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A Cross Country Comparison of Seasonal Cycles and Business Cycles

  • Beaulieu, J Joseph
  • Miron, Jeffrey A

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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Article provided by Royal Economic Society in its journal The Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 102 (1992)
Issue (Month): 413 (July)
Pages: 772-88

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Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:102:y:1992:i:413:p:772-88
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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. repec:fth:harver:1531 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Kahn, J.A., 1990. "The Seasonal And Cyclical Behavior Of Inventories," RCER Working Papers 223, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  5. N. Gregory Mankiw & Jeffrey A. Miron, 1990. "Should The Fed Smooth Interest Rates? The Case of Seasonal Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 3388, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. 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.
  7. Osborn, Denise R., 1990. "A survey of seasonality in UK macroeconomic variables," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 327-336, October.
  8. Plosser, Charles I., 1979. "The analysis of seasonal economic models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 147-163, June.
  9. Barsky, Robert B & Miron, Jeffrey A, 1989. "The Seasonal Cycle and the Business Cycle," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(3), pages 503-34, June.
  10. Jeffrey A. Miron, 1996. "The Economics of Seasonal Cycles," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262133237, June.
  11. Hylleberg, S. & Engle, R.F. & Granger, C.W.J. & Yoo, B.S., 1988. "Seasonal, Integration And Cointegration," Papers 6-88-2, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
  12. Olivier J. Blanchard, 1982. "The Production and Inventory Behavior of the American Automobile Industry," NBER Working Papers 0891, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Edward C. Prescott, 1986. "Theory ahead of business cycle measurement," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Fall, pages 9-22.
  14. Spencer Krane & Steven Braun, 1990. "Production smoothing evidence from physical-product data," Working Paper Series / Economic Activity Section 103, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  15. West, Kenneth D., 1990. "Evidence from seven countries on whether inventories smooth aggregate output," Engineering Costs and Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1-3), pages 85-90, May.
  16. Eichenbaum, Martin, 1989. "Some Empirical Evidence on the Production Level and Production Cost Smoothing Models of Inventory Investment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 853-64, September.
  17. 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.
  18. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1972. "Expectations and the neutrality of money," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 103-124, April.
  19. Ray C. Fair, 1990. "The Production Smoothing Model is Alive and Well," NBER Working Papers 2877, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
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