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Chapter 10. Classical Business Cycle Analysis: Market-Clearing Macroeconomics. I. Business Cycles in the Classical Model (Sec. 10.1 ). 1. Two key questions about business cycles 2. Any business cycle theory has two components. A) The real business cycle theory.

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Chapter 10

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chapter 10

Chapter 10

Classical Business Cycle Analysis: Market-Clearing Macroeconomics

i business cycles in the classical model sec 10 1
I. Business Cycles in the Classical Model (Sec. 10.1)
  • 1. Two key questions about business cycles
  • 2. Any business cycle theory has two components
a the real business cycle theory
A) The real business cycle theory
  • 3. Real business cycle (RBC) theory (Kydland and Prescott)
  • a. Real shocks to the economy are the primary cause of business cycles
  • b. The largest role is played by shocks to the production function, which the text has called supply shocks, and RBC theorists call productivity shocks
  • c. The recessionary impact of an adverse productivity shock
d real business cycle theory and the business cycle facts
d. Real business cycle theory and the business cycle facts
  • (1) The RBC theory is consistent with many business cycle facts
  • (2) The theory predicts countercyclical movements of the price level, which seems to be inconsistent with the data
4 application calibrating the business cycle
4. Application: Calibrating the business cycle
  • a. A major element of RBC theory is that it attempts to make quantitative, not just qualitative, predictions about the business cycle
  • b. RBC theorists use the method of calibration to work out a detailed numerical example of the theory
  • (1) First they write down specific functions explaining the behavior of people (2) Then they use existing studies of the economy to choose numbers for parameters (3) Next they simulate what happens when the economy is hit by various shocks (4) Prescott’s computer simulations (text Figures. 10.1 and 10.2) match post–World War II data fairly well
5 are productivity shocks the only source of recessions
5. Are productivity shocks the only source of recessions?
  • a. Critics of the RBC theory suggest that except for the oil price shocks of 1973, 1979, and 1990, there are no productivity shocks that one can easily identify that caused recessions
  • b. One RBC response is that it doesn’t have to be a big shock; instead, the cumulation of many small shocks can cause a business cycle (text Figure 10.3)
6 does the solow residual measure technology shocks
6. Does the Solow residual measure technology shocks?
  • a. RBC theorists measure productivity shocks as the Solow residual
  • (1) Named after Robert Solow, the originator of modern growth theory
  • (2) Given a production function, Y = AKaN1-a, and data on Y, K, and N, the Solow residual is
  • A = Y/(KaN1–a) (10.1)
  • (3) It’s called a residual because it can’t be measured directly

b.The Solow residual is strongly procyclical in U.S. datac.But should the Solow residual be interpreted as a measure of technology?d.Measured productivity can vary even if the actual technology doesn’t change(i)Utilization is procyclical, (ii)Burnside-Eichenbaum-Rebelo evidence on procyclical utilization of capital(iii)Fay-Medoff and Braun-Evans evidence on procyclical utilization of labore.Conclusion: Changes in the measured Solow residual don’t necessarily reflect changes in technology


7. Technology shocks may not lead to procyclical productivity8.Also, the critics suggest that shocks other than productivity shocks, such as wars and military buildups, have caused business cycles

b fiscal policy shocks in the classical model
B) Fiscal policy shocks in the classical model
  • 1. The effects of a temporary increase in government expenditures (Figure 10.1)
2 should fiscal policy be used to dampen the cycle
2. Should fiscal policy be used to dampen the cycle?
  • a. Classical economists oppose attempts to dampen the cycle
  • b. Besides, fiscal policy increases output by making workers worse off
  • c. Instead, government spending should be determined by cost-benefit analysis
  • d. Also, there may be lags in enacting the correct policy and in implementing it
  • e. It’s also not clear how much to change fiscal policy to get the desired effect on employment and output
c unemployment in the classical model
C) Unemployment in the classical model
  • 1. In the classical model there is no unemployment
  • 2. In reality measured unemployment is never zero
  • 3. Classical economists have a more sophisticated version of the model to account for unemployment
  • a. matching problem
  • b. It takes time to match workers to jobs
  • c. Unemployment rises in recessions
  • d. A shock that increases mismatching raises frictional unemployment and structural unemployment
  • e. there’s still no cyclical unemployment in the classical model

4. Davis and Haltiwanger show that there is a tremendous amount of churning of jobs both within and across industries5. But this worker match theory can’t explain all unemployment6. So can the government use fiscal policy to reduce unemployment?a. Doing so doesn’t improve the mismatch problemb. A better approach is to eliminate barriers to labor-market adjustment

d household production
D. Household production
  • 1. The RBC model matches U.S. data better if the model accounts explicitly for output produced at home
  • 2. Rogerson and Wright
  • 3. Parente, Rogerson, and Wright
ii money in the classical model sec 10 2
II. Money in the Classical Model (Sec. 10.2)
  • A) Monetary policy and the economy
  • Money is neutral in the classical model
  • B) Monetary nonneutrality and reverse causation
  • 1. Why does the data show that money is a leading, procyclical variable?
  • 2. The classical answer: Reverse causation
  • 3. Why would higher future output cause people to increase money demand?
c the nonneutrality of money additional evidence
C) The nonneutrality of money: Additional evidence
  • 1. Friedman and Schwartz have extensively documented that often monetary changes have had an independent origin; they weren’t just a reflection of changes or future changes in economic activity
  • 2. More recently, Romer documented additional episodes of monetary nonneutrality since 1960
  • 3. So money does not appear to be neutral
  • 4. There is a version of the classical model in which money isn’t neutral—the misperceptions theory discussed next
iii the misperceptions theory and the nonneutrality of money sec 10 3
III. The Misperceptions Theory and the Nonneutrality of Money (Sec. 10.3)
  • A) Introduction to the misperceptions theory
  • If producers misperceive the aggregate price level, then the relevant aggregate supply curve in the short run isn’t vertical
  • a. This happens because producers have imperfect information about the general price level
  • b. As a result, they misinterpret changes in the general price level as changes in relative prices
  • c. This leads to a short-run aggregate supply curve that isn’t vertical
  • d. But prices still adjust rapidly

The misperceptions theory is that the aggregate quantity of output supplied rises above the full-employment level when the aggregate price level P is higher than expected

  • The equation Y = + b(P – Pe) [Eq. (10.4)] summarizes the misperceptions theory:In the short run, the aggregate supply (SRAS) curve slopes upward and intersects the long-run aggregate supply (LRAS) curve at P = Pe (Figure 10.2; like text Figure 10.6)
c monetary policy and the misperceptions theory
C) Monetary policy and the misperceptions theory
  • 1. Because of misperceptions, unanticipated monetary policy has real effects; but anticipated monetary policy has no real effects because there are no misperceptions
  • 2. Unanticipated changes in the money supply (Figure 10.3; like text Figure 10.7)
3 anticipated changes in the money supply
3. Anticipated changes in the money supply
  • a. If people anticipate the change in the money supply and thus in the price level, they aren’t fooled, there are no misperceptions, and the SRAS curve shifts immediately to its higher level
  • b. So anticipated money is neutral in both the short run and the long run
d rational expectations and the role of monetary policy
D) Rational expectations and the role of monetary policy
  • 1. The only way the Fed can use monetary policy to affect output is to surprise people
  • 2. But people realize that the Fed would want to increase the money supply in recessions and decrease it in booms, so they won’t be fooled
  • 3. The rational expectations hypothesis suggests that the public’s forecasts of economic variables are well-reasoned and use all the available data
  • 4. If the public has rational expectations, the Fed won’t be able to surprise people in response to the business cycle; only random monetary policy has any effects
6 propagating the effects of unanticipated changes in the money supply
6. Propagating the effects of unanticipated changes in the money supply
  • a. It doesn’t seem like people could be fooled for long, since money supply figures are reported weekly and inflation is reported monthly
  • b. Classical economists argue that propagation mechanisms allow short-lived shocks to have long-lived effects
  • c. Example of propagation: The behavior of inventories
e box 10 1 are price forecasts rational
E) Box 10.1: Are price forecasts rational?
  • Economists can test whether price forecasts are rational by looking at surveys of people’s expectations
  • If people have rational expectations, forecast errors should be unpredictable random numbers; otherwise, people would be making systematic errors and thus not have rational expectations
  • Many statistical studies suggest that people don’t have rational expectations
  • But people who answer surveys may not have a lot at stake in making forecasts, so couldn’t be expected to produce rational forecasts
  • Instead, professional forecasters are more likely to produce rational forecasts