Solutions to Problem Set #2 Spring, a) Units of Price of Nominal GDP Real Year Stuff Produced Stuff GDP Deflator GDP

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1 Economics 1021, Section 1 Prof. Steve Fazzari Solutions to Problem Set #2 Spring, a) Units of Price of Nominal GDP Real Year Stuff Produced Stuff GDP Deflator GDP \$20 \$10, \$10, \$21 \$10, \$10, \$24 \$13, \$11,759 Nominal GDP = (Units Produced in a Year) x (Price in a Year) Price Deflator = Ratio of Price in Each Year to Price in the Base Year, multiplied by 100 (Note: The Price Deflator for the base year is given to be 100.0) Real GDP = (Nominal GDP for Year t) x (Deflator in Base Year) / (Deflator for Year t) The numbers you calculated may differ slightly due to rounding. b) Growth Rate of Nominal GDP between 2004 and 2005: (13,440 / 10,920) - 1 = or 23.08% c) Inflation Rate between 2003 and 2004: (100.0 / 95.2) - 1 = or 5.04% d) Annualized Growth Rate of Real GDP between 2003 and 2005: (11,759 / 10,504) 1/2-1 = or 5.81% Note that the 1/2 power is used because the growth took place over two years, and you want to "annualize" the growth. That is, you want to compute how fast real GDP would have to grow each year to reproduce its actual growth over the two-year period. 2a) Here is a table with the 2012 data obtained from the FRED database ( From the FRED home page, follow the links to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and Components and then GDP/GNP. The quarterly nominal GDP figures are designated by the series ID GDP. You can take real GDP directly from the variable GDPC1 (one decimal point of precision) or GDPC96 (three decimal points of precision). To get the GDP price index, go back to the Gross Domestic Product and Components page and click the link Price Indexes & Deflators. The price index used to deflate all of GDP is designated as GDPDEF. (Note that this is also where you could find the personal consumption deflators we talked about in class.)

2 Time Period Nominal GDP GDP Price Index Real GDP 2012:1 \$15, \$13, :2 15, , :3 15, ,652.5 The data in the table come directly from the FRED site. If you divide the nominal GDP figures by the price index and multiply by 100, you will get slightly different figures for real GDP due to rounding error. The figures are in billions of dollars. Note that nominal GDP is approaching \$16 trillion, a useful fact to keep in mind when assessing the relevance of economic figures relative to the size of the economy. You might here about a government spending program of \$10 billion discussed as if it were a lot of money. Indeed, \$10 billion would be a huge amount of money for an individual, but it s only 0.06% of GDP! b) "Annual rates" means that the numbers reflect the level of activity that would have taken place if the economy operated for a full year at the same level it did for the period you are actually measuring. The data are for calendar quarters, so they are multiplied by 4 to obtain annual rates. For example, the actual value of final goods and services produced in the first quarter of 2012 was \$15,478.3 billion / 4 = \$3,869.6 billion. Seasonal adjustment means that the data are modified with statistical techniques to account for typical seasonal variations. For example, first quarter actual data are adjusted upward to reflect the fact that the post-holiday lull in sales and winter weather make actual GDP systematically low in the first quarter. For similar reasons, fourth quarter data are adjusted downward to account for seasonality. The idea is to obtain statistics that reflect underlying trends in the economy, not just normal seasonal fluctuations. But if seasonal factors are unusual (an especially bad winter weather, for example) the seasonal variations may not be entirely eliminated by the adjustment procedure. c) With the data above, you can calculate just the annualized real growth rates for the second through the third quarters. (To calculate real growth for the first quarter, you would need the figures for the fourth quarter of 2011, which you certainly find easily, but it was not required.) For 2012:2 annualized real growth was: (13,548.5 / 13,506.4) 4 1 = or 1.25% Using the same formula, third quarter annualized real growth was 3.11%. c) You must be careful here. The question asks for the annualized value of the inflation rate over two quarters. The actual growth rate in the price index between the first and third quarters was ( / ) - 1 = or 1.06%. Since this inflation took place over two quarters, to annualize it you would add 1 to growth rate and raise the sum to the second power: Annualized Growth Rate = (1.0106) 2-1 = or 2.13%. This question goes somewhat beyond what I expect students to do on the exam, but I want you

3 to try to understand the general principle of annualization, which can go take a growth rate from any period (month, quarter, half year, 7 months, etc.) and express it as if the variable had grown as the same rate over a full year. 3. a) To say that a GDP figure is "in 2005 dollars" indicates that it is a "real" figure, that is, corrected for inflation by dividing by a price index with a 2005 base year. Therefore, this is the value of final production in the period you are analyzing with goods and services valued at constant 2005 prices. b) To compute the average annual growth rate of real GDP between 1960 and 2011, use this formula: (13,299.1 / 2,828.5) 1/51 1 = or 3.08% Note that the formula drops the "billions" (10 9 ) terms because they simply cancel in the numerator and the denominator. (It's fine if you kept the billions in your numbers.) The 1/51 exponent reflects the fact that the growth compounded for 51 years. You want to find the average annual growth rate that would have generated the actual 1960 to 2011 expansion if had continued at a constant growth rate for this entire period (which of course it did not). Also note that if you simply divided the actual growth of percent over this period by 50 you would get a badly distorted answer (370 / 51 = 7.26). You have to take into account "compounding" and compute the annual growth rate with the exponential formula above. The distortion from ignoring compounding over a long period of time like this is very severe. 4. Undoubtedly, the Great Depression in the early 1930s is the single worst economic event in U.S. history, no matter what measure you use to judge its severity. Until recently, it was somewhat harder to pick the second worst recession. The most likely candidates are the recessions of and In both cases unemployment rose substantially (reaching 10.8 percent in late 1982) and output fell quite a bit. Both unemployment and the output drop in the and recessions were worse than in the and the 2001 recessions. But, if one measures the severity of a downturn by the amount of time it takes for output to return to its previous growth trend, the experience of 1989 to 1992, including the "official" recession looks quite bad. The period also looks bad in this sense. Most likely, the early 1980s period would have ranked as the second worst period because it was both rather long and had quite a severe drop in output and rise in unemployment. But the recent downturn that started in late 2007 is now the worst since the Great Depression, in the estimation of most economists. The unemployment rate did not get quite as high as it did in 1982 (10.0% in 2009 versus 10.8% at the trough of the 1982 downturn), but the drop in total jobs was more severe and it is now clear that the recovery of the labor market will take much longer following the trough than was the case in 1982.

4 The point is that the severity of a downturn depends on how you measured it. If you provide a sensible analysis, you will get full credit for this question regardless of how you chose the second worst period. 5.a) The peak of the cycle is the quarter in which GDP hits its highest level (not its highest growth rate). This occurs during the last quarter of positive growth before a recession. In the data given in the question, the peak is in 2015:1. Correspondingly, the trough occurs when GDP hits its lowest level during a recession, 2015:4 in these data. b) The unemployment rate moves counter-cyclically. It rises when GDP declines and falls when GDP rises. The increase in unemployment during the end of the recession in 2015:3 and 2015:4 provides a good example of this phenomenon. But the unemployment rate is a "lagging indicator." Its movements follow the cycle in real output. In the data given, the unemployment rate does not begin to rise until the economy is well into the recession and it peaks in 2016:2 or 2016:3, several quarters after the end of the recession. c) It is unusual for the inflation rate to rise in a recession, but this is what happens here. This "stagflation" is similar to what happened in the U.S. during the recession when dramatic oil price increases pushed up prices even as the economy contracted. d) The party that controls the presidency faces problems from all three data series. While the recession appears to have ended, real output growth remains quite sluggish in These slow growth rates correspond to the initial sluggish growth of the U.S. economy after the , 2001, and recessions. Also, not surprisingly, the unemployment rate remains high in the year after the recession. Because it is a lagging indicator, the unemployment rate is nearly at its peak at the time of the election, even though the recession has ended. Finally, the inflation rate is very high in 2016 by recent historical standards. 6. a) A housewife or househusband is probably not actively engaged in searching for a job, so they would not be counted as part of the labor force and would not be counted as unemployed. b) Because an inmate is not actively looking for a job, he or she is not counted as unemployed. (Note that inmates might do some work in prison, but this is not considered part of the "market," and prisoners are not counted as part of the labor force.) c) This college student is not unemployed because he or she is not looking for a job. d) A recent graduate who is looking for a job but has not found one will be counted as unemployed. e) A person who was fired and is looking for a job would be counted as unemployed. f) If jobless people stop actively seeking work they will not be counted as unemployed-- even if they once held a job and would like to have one again. 7. The unemployment rate is Unemployed / (Working + Unemployed), or you can define the unemployment rate as Unemployed / Labor Force and the Labor Force as Working + Unemployed. How could the unemployment rate fall even if there is no change in the number of people working? If some unemployed people stop actively looking for work

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