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Hysteresis and the welfare costs of recessions

Juha Tervala ()

Economic Modelling, 2021, vol. 95, issue C, 136-144

Abstract: This article explores the implications of hysteresis for the welfare costs of recessions by extending the textbook New Keynesian model to include hysteresis. Hysteresis implies that recessions reduce the level of potential output. Famously Lucas (1987, 2003) argued that the welfare costs of business cycles are negligible without hysteresis. This article demonstrates that the welfare costs of recessions are huge (negligible) in the New Keynesian model with (without) hysteresis. The main finding is that an empirically observed degree of hysteresis increases the welfare costs of a recession by a factor of 121. The results are in contrast with Lucas (1987, 2003), who concluded that only changes in the long-term growth rate of consumption have a significant welfare effect. The welfare costs of recessions can be huge without a change in the long-term growth rate of consumption. Hysteresis therefore implies that stabilization policy should respond forcefully to recessions.

Keywords: Business cycles; Costs of recessions; Hysteresis; Stabilization policy (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: E00 E32 E63 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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Working Paper: Hysteresis and the Welfare Costs of Business Cycles (2020) Downloads
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DOI: 10.1016/j.econmod.2020.12.012

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