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A Cross Country Comparison of Seasonal Cycles and Business Cycles

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  • J. Joseph Beaulieu
  • Jeffrey A. Miron

Abstract

In a recent paper Barsky and Miron (1989) examine the seasonal fluctuations in the U. S. economy. They show that the key stylized facts about the business cycle characterize the seasonal cycle as well, and they suggest that the interpretation of many of these stylized facts over the seasonal cycle is easier than interpretation over the business cycle. The reason is that the ultimate sources of seasonal cycles are more readily identifiable than those of business cycles. This paper uses the cross country variation in seasonal patterns to pin down the ultimate sources of seasonal variation more precisely than is possible from examination of U.S. data alone. We conclude that a Christmas shift in preferences and synergies across agents are the key determinants of the seasonal patterns around the world. The paper also establishes that, across developed countries, the key observations about aggregate variables that characterize the business cycle also characterize the seasonal cycle. Thus, the similarity of the seasonal cycle and the business cycle demonstrated by Barsky and Miron (1989) for the united states is a robust stylized fact.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 3459.

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Date of creation: Oct 1990
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Publication status: published as The Economic Journal, vol. 102, no. 413, p. 772-788, (July 1992).
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3459

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  1. Danny Quah & Jeffrey M. Wooldridge, 1988. "A Common Error in the Treatment of Trending Time Series," Working papers 483, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  2. Kenneth D. West, 1988. "Evidence From Seven Countries on Whether Inventories Smooth Aggregate Output," NBER Working Papers 2664, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Newey, Whitney K & West, Kenneth D, 1987. "A Simple, Positive Semi-definite, Heteroskedasticity and Autocorrelation Consistent Covariance Matrix," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(3), pages 703-08, May.
  4. Hylleberg, S. & Engle, R. F. & Granger, C. W. J. & Yoo, B. S., 1990. "Seasonal integration and cointegration," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 44(1-2), pages 215-238.
  5. Mankiw, N Gregory & Summers, Lawrence H, 1986. "Money Demand and the Effects of Fiscal Policies," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 18(4), pages 415-29, November.
  6. J. Joseph Beaulieu & Jeffrey K. MacKie-Mason & Jeffrey A. Miron, 1991. "Why Do Countries and Industries with Large Seasonal Cycles Also Have Large Business Cycles?," NBER Working Papers 3635, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Mankiw, N. Gregory & Miron, Jeffrey A., 1991. "Should the fed smooth interest rates? the case of seasonal monetary policy," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 41-69, January.
  8. Ray C. Fair, 1990. "The Production Smoothing Model is Alive and Well," NBER Working Papers 2877, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Jeffrey A. Miron & Stephen P. Zeldes, 1988. "Production, Sales, and the Change in Inventories: An Identity That Doesn`t Add Up," NBER Working Papers 2765, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Martin S. Eichenbaum, 1988. "Some Empirical Evidence on the Production Level and Production Cost Smoothing Models of Inventory Investment," NBER Working Papers 2523, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Jeffrey A. Miron, 1996. "The Economics of Seasonal Cycles," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262133237, December.
  12. Blanchard, Olivier J, 1983. "The Production and Inventory Behavior of the American Automobile Industry," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(3), pages 365-400, June.
  13. Kahn, J.A., 1990. "The Seasonal And Cyclical Behavior Of Inventories," RCER Working Papers 223, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  14. Plosser, Charles I., 1979. "The analysis of seasonal economic models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 147-163, June.
  15. Prescott, Edward C., 1986. "Theory ahead of business-cycle measurement," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 11-44, January.
  16. Robert B. Barsky & Jeffrey A. Miron, 1988. "The Seasonal Cycle and the Business Cycle," NBER Working Papers 2688, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1972. "Expectations and the neutrality of money," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 103-124, April.
  18. Ghysels, E., 1986. "A Study Towards a Dynamic Theory of Seasonality for Economic Time Series," Cahiers de recherche 8612, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
  19. Krane, Spencer D & Braun, Stephen N, 1991. "Production Smoothing Evidence from Physical-Product Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(3), pages 558-81, June.
  20. Osborn, Denise R., 1990. "A survey of seasonality in UK macroeconomic variables," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 327-336, October.
  21. King, Robert G & Plosser, Charles I, 1984. "Money, Credit, and Prices in a Real Business Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 363-80, June.
  22. repec:fth:harver:1531 is not listed on IDEAS
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