Can News About the Future Drive the Business Cycle?
In this paper we propose a model that generates an expansion in response to good news about future total factor productivity (TFP) or investment-specific technical change. The model has three key elements: variable capital utilization, adjustment costs to investment, and preferences that exhibit a weak short-run income effect on the labor supply. These preferences nest, as special cases, the two classes of utility functions most widely used in the business cycle literature. Even though our model abstracts from negative productivity shocks, it generates recessions that resemble those in the post-war U.S. economy. Recessions are caused not by contemporaneous negative shocks but by lackluster news about the future TFP or investment-specific technical change
News, Future Shocks, Business Cycle
Aggregate and sectoral comovement are central features of business cycle data. Therefore, the ability to generate comovement is a natural litmus test for macroeconomic models. But it is a test that most existing models fail. In this paper we propose a unified model that generates both aggregate and sectoral comovement in response to contemporaneous shocks and news shocks about fundamentals. The fundamentals that we consider are aggregate and sectoral TFP shocks as well as investment-specific technical change. The model has three key elements: variable capital utilization, adjustment costs to investment, and a new form of preferences that allow us to parameterize the strength of short-run wealth effects on the labor supply.
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