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Evaluating non-structural measures of the business cycle

  • Timothy Cogley

This paper evaluates a number of non-structural measures of the business cycle. It adopts a structural definition of the cycle, interprets non-structural measures as noisy approximations, and seeks a proxy that is reliable across a variety of plausible trend-cycle structures. The results favor a consumption-based measure proposed by Cochrane (1994). Across a variety of structures, it has the highest correlation and coherence with structural cycles, and best matches their dynamic properties. When applied to U.S. data, consumption-based measures conform closely to the dates of NBER recessions. They also yield a strong negative correlation between the cyclical components of productivity and hours, a fact that deepens the challenge to models which emphasize technology shocks as the primary source of business cycles.

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File URL: http://www.frbsf.org/econrsrch/econrev/97-3/3-21.pdf
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Article provided by Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco in its journal Economic Review.

Volume (Year): (1997)
Issue (Month): ()
Pages: 3-21

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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedfer:y:1997:p:3-21:n:3
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  1. Robert J. Hodrick & Edward Prescott, 1981. "Post-War U.S. Business Cycles: An Empirical Investigation," Discussion Papers 451, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  2. Romer, Christina D., 1994. "Remeasuring Business Cycles," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 54(03), pages 573-609, September.
  3. George Evans & Lucrezia Reichlin, 1994. "Information, forecasts and measurement of the business cycle," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/10155, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  4. Arthur F. Burns & Wesley C. Mitchell, 1946. "Measuring Business Cycles," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number burn46-1.
  5. Lawrence J. Christiano, 1988. "Searching For a Break in GNP," NBER Working Papers 2695, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Marianne Baxter & Robert G. King, 1999. "Measuring Business Cycles: Approximate Band-Pass Filters For Economic Time Series," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(4), pages 575-593, November.
  7. Robert J. Gordon, 1980. "The "End-of-Expansion" Phenomenon in Short-run Productivity Behavior," NBER Working Papers 0427, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Francis X. Diebold & Glenn D. Rudebusch, 1988. "A nonparametric investigation of duration dependence in the American business cycle," Working Paper Series / Economic Activity Section 90, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  9. 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.
  10. Jon Faust & Eric M. Leeper, 1994. "When do long-run identifying restrictions give reliable results?," International Finance Discussion Papers 462, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  11. Danny Quah, 1991. "The Relative Importance of Permanent and Transitory Components: Identification and Some Theoretical Bounds," FMG Discussion Papers dp126, Financial Markets Group.
  12. Nelson, Charles R & Kang, Heejoon, 1981. "Spurious Periodicity in Inappropriately Detrended Time Series," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(3), pages 741-51, May.
  13. Perron, P, 1988. "The Great Crash, The Oil Price Shock And The Unit Root Hypothesis," Papers 338, Princeton, Department of Economics - Econometric Research Program.
  14. Meghir, Costas & Weber, Guglielmo, 1996. "Intertemporal Nonseparability or Borrowing Restrictions? A Disaggregate Analysis Using a U.S. Consumption Panel," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(5), pages 1151-81, September.
  15. Marco Lippi & Lucrezia Reichlin, 1994. "Diffusion of Technical Change and the Decomposition of Output into Trend and Cycle," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 61(1), pages 19-30.
  16. Craig Burnside & Martin Eichenbaum & Sergio Rebelo, 1990. "Labor Hoarding and the Business Cycle," NBER Working Papers 3556, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. John H. Cochrane, 1994. "Permanent and Transitory Components of GNP and Stock Prices," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(1), pages 241-265.
  18. Cogley, T., 1989. "International Evidence On The Size Of The Random Walk In Output," Working Papers 89-02, University of Washington, Department of Economics.
  19. Shea, John, 1995. "Union Contracts and the Life-Cycle/Permanent-Income Hypothesis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 186-200, March.
  20. King, Robert G. & Rebelo, Sergio T., 1993. "Low frequency filtering and real business cycles," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 17(1-2), pages 207-231.
  21. Beveridge, Stephen & Nelson, Charles R., 1981. "A new approach to decomposition of economic time series into permanent and transitory components with particular attention to measurement of the `business cycle'," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 151-174.
  22. Harvey, A C & Jaeger, A, 1993. "Detrending, Stylized Facts and the Business Cycle," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 8(3), pages 231-47, July-Sept.
  23. Attanasio, Orazio P & Weber, Guglielmo, 1995. "Is Consumption Growth Consistent with Intertemporal Optimization? Evidence from the Consumer Expenditure Survey," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(6), pages 1121-57, December.
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