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Over the last two decades US aggregate wealth has fluctuated substantially. Against the backdrop of the Great Recession, the effects of these boom-and-bust cycles have come to dominate academic and policy discussions. How can we explain these fluctuations in wealth? Why are these fluctuations
associated with changes in consumption, investment and output? In this note, we argue that answers to these questions entail the addition of two ingredients to existent macroeconomic models: rational bubbles and financial frictions. We explain why each of these building blocks is crucial to
understand recent events and how they can be seamlessly integrated in standard models.
The American Economic Review is a general-interest economics journal. The journal is published quarterly and contains articles on a broad range of topics. Established in 1911, the AER is among the nation's oldest and most respected scholarly journals in the economics profession.