The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
Using unobserved stochastic components and Kalman filter techniques, the paper assesses the relative importance of transitory and permanent shifts in Italian real GDP within a production function framework. Evidence suggests that the increase in hours worked that has accompanied pension and labor market reforms accounts for the bulk of low-frequency variation in growth, but points to factor utilization as the main driver of business cycle fluctuations. In contrast with the predictions of standard Real Business Cycle models, a positive shock to the underlying rate of total factor productivity growth generates a slight decline in hours, whereas the response of output to the same shock is found to be positive.