Does Uncertainty Reduce Growth? Using Disasters as Natural Experiments
A growing body of evidence suggests that uncertainty is counter cyclical, rising sharply in recessions and falling in booms. But what is the causal relationship between uncertainty and growth? To identify this we construct cross country panel data on stock market levels and volatility as proxies for the first and second moments of business conditions. We then use natural disasters, terrorist attacks and unexpected political shocks as instruments for our stock market proxies of first and second moment shocks. We find that both the first and second moments are highly significant in explaining GDP growth, with second moment shocks accounting for at least a half of the variation in growth. Variations in higher moments of stock market returns appear to have little impact on growth.
We would like to thank the National Science Foundation and the Sloan Foundation for their financial support. We appreciated feedback from discussants Jonathan Goldberg, Ayhan Kose and Aart Kray, seminars participants at the AEA, the Chicago Fed, Maryland, IMF, Stanford, and the World Bank, and from Megha Patnaik and Stephen Terry. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
I worked for McKinsey and company as a management consultant from 2001-2002. I have not received any funding from them after that time.
I am part of the Toulouse Network for Information Technology, which carries out research on IT and productivity. From this network I receive an annual honorarium, which is funded by Microsoft.
I do occasional consulting on management practices for government and policy agencies, like the Canadian Government, the World Bank, the European Union, the British Government, and the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development.
I produced a report in 2008 for the World Economic Forum on management practices in private equity for which I received an honorarium.
I occasionally am a paid speaker at corporate events at which I discuss among other things management practices.
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