IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Are output growth-rate distributions fat-tailed? some evidence from OECD countries

  • Giorgio Fagiolo

    (Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy)

  • Mauro Napoletano
  • Andrea Roventini

This work explores some distributional properties of aggregate output growth-rate time series. We show that, in the majority of OECD countries, output growth-rate distributions are well approximated by symmetric exponential power densities with tails much fatter than those of a Gaussian (but with finite moments of any order). Fat tails robustly emerge in output growth rates independently of: (i) the way we measure aggregate output; (ii) the family of densities employed in the estimation; (iii) the length of time lags used to compute growth rates. We also show that fat tails still characterize output growth-rate distributions even after one washes away outliers, autocorrelation and heteroscedasticity. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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:
File Function: Link to full text; subscription required
Download Restriction: no

File URL:
File Function: Supporting data files and programs
Download Restriction: no

Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Journal of Applied Econometrics.

Volume (Year): 23 (2008)
Issue (Month): 5 ()
Pages: 639-669

in new window

Handle: RePEc:jae:japmet:v:23:y:2008:i:5:p:639-669
Contact details of provider: Web page:

Order Information: Web: Email:

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. Dan Ben-David & Robin L. Lumsdaine & David H. Papell, 2003. "Unit roots, postwar slowdowns and long-run growth: Evidence from two structural breaks," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 28(2), pages 303-319, 04.
  2. Giulio Bottazzi & Angelo Secchi, 2006. "Explaining the distribution of firm growth rates," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 37(2), pages 235-256, 06.
  3. Murray, Christian J. & Nelson, Charles R., 2000. "The uncertain trend in U.S. GDP," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 79-95, August.
  4. Giulio Bottazzi & Angelo Secchi, 2003. "Common Properties and Sectoral Specificities in the Dynamics of U.S. Manufacturing Companies," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer, vol. 23(3), pages 217-232, December.
  5. Zaman, Asad & Rousseeuw, Peter J. & Orhan, Mehmet, 2000. "Econometric applications of high-breakdown robust regression techniques," MPRA Paper 41529, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Cochrane, John H, 1988. "How Big Is the Random Walk in GNP?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(5), pages 893-920, October.
  7. Durlauf,S.N. & Johnson,P.A. & Temple,J.R.W., 2004. "Growth econometrics," Working papers 18, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
    • Durlauf, Steven N. & Johnson, Paul A. & Temple, Jonathan R.W., 2005. "Growth Econometrics," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 8, pages 555-677 Elsevier.
  8. Giulio Bottazzi & Alex Coad & Nadia Jacoby & Angelo Secchi, 2005. "Corporate growth and industrial dynamics: evidence from french manufacturing," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) hal-00261616, HAL.
  9. Jovanovic, Boyan & Rob, Rafael, 1987. "Demand-Driven Innovation and Spatial Competition over Time," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(1), pages 63-72, January.
  10. Potter, Simon M, 1995. "A Nonlinear Approach to US GNP," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 10(2), pages 109-25, April-Jun.
  11. Clarida, Richard & Galí, Jordi & Gertler, Mark, 1999. "The Science of Monetary Policy: A New Keynesian Perspective," CEPR Discussion Papers 2139, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Drees, Holger & Kaufmann, Edgar, 1998. "Selecting the optimal sample fraction in univariate extreme value estimation," Stochastic Processes and their Applications, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 149-172, July.
  13. Giulio Bottazzi & Angelo Secchi, 2003. "Sectoral Specifities in the Dynamics of U.S. Manufacturing Firms," LEM Papers Series 2003/18, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  14. Olivier Blanchard & John Simon, 2001. "The Long and Large Decline in U.S. Output Volatility," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 32(1), pages 135-174.
  15. Potter, Simon M, 1999. " Nonlinear Time Series Modelling: An Introduction," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(5), pages 505-28, December.
  16. Sandro Sapio & Grid Thoma, 2006. "The Growth of Industrial Sectors: Theoretical Insights and Empirical Evidence from U.S. Manufacturing," LEM Papers Series 2006/09, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  17. Edoardo Gaffeo & Marco Gallegati & Mauro Gallegati, 2005. "Requiem for the unit root in per capita real GDP? Additional evidence from historical data," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 30(1), pages 37-63, January.
  18. Balke, Nathan S. & Fomby, Thomas B., 1991. "Shifting trends, segmented trends, and infrequent permanent shocks," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 61-85, August.
  19. Robert G. King & Sergio T. Rebelo, 2000. "Resuscitating Real Business Cycles," RCER Working Papers 467, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  20. Chang-Jin Kim & Charles R. Nelson & Jeremy M. Piger, 2003. "The less volatile U.S. economy: a Bayesian investigation of timing, breadth, and potential explanations," Working Papers 2001-016, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  21. McKay, Alisdair & Reis, Ricardo, 2008. "The brevity and violence of contractions and expansions," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 738-751, May.
  22. Steven N. Durlauf, 1991. "Nonergodic Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 3719, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Fu, Dongfeng & Pammolli, Fabio & Buldyrev, Sergey V. & Riccaboni, Massimo & Matia, Kaushik & Yamasaki, Kazuko & Stanley, H. Eugene, 2005. "The Growth of Business Firms: Theoretical Framework and Empirical Evidence," MPRA Paper 15905, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  24. Bottazzi, Giulio & Secchi, Angelo, 2003. "Why are distributions of firm growth rates tent-shaped?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 80(3), pages 415-420, September.
  25. Hamilton, James D, 1989. "A New Approach to the Economic Analysis of Nonstationary Time Series and the Business Cycle," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 357-84, March.
  26. Jonathan R. W. Temple, 1998. "Robustness tests of the augmented Solow model," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(4), pages 361-375.
  27. Stock, James H. & Watson, Mark W., 1999. "Business cycle fluctuations in us macroeconomic time series," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 1, pages 3-64 Elsevier.
  28. Brock, W A, 1999. "Scaling in Economics: A Reader's Guide," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 8(3), pages 409-46, September.
  29. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 2003. "Has the Business Cycle Changed and Why?," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2002, Volume 17, pages 159-230 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  30. Nunes Amaral, Luís A & Buldyrev, Sergey V & Havlin, Shlomo & Maass, Philipp & Salinger, Michael A & Eugene Stanley, H & Stanley, Michael H.R, 1997. "Scaling behavior in economics: The problem of quantifying company growth," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 244(1), pages 1-24.
  31. Lux, T., . "The Limiting Extremal Behaviour of Speculative Returns: An Analysis of Intra-Daily Data from the Frankfurt Stock Exchange," Discussion Paper Serie B 436, University of Bonn, Germany, revised Jul 1998.
  32. John Sutton, 1997. "Gibrat's Legacy," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(1), pages 40-59, March.
  33. Cochrane, John H, 1994. "Permanent and Transitory Components of GNP and Stock Prices," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(1), pages 241-65, February.
  34. Giulio Bottazzi & Angelo Secchi, 2006. "Maximum Likelihood Estimation of the Symmetric and Asymmetric Exponential Power Distribution," LEM Papers Series 2006/19, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  35. Temple, Jonathan, 2000. "Growth Regressions and What the Textbooks Don't Tell You," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(3), pages 181-205, July.
  36. Michael Horvath, 1998. "Cyclicality and Sectoral Linkages: Aggregate Fluctuations from Independent Sectoral Shocks," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 1(4), pages 781-808, October.
  37. Carolina Castaldi & Giovanni Dosi, 2004. "Income Levels and Income Growth. Some New Cross-Country Evidence and Some Interpretative Puzzles," LEM Papers Series 2004/18, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  38. Glenn D. Rudebusch, 1992. "The uncertain unit root in real GNP," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 193, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  39. Schmalensee, Richard, 1984. "Gaussian Demand and Commodity Bundling," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 57(1), pages S211-30, January.
  40. Canova, Fabio, 1993. "Detrending and Business Cycle Facts," CEPR Discussion Papers 782, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  41. Silva, A. Christian & Prange, Richard E. & Yakovenko, Victor M., 2004. "Exponential distribution of financial returns at mesoscopic time lags: a new stylized fact," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 344(1), pages 227-235.
  42. Canning, D. & Amaral, L. A. N. & Lee, Y. & Meyer, M. & Stanley, H. E., 1998. "Scaling the volatility of GDP growth rates," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 60(3), pages 335-341, September.
  43. A. Christian Silva & Richard E. Prange & Victor M. Yakovenko, 2004. "Exponential distribution of financial returns at mesoscopic time lags: a new stylized fact," Papers cond-mat/0401225,, revised Jul 2004.
  44. Nelson, Charles R. & Plosser, Charles I., 1982. "Trends and random walks in macroeconmic time series : Some evidence and implications," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 139-162.
  45. Canova, Fabio, 1998. "Detrending and business cycle facts: A user's guide," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 533-540, May.
  46. Giulio Bottazzi, 2004. "Subbotools User's Manual," LEM Papers Series 2004/14, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  47. Loretan, M. & Phillips, P.C.B., 1992. "Testing the Covariance Stationarity of Heavy-Tailed Time Series: An Overview of the Theory with Applications to Several Financial Datasets," Working papers 9208, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  48. Brock, William A. & Sayers, Chera L., 1988. "Is the business cycle characterized by deterministic chaos?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 71-90, July.
  49. Youngki Lee & Luis A. N. Amaral & David Canning & Martin Meyer & H. Eugene Stanley, 1998. "Universal features in the growth dynamics of complex organizations," Papers cond-mat/9804100,
  50. Scheinkman, Jose A & Woodford, Michael, 1994. "Self-Organized Criticality and Economic Fluctuations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 417-21, May.
  51. Forni, Mario & Lippi, Marco, 1999. "Aggregation of linear dynamic microeconomic models," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 131-158, February.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is featured on the following reading lists or Wikipedia pages:

  1. Are output growth-rate distributions fat-tailed? some evidence from OECD countries (JAE 2008) in ReplicationWiki

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:jae:japmet:v:23:y:2008:i:5:p:639-669. 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: (Wiley-Blackwell Digital Licensing)

or (Christopher F. Baum)

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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.