Creator: Kehoe, Timothy J. and Prescott, Edward C. Series: Staff Report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Dept.) Number: 418 Abstract:
Three of the arguments made by Temin (2008) in his review of Great Depressions of the Twentieth Century are demonstrably wrong: that the treatment of the data in the volume is cursory; that the definition of great depressions is too general and, in particular, groups slow growth experiences in Latin America in the 1980s with far more severe great depressions in Europe in the 1930s; and that the book is an advertisement for the real business cycle methodology. Without these three arguments — which are the results of obvious conceptual and arithmetical errors, including copying the wrong column of data from a source — his review says little more than that he does not think it appropriate to apply our dynamic general equilibrium methodology to the study of great depressions, and he does not like the conclusion that we draw: that a successful model of a great depression needs to be able to account for the effects of government policy on productivity.
In 2008, Peter Temin wrote a review of the book that appeared in the Journal of Economic Literature. This staff report and accompanying data file are in response to the review.
Citation for review: Temin, Peter. 2008. "Real Business Cycle Views of the Great Depression and Recent Events: A Review of Timothy J. Kehoe and Edward C. Prescott's Great Depressions of the Twentieth Century." Journal of Economic Literature, 46 (3): 669-84. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1257/jel.46.3.669
Creator: Mendoza, Enrique G., 1963- and Smith, Katherine A. Series: Advances in dynamic economics Abstract:
"Sudden Stops " experienced during emerging markets crises are characterized by large reversals of capital inflows and the current account, deep recessions, and collapses in asset prices. This paper proposes an open-economy equilibrium asset pricing model in which financial frictions cause Sudden Stops. Margin requirements impose a collateral constraint on foreign borrowing by domestic agents and trading costs distort asset trading by foreign securities firms. At equilibrium, margin constraints may or may not bind depending on portfolio decisions and equilibrium asset prices. If margin constraints do not bind, productivity shocks cause a moderate fall in consumption and a widening current account deficit. If debt is high relative to asset holdings, the same productivity shocks trigger margin calls forcing domestic agents to fire-sell equity to foreign traders. This sets off a Fisherian asset-price deflation and subsequent rounds of margin calls. A current account reversal and a collapse in consumption occur when equity sales cannot prevent a sharp rise in net foreign assets.
Keyword: Collateral constraints, Fisherian deflation, Emerging markets, Margin calls, Open economy asset pricing, Asset pricing, Sudden stops, Nonlinear dynamics, and Trading costs Subject (JEL): F32 - International finance - Current account adjustment ; Short-term capital movements, D52 - General equilibrium and disequilibrium - Incomplete markets, E44 - Money and interest rates - Financial markets and the macroeconomy, and F41 - Macroeconomic aspects of international trade and finance - Open economy macroeconomics
Creator: Hopenhayn, Hugo Andres and Vereshchagina, Galina. Series: Advances in dynamic economics Abstract:
Entrepreneurs bear substantial risk, but empirical evidence shows no sign of a positive premium. This paper develops a theory of endogenous entrepreneurial risk taking that explains why self-financed entrepreneurs may find it optimal to invest into risky projects offering no risk premium. The model has also a number of implications for firm dynamics supported by empirical evidence, such as a positive correlation between survival, size, and firm age.
Keyword: Intertemporal firm choice, Investment, Borrowing constraints, Financing, Risk taking, Occupational choice, and Firm dynamics Subject (JEL): G32 - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill, L25 - Firm Performance: Size, Diversification, and Scope, E21 - Macroeconomics: Consumption; Saving; Wealth, and L26 - Entrepreneurship
Creator: Bullard, James. and Duffy, John, 1964- Series: Joint committee on business and financial analysis Abstract:
Trend-cycle decomposition has been problematic in equilibrium business cycle research. Many models are fundamentally based on the concept of balanced growth, and so have clear predictions concerning the nature of the multivariate trend that should exist in the data if the model is correct. But the multivariate trend that is removed from the data in this literature is not the same one that is predicted by the model. This is understandable, because unexpected changes in trends are difficult to model under a rational expectations assumption. A learning assumption is more appropriate here. We include learning in a standard equilibrium business cycle model with explicit growth. We ask how the economy might react to the important trend-changing events of the postwar era in industrialized economies, such as the productivity slowdown, increased labor force participation by women, and the "new economy" of the 1990s. This tells us what the model says about the trend that should be taken out of the data before the business cycle analysis begins. Thus we use learning to address the trend-cycle decomposition problem that plagues equilibrium business cycle research. We argue that a model-consistent approach, such as the one we suggest here, is necessary if the goal is to obtain an accurate assessment of an equilibrium business cycle model.
Keyword: New economy, Learning, Business cycle fluctuations, Equilibrium business cycle theory, and Productivity slowdown Subject (JEL): E30 - Prices, business fluctuations, and cycles - General and E20 - Macroeconomics : Consumption, saving, production, employment, and investment - General
Creator: Edge, Rochelle Mary, 1971- and Rudd, Jeremy Bay, 1970- Series: Joint commitee on business and financial analysis Abstract:
We add a nominal tax system to a sticky-price monetary business cycle model. When nominal interest income is taxed, the coefficient on inflation in a Taylor-type monetary policy rule must be significantly larger than one in order for the model economy to have a determinate rational expectations equilibrium. When depreciation is treated as a charge against taxable income, an even larger weight on inflation is required in the Taylor rule in order to obtain a determinate and stable equilibrium. These results have obvious implications for assessing the historical conduct of monetary policy.
Keyword: Monetary policy, Business cycle, Cycle, Interest, Inflation, Policy, Prices, Monetary, Rational expectation, and Tax Subject (JEL): E43 - Money and interest rates - Determination of interest rates ; Term structure of interest rates, E31 - Prices, business fluctuations, and cycles - Price level ; Inflation ; Deflation, E12 - General aggregative models - Keynes ; Keynesian ; Post-Keynesian, and E32 - Prices, business fluctuations, and cycles - Business fluctuations ; Cycles
Creator: Erceg, Christopher J. and Levin, Andrew T. (Andrew Theo) Series: Joint commitee on business and financial analysis Abstract:
The durable goods sector is much more interest sensitive than the non-durables sector, and these sectoral differences have important implications for monetary policy. In this paper, we perform VAR analysis of quarterly US data and find that a monetary policy innovation has a peak impact on durable expenditures that is roughly five times as large as its impact on non-durable expenditures. We then proceed to formulate and calibrate a two-sector dynamic general equilibrium model that roughly matches the impulse response functions of the data. We derive the social welfare function and show that the optimal monetary policy rule responds to sector-specific inflation rates and output gaps. We show that some commonlyprescribed policy rules perform poorly in terms of social welfare, especially rules that put a higher weight on inflation stabilization than on output gap stabilization. By contrast, it is interesting that certain rules that react only to aggregate variables, including aggregate output gap targeting and rules that respond to a weighted average of price and wage inflation, may yield a welfare level close to the optimum given a typical distribution of shocks.
Keyword: Monetary policy, Consumer, Business cycles, Durable goods, and Social welfare Subject (JEL): E31 - Prices, business fluctuations, and cycles - Price level ; Inflation ; Deflation, E52 - Monetary policy, central banking, and the supply of money and credit - Monetary policy, and E32 - Prices, business fluctuations, and cycles - Business fluctuations ; Cycles
Creator: Chari, V. V., Kehoe, Patrick J., and McGrattan, Ellen R. Series: Joint committee on business and financial analysis Abstract:
This paper proposes a simple method for guiding researchers in developing quantitative models of economic fluctuations. We show that a large class of models, including models with various frictions, are equivalent to a prototype growth model with time varying wedges that, at least on face value, look like time-varying productivity, labor taxes, and capital income taxes. We label the time varying wedges as efficiency wedges, labor wedges, and investment wedges. We use data to measure these wedges and then feed them back into the prototype growth model. We then assess the fraction of fluctuations accounted for by these wedges during the great depressions of the 1930s in the United States, Germany, and Canada. We find that the efficiency and labor wedges in combination account for essentially all of the declines and subsequent recoveries. Investment wedge plays at best a minor role.
Keyword: Business cycle, Cycle, Economic fluctuations, Fluctuation, and Growth Subject (JEL): O41 - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models, O47 - Economic growth and aggregate productivity - Measurement of economic growth ; Aggregate productivity ; Cross-country output convergence, and E32 - Prices, business fluctuations, and cycles - Business fluctuations ; Cycles
Creator: Fernandez-Villaverde, Jesus. and Rubio-Ramírez, Juan Francisco. Series: Joint committee on business and financial analysis Abstract:
This paper presents a method to perform likelihood-based inference in nonlinear dynamic equilibrium economies. This type of models has become a standard tool in quantitative economics. However, existing literature has been forced so far to use moment procedures or linearization techniques to estimate these models. This situation is unsatisfactory: moment procedures suffer from strong small samples biases and linearization depends crucially on the shape of the true policy functions, possibly leading to erroneous answers. We propose the use of Sequential Monte Carlo methods to evaluate the likelihood function implied by the model. Then we can perform likelihood-based inference, either searching for a maximum (Quasi-Maximum Likelihood Estimation) or simulating the posterior using a Markov Chain Monte Carlo algorithm (Bayesian Estimation). We can also compare different models even if they are nonnested and misspecified. To perform classical model selection, we follow Vuong (1989) and use the Kullback-Leibler distance to build Likelihood Ratio Tests. To perform Bayesian model comparison, we build Bayes factors. As an application, we estimate the stochastic neoclassical growth model.
Keyword: Likelihood-based inference, Dynamic equilibrium economies, Sequential Monte Carlo methods, and Nonlinear filtering Subject (JEL): C15 - Statistical Simulation Methods: General, C13 - Estimation: General, C10 - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General, and C11 - Bayesian Analysis: General
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