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On the Contribution of Technology Shocks to Business Cycles

S. Rao Aiyagari

Summer 1997

This article contends that the various measures of the contribution of technology shocks to business cycles calculated using the real business cycle modeling method are not corroborated. The article focuses on a different and much simpler method for calculating the contribution of technology shocks, which takes account of facts concerning the productivity/labor input correlation and the variability of labor input relative to output. Under several standard assumptions, the method predicts that the contribution of technology shocks must be large (at least 78 percent), that the labor supply elasticity need not be large to explain the observed fluctuation in labor input, and that the contribution of technology shocks can be estimated fairly precisely. The method also estimates that the contribution of technology shocks could be lower than 78 percent under alternative assumptions.

Reprinted From: Quarterly Review (Vol. 18, No. 1, Winter 1994, pp. 22-34)

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