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Interpreting the Great Moderation : changes in the volatility of economic activity at the macro and micro levels

Author: Steven J Davis; James A Kahn; National Bureau of Economic Research.
Publisher: Cambridge, Mass. : National Bureau of Economic Research, 2008.
Series: Working paper series (National Bureau of Economic Research), no. 14048.
Edition/Format:   eBook : Document : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
We review evidence on the Great Moderation in conjunction with evidence about volatility trends at the micro level. We combine the two types of evidence to develop a tentative story for important components of the aggregate volatility decline and its consequences. The key ingredients are declines in firm-level volatility and aggregate volatility -- most dramatically in the durable goods sector -- but the absence of  Read more...
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Material Type: Document, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource, Computer File
All Authors / Contributors: Steven J Davis; James A Kahn; National Bureau of Economic Research.
OCLC Number: 231318112
Description: 1 online resource (1 volume).
Series Title: Working paper series (National Bureau of Economic Research), no. 14048.
Responsibility: Steven J. Davis, James A. Kahn.

Abstract:

We review evidence on the Great Moderation in conjunction with evidence about volatility trends at the micro level. We combine the two types of evidence to develop a tentative story for important components of the aggregate volatility decline and its consequences. The key ingredients are declines in firm-level volatility and aggregate volatility -- most dramatically in the durable goods sector -- but the absence of a decline in household consumption volatility and individual earnings uncertainty. Our explanation for the aggregate volatility decline stresses improved supply-chain management, particularly in the durable goods sector, and, less important, a shift in production and employment from goods to services. We provide evidence that better inventory control made a substantial contribution to declines in firm-level and aggregate volatility. Consistent with this view, if we look past the turbulent 1970s and early 1980s much of the moderation reflects a decline in high frequency (short-term) fluctuations. While these developments represent efficiency gains, they do not imply (nor is there evidence for) a reduction in economic uncertainty faced by individuals and households.

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