Essays in Empirical Macroeconomics

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2010

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This dissertation consists of three essays in empirical macroeconomics. In the first essay, I explore the dynamic effects of aggregate news about

future technology improvements on sectoral fundamentals. I document that the durable goods sector responds significantly more to news shocks than the nondurable goods sector. By looking at the behavior of inventories, which have been largely neglected in the news literature, I show that aggregate news propagates the business cycle mainly through the durable goods sector. My theoretical framework is a two-sector, two-factor, real business cycle model augmented with the following three real rigidities: habit persistence in consumption, variable capacity utilization, and investment adjustment costs in both sectors. In addition, I introduce inventories as a factor in the production of durable goods. The model is successful in replicating the empirical responses of the US economy to news shocks. It reproduces the stronger response of the durable goods sector and can perfectly match the responses of inventories.

The second essay, which is joint work with Roberto Pancrazi, evaluates the effects of a change in monetary policy on the decline of the volatility of real macroeconomic variables, and on its redistribution from high to medium frequencies during the post-1983 period. By using a dynamic stochastic general equilibrium model, we find that the monetary policy alone cannot account for the observed changes in the spectral density of output, investment, and consumption. However, when we also consider a change in the exogenous processes, a different monetary policy accounts for $40$ percent of the decline in the high-frequency volatilities and partially accounts for the redistribution of the variance toward lower frequencies.

In the third essay, I study exchange rate dynamics. In particular, I investigate the main features of a rich theoretical model that are necessary to explain exchange rate volatility and persistence. As a theoretical framework, I use a small open economy dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE hereafter) model. The model is estimated using Bayesian techniques. I use post Bretton-Woods data for the following three countries: Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom (UK hereafter). The performance of the benchmark model in replicating both real exchange rate persistence and volatility is rather good. I show that the domestic and importing sector price stickiness and indexation parameters are the most important features of the model for a successful replication of the real exchange rate dynamics. The importance of the importing sector price stickiness and indexation parameters is increasing in the share of importing goods in the consumption basket. The most important shocks for explaining the exchange rate volatility at business cycle frequency are the investment specific technology shock, monetary policy shock, and labor supply shock, among domestic economy shocks, and the shock to the interest rate among the foreign shocks.

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Vukotic, Marija (2010). Essays in Empirical Macroeconomics. Dissertation, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/2423.

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