Skip to main content

Energy Price Shocks, Capacity Utilization and Business Cycle Fluctuations

Discussion Paper 50 | Published September 1, 1991

Download PDF

Author

Mary G. Finn

Energy Price Shocks, Capacity Utilization and Business Cycle Fluctuations

Abstract

This study focuses on the analysis of energy price shocks in the generation of business cycle phenomena. These shocks are transmitted through endogenous fluctuations in capital utilization. The production structure of the model gives rise to an empirical measure of ‘true’ technology growth that is exempt from recent criticisms levelled at the standard measure, i.e., Solow residual growth. The model is calibrated and evaluated for the U.S. economy using annual data over the 1960–1988 period. At business cycle frequencies, the model accounts for 74–91 percent of the volatility of U.S. output; closely matches the strong negative correlation between output and energy prices manifested in the U.S. data; and is generally consistent with other facts characterizing U.S. business cycles. Energy price shocks make a significant quantitative contribution to the model’s ability to explain the data.