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Are Business Cycles All Alike?

In: The American Business Cycle: Continuity and Change

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  • Olivier J. Blanchard
  • Mark W. Watson

Abstract

This paper examines two questions. The first is whether economic fluctuations-business cycles-are due to an accumulation of nall shocks or instead mostly to infrequent large shocks. The paper concludes that neither of these two extreme views accurately characterize fluctuations. The second question is whether fluctuations are due mostly to one source of shocks, for example monetary, or instead to many sources. The paper concludes that evidence strongly supports the hypothesis of many, about equally important, sources of shocks.To analyze the empirical evidence and to reach these conclusions, the paper uses two different statistical approaches. The first is estimation ofa structural model, using a set of just identifying restrictions. The secondis non-structural and may be described as a formalization of the Burns Mitchell techniques. Both approaches are somewhat novel and should be of independent interest.

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This chapter was published in:

  • Robert J. Gordon, 1986. "The American Business Cycle: Continuity and Change," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gord86-1.
    This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 10021.

    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:10021

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    1. Fumio Hayashi, 1979. "The Permanent Income Hypothesis: Estimation and Testing," Discussion Papers 484, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
    2. Blanchard, Olivier J, 1985. "Debt, Deficits, and Finite Horizons," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(2), pages 223-47, April.
    3. Brunner, Karl & Meltzer, Allan H., 1978. "The problem of inflation," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 1-15, January.
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