NBER Working Papers by Neville Francis

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Working Papers

May 2006A Century of Work and Leisure
with Valerie A. Ramey: w12264
Has leisure increased over the last century? Standard measures of hours worked suggest that it has. In this paper, we develop a comprehensive measure of non-leisure hours that includes market work, home production, commuting and schooling for the last 105 years. We also present empirical and theoretical arguments for a definition of %u201Cper capita%u201D that encompasses the entire population. The new measures reveal a number of interesting 20th Century trends. First, 70 percent of the decline in hours worked has been offset by an increase in hours spent in school. Second, contrary to conventional wisdom, average hours spent in home production are actually slightly higher now than they were in the early part of the 20th Century. Finally, leisure per capita is approximately the same now as...

Published: Valerie A. Ramey & Neville Francis, 2009. "A Century of Work and Leisure," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 189-224, July. citation courtesy of

October 2005Measures of Per Capita Hours and their Implications for the Technology-Hours Debate
with Valerie A. Ramey: w11694
Structural vector autoregressions give conflicting results on the effects of technology shocks on hours. The results depend crucially on the assumed data generating process for hours per capita. We show that the standard measure of hours per capita has significant low frequency movements that are the source of the conflicting results. HP filtered hours per capita produce results consistent with the those obtained when hours are assumed to have a unit root. We provide an alternative measure of hours per capita that adjusts for low frequency movements in government employment, schooling, and the aging of the population. When the new measure is used to determine the effect of technology shocks on hours using long-run restrictions, both the levels and the difference specifications give the sam...

Published: Neville Francis & Valerie A. Ramey, 2009. "Measures of per Capita Hours and Their Implications for the Technology-Hours Debate," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 41(6), pages 1071-1097, 09. citation courtesy of

July 2004The Source of Historical Economic Fluctuations: An Analysis using Long-Run Restrictions
with Valerie A. Ramey: w10631
This paper investigates the source of historical fluctuations in annual US data extending back to the late 19th century. Long-run identifying restrictions are used to decompose productivity, hours, and output into technology shocks and non-technology shocks. A variety of models with differing auxiliary assumptions are investigated. The preferred model suggests that the Great Depression was a period in which both types of shocks were very negative. On the other hand, our estimates support the microeconomic evidence of historically large positive technology shocks from 1934 to 1936. Finally, both types of shocks are responsible for the reduction in the variance of output in the post-WWII period.

Published: The Source of Historical Economic Fluctuations: An Analysis Using Long-Run Restrictions, Neville Francis, Valerie A. Ramey. in NBER International Seminar on Macroeconomics 2004, Clarida, Frankel, Giavazzi, and West. 2006

January 2002Is the Technology-Driven Real Business Cycle Hypothesis Dead?
with Valerie A. Ramey: w8726
In this paper, we re-examine the recent evidence that technology shocks do not produce business cycle patterns in the data. We first extend GalĀ”'s (1999) work, which uses long-run restrictions to identify technology shocks, by examining whether the identified shocks can be plausibly interpreted as technology shocks. We do this in three ways. First, we derive additional long-run restrictions and use them as tests of overidentification. Second, we compare the qualitative implications from the model with the impulse responses of variables such as wages and consumption. Third, we test whether some standard 'exogenous' variables predict the shock variables. We find that oil shocks, military build-ups, and Romer dates do not predict the shock labeled 'technology.' We then show ways in whic...

Published: Francis, Neville and Valerie A. Ramey. "Is The Technology-Driven Real Business Cycle Hypothesis Dead? Shocks And Aggregate Fluctuations Revisited," Journal of Monetary Economics, 2005, v52(8,Nov), 1379-1399.

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