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Business Cycles in History

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  • Spree, Reinhard

Abstract

This paper is a thoroughly revised and extended version of an article firstly published in the anthology "Moderne Wirtschaftsgeschichte" (München: Oldenbourg) in 1996. This book is an introduction to modern economic history for historians and economists. Accordingly this paper has to two objectives: Firstly, it presents economic theory explaining business cycles to historians. Secondly, for economists it illustrates both the possibilities and problems to detect and understand business cycles in the past. The paper is organised as follows: Section 1 sets the scene. It describes the approach of business cycles and provides a number of essential definitions. The next section shortly illustrates business cycles in the past 200 years in Germany (2). Section 3 deals with business cycle theory. To start with, it highlights the long tradition of theories that have sought to explain business cycles (3.1). Secondly it explains the "standard paradigm" (3.2). Thirdly it reviews the latest developments in business cycle theory (3.3). Section 4 discusses the application of business cycle theory in historical research. The last section deals with open questions and unsolved problems from a historian's point of view.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Munich, Department of Economics in its series Discussion Papers in Economics with number 6.

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Date of creation: Mar 2002
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Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenec:6

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  1. Christina D. Romer, 1999. "Changes in Business Cycles: Evidence and Explanations," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(2), pages 23-44, Spring.
  2. Lucas, Robert E., 1977. "Understanding business cycles," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 7-29, January.
  3. Martin Eichenbaum, 1990. "Real Business Cycle Theory: Wisdom or Whimsy?," NBER Working Papers 3432, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1982. "Time to Build and Aggregate Fluctuations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1345-70, November.
  5. Plosser, C.I., 1989. "Understanding Real Business Cycles," Papers 89-03, Rochester, Business - General.
  6. Susanto Basu & Alan M. Taylor, 1999. "Business Cycles in International Historical Perspective," NBER Working Papers 7090, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Ramser, Hans Jürgen, 1981. "Stand und Entwicklungsperspektiven der Konjunkturtheorie," Discussion Papers, Series 1 158, University of Konstanz, Department of Economics.
  8. Long, John B, Jr & Plosser, Charles I, 1983. "Real Business Cycles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(1), pages 39-69, February.
  9. Peter Brandner & Klaus Neusser, 1992. "Business cycles in open economies: Stylized facts for Austria and Germany," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 128(1), pages 67-87, March.
  10. J. Bradford De Long, 1999. "Introduction to the Symposium on Business Cycles," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(2), pages 19-22, Spring.
  11. Gary Gorton, 1986. "Banking panics and business cycles," Working Papers 86-9, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  12. George W. Stadler, 1994. "Real Business Cycles," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 32(4), pages 1750-1783, December.
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