Date of Award

5-2011

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Economics

Major Professor

Mohammed Mohsin

Committee Members

Phillip Daves, Matthew N. Murray, William S. Neilson

Abstract

In this dissertation we use Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium DSGE) models to explain empirical regularities and policy implications related to (1) durable goods, interest rates and small open economy business cycles, (2) Terms-of-Trade (ToT) and economic fluctuations in small open economies and (3) Budget Stabilization Funds (BSFs) and States’ business cycles. In the first essay, we document that durable spending in developed small open economies constitutes a large share of their total income. Their spending is highly procyclical, sensitive to interest rates, and leads the business cycle. We address these regularities with a RBC model with durable goods. The model successfully replicates the observed business cycle regularities and explains many anomalies not explained in the existing literature. It also emphasizes the role of interest rates uncertainty in explaining the dynamics of the small open economies. The second essay addresses the impacts of the ToT fluctuation on the business cycles of various small open economies. We argue that differences in the degree of durability in domestic production and imports may make these economies more or less sensitive to an identical ToT shock. We found that economies with higher durability usually enjoy more stable business cycle comparing with economies with lower degree of durability. Differences in the persistence of the ToT do affect the dynamic of the external accounts but it cannot explain the observed differences business cycles across small open economies. In the last essay, we evaluate the economic impacts of the Budget Stabilization Funds (BSF) on State-level business cycles. We lay out a State economy RBC model in which a State’s government applies a designated saving rule consistent with households’ optimization. Given the suggested rule we find that the BDFs become a significant automatic stabilizer. It is not only mitigates the procyclicality of the government spending but it also smooth the State’s business cycle.

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