Business Cycle Accounting

64 Pages Posted: 5 Jan 2007  

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: March 2004

Abstract

We propose a simple method to help researchers develop quantitative models of economic fluctuations. The method rests on the insight that many models are equivalent to a prototype growth model with time-varying wedges which resemble productivity, labor and investment taxes, and government consumption. Wedges corresponding to these variables -- effciency, labor, investment, and government consumption wedges -- are measured and then fed back into the model in order to assess the fraction of various fluctuations they account for. Applying this method to U.S. data for the Great Depression and the 1982 recession reveals that the effciency and labor wedges together account for essentially all of the fluctuations; the investment wedge plays a decidedly tertiary role, and the government consumption wedge, none. Analyses of the entire postwar period and alternative model specifications support these results. Models with frictions manifested primarily as investment wedges are thus not promising for the study of business cycles.

Suggested Citation

Chari, Varadarajan V. and Kehoe, Patrick J. and McGrattan, Ellen R., Business Cycle Accounting (March 2004). NBER Working Paper No. w10351. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=515245

Varadarajan V. Chari

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
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Patrick J. Kehoe (Contact Author)

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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