Are Structural Vars with Long-Run Restrictions Useful in Developing Business Cycle Theory?

35 Pages Posted: 27 Oct 2008 Last revised: 17 Mar 2010

See all articles by Varadarajan V. Chari

Varadarajan V. Chari

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Department of Economics; Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Patrick J. Kehoe

Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis - Research Department; University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Ellen R. McGrattan

Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis - Research Department; University of Minnesota - Twin Cities; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: October 2008

Abstract

The central finding of the recent structural vector autoregression (SVAR) literature with a differenced specification of hours is that technology shocks lead to a fall in hours. Researchers have used this finding to argue that real business cycle models are unpromising. We subject this SVAR specification to a natural economic test by showing that when applied to data generated from a multiple-shock business cycle model, the procedure incorrectly concludes that the model could not have generated the data as long as demand shocks play a nontrivial role. We also test another popular specification, which uses the level of hours, and show that with nontrivial demand shocks, it cannot distinguish between real business cycle models and sticky price models. The crux of the problem for both SVAR specifications is that available data necessitate a VAR with a small number of lags and, when demand shocks play a nontrivial role, such a VAR is a poor approximation to the model's infinite order VAR.

Suggested Citation

Chari, Varadarajan V. and Kehoe, Patrick J. and McGrattan, Ellen R., Are Structural Vars with Long-Run Restrictions Useful in Developing Business Cycle Theory? (October 2008). NBER Working Paper No. w14430. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1289666

Varadarajan V. Chari (Contact Author)

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Department of Economics ( email )

271 19th Avenue South
1108 Management & Economics
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States
612-626-7151 (Phone)

Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis ( email )

90 Hennepin Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55480
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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
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Patrick J. Kehoe

Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis - Research Department ( email )

90 Hennepin Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55480
United States
612-204-5525 (Phone)
612-204-5515 (Fax)

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Department of Economics ( email )

271 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Ellen R. McGrattan

Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis - Research Department ( email )

90 Hennepin Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55480
United States
612-340-2587 (Phone)
612-340-2356 (Fax)

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

420 Delaware St. SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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