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Business Cycle Volatility in Developed Market Economies, 1870-1986: Revisions and Conjectures


  • Morris Altman

    (University of Saskatchewan)


Alternative estimates for the volatility of pre-depression and post-World War II Canadian business cycles are constructed using various real Canadian GNP series. These estimates all suggest that the latter period was prone to much less cyclical volatility than the pre-depression years. With few exceptions, similar results are obtained from volatility estimates produced for thirteen other now-developed nations, including the United States. These findings provide evidential support for the traditional view that there was a considerable dampening of the business cycle in the years following World War II period compared to the pre-depression period.

Suggested Citation

  • Morris Altman, 1992. "Business Cycle Volatility in Developed Market Economies, 1870-1986: Revisions and Conjectures," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 18(3), pages 259-275, Summer.
  • Handle: RePEc:eej:eeconj:v:18:y:1992:i:3:p:259-275

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. McCloskey, Donald N, 1983. "The Rhetoric of Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 481-517, June.
    2. J. Bradford DeLong & Lawrence H. Summers, 1986. "The Changing Cyclical Variability of Economic Activity in the United States," NBER Chapters,in: The American Business Cycle: Continuity and Change, pages 679-734 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Boltho, Andrea, 1989. "Did policy activism work?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(9), pages 1709-1726, December.
    4. 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.
    5. Romer, Christina D, 1986. "Is the Stabilization of the Postwar Economy a Figment of the Data?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 314-334, June.
    6. Newey, Whitney & West, Kenneth, 2014. "A simple, positive semi-definite, heteroscedasticity and autocorrelation consistent covariance matrix," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 33(1), pages 125-132.
    7. Finn E. Kydland & Edward C. Prescott, 1990. "Business cycles: real facts and a monetary myth," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Spr, pages 3-18.
    8. Sheffrin, Steven M., 1988. "Have economic fluctuations been dampened? : A look at evidence outside the United States," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 73-83, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Nabil ALIMI, 2016. "The Effect Of Economic Freedom On Business Cycle Volatility: Case Of Developing Countries," Region et Developpement, Region et Developpement, LEAD, Universite du Sud - Toulon Var, vol. 43, pages 139-158.
    2. Afonso, António & Furceri, Davide, 2010. "Government size, composition, volatility and economic growth," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 517-532, December.

    More about this item


    Business Cycles; Cycle; Depression; GNP;

    JEL classification:

    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • N10 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - General, International, or Comparative


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