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Historical evidence on business cycles: the international experience

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  • U. Michael Bergman
  • Michael D. Bordo
  • Lars Jonung

Abstract

This paper examines the characteristics of business cycles within and across thirteen countries for more than a century of observations adopting a monetary regime perspective. We search for empirical regularities of business cycle fluctuations during three monetary regimes; the classical gold standard, the interwar period and the post-World War II period. Our empirical results, based on bandpass filtered data, suggest that business cycle fluctuations have remained surprisingly stable across monetary regimes and across countries. In particular, the procyclical pattern for consumption, investment, exports and imports is stable across regimes and countries. We find a rise in the frequency of significant cyclical comovements across countries, possibly reflecting a recent rise in economic integration. Our evidence suggests that both the amplitude and the symmetry of business cycles have changed over time. The post-World War II period is marginally less volatile than the gold standard period while the interwar period is more volatile.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Boston in its journal Conference Series ; [Proceedings].

Volume (Year): 42 (1998)
Issue (Month): Jun ()
Pages: 65-119

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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedbcp:y:1998:i:jun:p:65-119:n:42

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Keywords: Gross domestic product ; Business cycles;

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References

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  1. Michael D. Bordo, 1984. "The Gold Standard: The Traditional Approach," NBER Chapters, in: A Retrospective on the Classical Gold Standard, 1821-1931, pages 23-120 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Michael D. Bordo, 1993. "The gold standard, Bretton Woods and other monetary regimes: a historical appraisal," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Mar, pages 123-191.
  3. Lucas, Robert E., 1977. "Understanding business cycles," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 7-29, January.
  4. Peter Temin, 1991. "Lessons from the Great Depression," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262700441, December.
  5. Baxter, M. & Stockman, A.C., 1988. "Business Cycles And The Exchange Rate System: Some International Evidence," RCER Working Papers 140, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  6. Kevin H. O'Rourke & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2001. "Globalization and History: The Evolution of a Nineteenth-Century Atlantic Economy," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262650592, December.
  7. Neftci, Salih N, 1984. "Are Economic Time Series Asymmetric over the Business Cycle?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(2), pages 307-28, April.
  8. Falk, Barry L., 1986. "Further Evidence on the Asymmetric Behavior of Economic Time Series over the Business Cycle," Staff General Research Papers 11097, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  9. Choudhri, Ehsan U & Kochin, Levis A, 1980. "The Exchange Rate and the International Transmission of Business Cycle Disturbances: Some Evidence from the Great Depression," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 12(4), pages 565-74, November.
  10. Marianne Baxter & Robert G. King, 1995. "Measuring Business Cycles Approximate Band-Pass Filters for Economic Time Series," NBER Working Papers 5022, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Tamim Bayoumi & Barry Eichengreen, 1992. "Shocking Aspects of European Monetary Unification," NBER Working Papers 3949, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Finn E. Kydland & Edward C. Prescott, 1990. "Business cycles: real facts and a monetary myth," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Spr, pages 3-18.
  13. Willard Long Thorp, 1926. "Business Annals," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number thor26-1.
  14. Stock, James H, 1987. "Measuring Business Cycle Time," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(6), pages 1240-61, December.
  15. J. Bradford DeLong & Lawrence H. Summers, 1986. "The Changing Cyclical Variability of Economic Activity in the United States," NBER Chapters, in: The American Business Cycle: Continuity and Change, pages 679-734 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Stock, James H., 1987. "Measuring Business Cycle Time," Scholarly Articles 3425950, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  17. Michael D. Bordo & Barry Eichengreen, 1998. "The Rise and Fall of a Barbarous Relic: The Role of Gold in the International Monetary SYstem," NBER Working Papers 6436, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Stock, James H. & Watson, Mark W., 1999. "Business cycle fluctuations in us macroeconomic time series," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 1, pages 3-64 Elsevier.
  19. Daniel, Betty C., 1997. "International interdependence of national growth rates: A structural trends anakysis," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 73-96, September.
  20. Baxter, Marianne & Stockman, Alan C., 1989. "Business cycles and the exchange-rate regime : Some international evidence," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 377-400, May.
  21. Bordo, Michael D. & Schwartz, Anna J., 1999. "Monetary policy regimes and economic performance: The historical record," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 3, pages 149-234 Elsevier.
  22. Bordo Michael D. & Kydland Finn E., 1995. "The Gold Standard As a Rule: An Essay in Exploration," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 423-464, October.
  23. Balke, Nathan S & Gordon, Robert J, 1989. "The Estimation of Prewar Gross National Product: Methodology and New Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(1), pages 38-92, February.
  24. Hamilton, James D, 1989. "A New Approach to the Economic Analysis of Nonstationary Time Series and the Business Cycle," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 357-84, March.
  25. Bordo, Michael D. & Jonung, Lars, 2000. "A Return to the Convertibility Principle? Monetary And Fiscal Regimes in Historical Perspective," Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 415, Stockholm School of Economics.
  26. Sheffrin, Steven M., 1988. "Have economic fluctuations been dampened? : A look at evidence outside the United States," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 73-83, January.
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