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The Great Moderation and the New Business Cycle

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  • Ann Spehar

Abstract

There is a new approach to modeling business cycles that is gaining acceptance. It appears that there is good evidence that this approach may have a great deal to offer in understanding the causes and processes of major economic business cycles associated with financial crisis. This paper does not intend to define a mathematical model but instead describes the ideas and theories behind this new approach. In addition, this paper addresses a few of the unique challenges officials within the United States face with the current global crisis. The new approach has at its core the belief that the structure of our current economy, as well as many European economies, has changed significantly. Starting around 1983-1985 a structural break occurred that resulted in a period where changes in GDP, consumption and inflation ceased to experience high volatility. This period has been dubbed “The Great Moderation” and it is significant. The standard deviation during the years 1985-2004 was but one-half the standard deviation of the quarterly growth rate of real gross domestic product between the years 1960-1984. A variety of hypothesis for this period has been put forth of which will not be discussed in this paper. More importantly here, is that these new economies are subject to business cycles that are endogenous in nature and are highly correlated with financial crisis. It is believed that these new economies have specific characteristics that generate these financial business cycles. These cycles are not triggered by exogenous supply or demand shocks that throw an economy off of a steady state but instead are an endogenous force within the gears of the system itself that creates imbalances that can build up without any noticeable increase in inflation - the traditional parameter typically used to monitor imbalances. The main characteristic of this new era of Great Moderation is rapidly rising growth coupled with low and stable prices which is highly correlated with an increase
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Suggested Citation

  • Ann Spehar, 2009. "The Great Moderation and the New Business Cycle," World Economics, World Economics, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE, vol. 10(1), January.
  • Handle: RePEc:wej:wldecn:372
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bakshi, Gurdip S & Chen, Zhiwu, 1996. "Inflation, Asset Prices, and the Term Structure of Interest Rates in Monetary Economies," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 9(1), pages 241-275.
    2. Robert J. Barro, 1996. "Inflation and growth," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue May, pages 153-169.
    3. Claudio Borio & Ilhyock Shim, 2007. "What can (macro-)prudential policy do to support monetary policy?," BIS Working Papers 242, Bank for International Settlements.
    4. Ben S. Bernanke & Mark Gertler, 1999. "Monetary policy and asset price volatility," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 77-128.
    5. Claudio Borio & William English & Andrew Filardo, 2003. "A tale of two perspectives: old or new challenges for monetary policy?," BIS Papers chapters,in: Bank for International Settlements (ed.), Monetary policy in a changing environment, volume 19, pages 1-59 Bank for International Settlements.
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    Cited by:

    1. Panzera, Fabio S., 2011. "Price stability and financial imbalances: rethinking the macrofinancial framework after the 2007-8 financial crisis," FSES Working Papers 423, Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences, University of Freiburg/Fribourg Switzerland.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles

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