Correlated Disturbances and U.S. Business Cycles

50 Pages Posted: 1 Mar 2010 Last revised: 9 Aug 2010

See all articles by Vasco Cúrdia

Vasco Cúrdia

Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco

Ricardo Reis

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: February 2010

Abstract

The dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) models that are used to study business cycles typically assume that exogenous disturbances are independent autoregressions of order one. This paper relaxes this tight and arbitrary restriction, by allowing for disturbances that have a rich contemporaneous and dynamic correlation structure. Our first contribution is a new Bayesian econometric method that uses conjugate conditionals and Gibbs sampling to make the estimation of DSGE models with correlated disturbances feasible. This provides a useful check for model misspecification in the search for models with structural disturbances. Our second contribution is a re-examination of U.S. business cycles. We find that allowing for correlated disturbances resolves some conflicts between estimates from DSGE models and those from vector autoregressions, and that treating government spending as exogenous in spite of its clear countercyclicality in the data is the main source of misspecification. According to our estimates, government spending and technology disturbances play a larger role in the business cycle than previously ascribed, while changes in markups are less important.

Suggested Citation

Cúrdia, Vasco and Reis, Ricardo A.M.R., Correlated Disturbances and U.S. Business Cycles (February 2010). NBER Working Paper No. w15774. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1560910

Vasco Cúrdia (Contact Author)

Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco ( email )

101 Market Street
MS 1130
San Francisco, CA 94105
United States
(415) 977-3624 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.frbsf.org/economics/economists/staff.php?vcurdia

Ricardo A.M.R. Reis

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

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