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Keywords:

  • C32;
  • E32
  • SVARs;
  • long-run restriction;
  • technology shocks;
  • hours worked

The response of hours to a technology shock is a controversial issue in macroeconomics. Part of the difficulty lies in that the estimated response is sensitive to the specification of hours in structural vector autoregressions (SVARs). This paper uses a simple two-step approach to consistently estimate the response of hours. The first step considers a SVAR model with a relevant stationary variable, but excluding hours. Given a consistent estimate of technology shocks in the first step, the response of hours to this shock is estimated in a second step. Simulation experiments from an estimated dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) model show that this approach outperforms standard SVARs. When applied to U.S. data, the two-step approach predicts a short-run decrease followed by a hump-shaped positive response. This result is robust to other specifications and data.