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International business cycles: theory vs. evidence

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  • David K. Backus
  • Patrick J. Kehoe
  • Finn E. Kydland

Abstract

This article reviews recent work comparing properties of international business cycles with those of dynamic general equilibrium models. Two discrepancies between theory and data are described. One concerns the correlation across countries of fluctuations in consumption, output, and productivity: in the data, the output correlation is generally the largest; in theoretical economies, however, for a wide range of parameter values, the consumption correlation is the largest. The other discrepancy concerns relative price movements: the standard deviation of the terms of trade is considerably larger in the data than in theoretical economies. Also described here are several changes in theoretical structure that researchers have attempted, without success, to bring the theory and the data closer together. This article is a revision of a chapter prepared for a forthcoming book, Frontiers of Business Cycle Research, edited by Thomas F. Cooley, to be published by Princeton University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • David K. Backus & Patrick J. Kehoe & Finn E. Kydland, 1993. "International business cycles: theory vs. evidence," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Fall, pages 14-29.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmqr:y:1993:i:fall:p:14-29:n:v.17no.4
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    3. Backus, David K & Kehoe, Patrick J & Kydland, Finn E, 1994. "Dynamics of the Trade Balance and the Terms of Trade: The J-Curve?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 84-103, March.
    4. Backus, David K & Kehoe, Patrick J & Kydland, Finn E, 1992. "International Real Business Cycles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(4), pages 745-775, August.
    5. Giovannini, Alberto, 1988. "Exchange rates and traded goods prices," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(1-2), pages 45-68, February.
    6. David Backus & Patrick Kehoe & Finn Kydland, 1992. "Dynamics of the trade balance and the terms of trade: the J-curve revisited," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 65, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
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    19. Conze, Antoine & Lasry, Jean Michel & Scheinkman, Jose, 1993. "2. Borrowing Constraints and International Comovements," Hitotsubashi Journal of Economics, Hitotsubashi University, vol. 34(Special I), pages 23-47, December.
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    Keywords

    Business cycles ; International finance;

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