A neoclassical perspective on Switzerland's 1990s stagnation

December 8, 2020
Issue 2020-22


We study Switzerland's weak growth during the 1990s through the lens of the business cycle accounting framework of Chari, Kehoe, and McGrattan (2007). Our main result is that weak productivity growth cannot account for the stagnation experienced during that time. Rather, the stagnation is explained by factors that made labour and investment expensive. We show that increased labour income taxes and financial frictions are plausible causes. Holding these factors constant, the counterfactual annualized real output growth over the 1992Q2-1996Q4 period is 1.93% compared to realized growth of 0.35%.

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JEL classification:
E13, E20, E32, E65
Business cycle accounting, housing crises, stagnation, Switzerland

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