evaluations are not particularly sensitive to how data is partitioned into "trends" and "cycles." I then compute a real business cycle model with distortionary taxes that fits aggregate U.S. time series for the period 1929-50 and conclude that, if it is to explain aggregate behavior during the period, government policy must have heavily taxed labor income during the Great Depression and lightly taxed it during the war. In other words, the challenge for the competitive equilibrium approach is not so much why output might change over time, but why the marginal product of labor and the marginal value of leisure diverged so much and why that wedge persisted so long. In this sense, explaining aggregate behavior during the period has been reduced to a public finance question - were actual government policies distorting behavior in the same direction and magnitude as government policies in the model?
Keyword: Depressions, Taxes, World War 2, and Competitive equilibrium models Subject (JEL): H30 - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents: General, E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles, and C68 - Computable General Equilibrium Models
Creator: Roberds, William Series: Business analysis committee meeting Abstract:
One of the more significant developments in econometric modeling over the past decade has been the invention of the forecasting technique known as Bayesian vector autoregression (BVAR). This paper provides a detailed description of the process of specifying a BVAR model of quarterly time series on the U.S. macroeconomy. The postsample forecasting performance of the model is evaluated at an informal level by comparing the model's performance to certain naive forecasting methods, and is evaluated at a formal level by means of efficiency tests. Although the null hypothesis of efficiency is rejected for the model's forecasts, the accuracy of the model exceeds that of naive forecasting methods, and seems comparable to that of commercial forecasting firms for early quarter forecasts.
Keyword: BVAR, Vector autoregression, and Bayesian analysis Subject (JEL): C11 - Bayesian Analysis: General and C53 - Forecasting Models; Simulation Methods
Creator: Chari, V. V. and Hopenhayn, Hugo Andres Series: Models of economic growth and development Abstract:
We present a model of vintage human capital. The economy exhibits exogenous deterministic technological change. Technology requires skills that are specific to the vintage. A stationary competitive equilibrium is defined and shown to exist and be unique, as well as Pareto optimal. The stationary equilibrium is characterized by an endogenous distribution of skilled workers across vintages. The distribution is shown to be single peaked, and under general conditions there is a lag between the time when a technology appears and the peak of its usage, what is known as diffusion. An increase in the rate of exogenous technological charge shirts the distribution of human capital to more recent vintages and increases the relative wage of the unskilled workers in each vintage.
Subject (JEL): O41 - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models, J24 - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity, and O31 - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
Creator: Backus, David and Kehoe, Patrick J. Series: Conference on economics and politics Abstract:
We document properties of business cycles in ten countries over the last hundred years, contrasting the behavior of real quantities with that of the price level and the stock of money. Although the magnitude of output fluctuations has varied across countries and periods, relations among variables have been remarkably uniform. Consumption has generally been about as variable as output, and investment substantially more variable, and both have been strongly procydical. The trade balance has generally been countercyclical. The exception to this regularity is government purchases, which exhibit no systematic cyclical tendency. With respect to the size of output fluctuations, standard deviations are largest between the two world wars. In some countries (notably Australia and Canada) they are substantially larger prior to World War I than after World War II, but in others (notably Japan and the United Kingdom) there is little difference between these periods. Properties of price levels, in contrast, exhibit striking differences between periods. Inflation rates are more persistent after World War II than before, and price level fluctuations are typically procyclical before World War II, countercyclical afterward. We find no general tendency toward increased persistence in money growth rates, but find that fluctuations in money are less highly correlated with output in the postwar period.
Subject (JEL): E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles and E31 - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
Creator: Backus, David, Kehoe, Patrick J., and Kehoe, Timothy Jerome, 1953- Series: Modeling North American economic integration Abstract:
We look for the scale effects on growth predicted by some theories of trade and growth based on dynamic returns to scale at the national or industry level. The increasing returns can arise from learning by doing, investment in human capital, research and development, or development of new products. We find some evidence of a relation between growth rates and the measures of scale implied by the learning by doing theory, especially total manufacturing. With respect to human capital, there is some evidence of a relation between growth rates and per capita measures of inputs into the human capital accumulation process, but little evidence of a relation with the scale of inputs. There is also little evidence that growth rates are related to measures of inputs into R&D. We find, however, that growth rates are related to measures of intra-industry trade, particularly when we control for scale of industry.
Keyword: External effects, Intra-industry trade, Specialization indexes, Increasing returns to scale, Learning by doing, Research and development, Human capital, and International trade Subject (JEL): F43 - Economic Growth of Open Economies and O41 - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models