Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

Business Cycle Durations and Postwar Stabilization of the U.S. Economy

Contents:

Author Info

  • Mark W. Watson

Abstract

The average length of business cycle contractions in the United States fell from 20.5 months in the prewar period to 10.7 months in the postwar period. Similarly, the average length of business cycle expansions rose from 25.3 months in the prewar period to 49.9 months in the postwar period. This paper investigates three explanations for this apparent duration stabilization. The first explanation is that shocks to the economy have been smaller in the postwar period. This implies that duration stabilization should be present in both aggregate and sectoral output data. The second explanation is that the composition of output has shifted from sectors that are very cyclical, like manufacturing, to sectors that are less cyclical, like services. This would lead to increased stability in aggregate output even in the absence of increased stability in the individual sectors. The third explanation is that the apparent stabilization is largely spurious, and is caused by differences in the way that prewar and postwar business cycle reference dates were chosen by the NBER. The evidence presented in this paper favors this third explanation.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w4005.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4005.

as in new window
Length:
Date of creation: Mar 1992
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as American Economic Review, March 1994
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4005

Note: EFG ME
Contact details of provider:
Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Phone: 617-868-3900
Email:
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords:

Other versions of this item:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Robert G. King & Charles I. Plosser, 1989. "Real business cycles and the test of the Adelmans," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  2. 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.
  3. Gerhard Bry & Charlotte Boschan, 1971. "Cyclical Analysis of Time Series: Selected Procedures and Computer Programs," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number bry_71-1.
  4. Wesley Clair Mitchell, 1927. "Business Cycles: The Problem and Its Setting," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number mitc27-1.
  5. Francis X. Diebold & Glenn D. Rudebusch, 1991. "Have postwar economic fluctuations been stabilized?," Working Paper Series / Economic Activity Section 116, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  6. Martin Neil Baily, 1978. "Stabilization Policy and Private Economic Behavior," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 9(1), pages 11-60.
  7. J. Bradford De Long & Lawrence H. Summers, 1984. "The Changing Cyclical Variability of Economic Activity in the United States," NBER Working Papers 1450, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Robert J. Gordon, 1986. "The American Business Cycle: Continuity and Change," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gord86-1.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Another Global Warming Uh-Oh
    by Dave in voluntaryXchange on 2007-11-29 17:52:00
Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4005. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.