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Short and Long Run Uncertainty

Aug 2017
Working Paper
17-020
By  Jose Maria Barrero, Nicholas Bloom, Ian Wright
Uncertainty appears to have both a short-run and a long-run component, which we
measure using rm and macro implied volatility data from options of 30 days to 10
years duration. We ask what may be driving uncertainty over these dierent time hori-
zons, nding that oil price volatility is particularly important for short-run uncertainty,
policy uncertainty is particularly important for long-run uncertainty, while currency
volatility and CEO turnover appear to equally impact short- and long-run uncertainty.
Examining a panel of over 4,000 rms from 1996 to 2013 we nd that R&D is relatively
more sensitive to long-run uncertainty than investment, and in turn investment is rel-
atively more sensitive to long-run uncertainty than hiring. In a simulation model we
investigate the channels underlying this pecking-order response to long-run uncertainty,
and show that lower depreciation rates and higher adjustment costs lead R&D and in-
vestment to be more sensitive to longer-run uncertainty than hiring. Collectively, these
results suggest that recent events that have raised long-run policy uncertainty may be
particularly damaging to growth by reducing R&D and investment.
Publication Keywords: 
Uncertainty
Investment
Employment
R&D