7 Pages Posted: 23 Apr 1999
Date Written: January 1999
As the millennium draws to an end, the threat posed by the Year 2000 (Y2K) computer problem is inducing vast private and public spending on its remediation. In this paper, we model the Y2K problem as an anticipated, permanent loss in output whose magnitude can be lessened by investing resources in advance. We embed the Y2K problem into a dynamic general equilibrium framework and show that our model replicates three observed characteristics of the dynamics triggered by the Y2K bug: (1) Precautionary investment: investment in solving the Y2K problem begins before the year 2000; (2) Investment delay: although economic agents have been aware of the Y2K problem since the 1960s, investment did not begin until recently; (3) Investment acceleration: as the new millennium approaches, the amount of resources allocated to solving the Y2K problem increases. Furthermore, the model predicts that Y2K investment peaks at the end of 1999 and that consumption growth is not negatively affected by Y2K, whereas investment in physical capital is.
JEL Classification: E22, E32
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation