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A Revision of the US Business-Cycles Chronology 1790–1928

  • Charles Amélie

    (Audencia Nantes, School of Management, 8 route de la Jonelière, 44312 Nantes Cedex 3, France.)

  • Darné Olivier

    (EMNA, University of Nantes, IEMN–IAE, Chemin de la Censive du Tertre, BP 52231, 44322 Nantes, France.)

  • Claude Diebolt

    (BETA/CNRS, Université de Strasbourg, France.)

This article extends earlier efforts at redating the US business cycles for the 1790–1928 period using the real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) constructed by Johnson and Williamson (2007). We compare the alternative chronology with those of the NBER and Davis (2006) as well as Romer (1994) for the postbellum period. The resulting chronology alters more than 50% percent of the peaks and troughs identified by the NBER and Davis's chronologies, especially during the antebellum period, and removes those cycles long considered the most question- able, as growth or industrial cycles. An important result of the new chronology is the lack of discernible differences in the frequency and duration of US busi- ness cycles among the antebellum and postbellum periods. We also find that the average frequency and duration of contractions are less important than those of expansions.

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Paper provided by Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC) in its series Working Papers with number 11-01.

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Length: 14 pages
Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:afc:wpaper:11-01
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  1. Victor Zarnowitz, 1992. "Business Cycles: Theory, History, Indicators, and Forecasting," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number zarn92-1, December.
  2. Francis X. Diebold & Glenn D. Rudebusch, 1991. "Have postwar economic fluctuations been stabilized?," Working Paper Series / Economic Activity Section 116, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  3. Michael Artis & Massimiliano Marcellino & Tommaso Proietti, 2003. "Dating the Euro Area Business Cycle," Working Papers 237, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  4. Miron, Jeffrey A. & Romer, Christina D., 1990. "A New Monthly Index of Industrial Production, 1884–1940," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 50(02), pages 321-337, June.
  5. 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.
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  7. Christina D. Romer, 1986. "The Prewar Business Cycle Reconsidered: New Estimates of Gross NationalProduct, 1869-1918," NBER Working Papers 1969, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Willard Long Thorp, 1926. "Prefatory Note," NBER Chapters, in: Business Annals, pages 101-106 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Simon Kuznets & Elizabeth Jenks, 1961. "Capital in the American Economy: Its Formation and Financing," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number kuzn61-1, December.
  10. Simon Kuznets & Lillian Epstein & Elizabeth Jenks, 1946. "National Income and Its Composition, 1919-1938, Volume II," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number kuzn41-3, December.
  11. Weiss, Thomas, 1967. "The Service Sector in the United States, 1839 to 1899," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 27(04), pages 625-628, December.
  12. Trescott, Paul B., 1966. "Federal Government Receipts and Expenditures, 1861–1875," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 26(02), pages 206-222, June.
  13. Davis, Joseph H., 2006. "An Improved Annual Chronology of U.S. Business Cycles since the 1790s," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 66(01), pages 103-121, March.
  14. Willard Long Thorp, 1926. "Business Annals," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number thor26-1, December.
  15. Christina D. Romer, 1999. "Changes in Business Cycles: Evidence and Explanations," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(2), pages 23-44, Spring.
  16. Simon Kuznets & Lillian Epstein & Elizabeth Jenks, 1946. "National Product Since 1869," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number kuzn46-1, December.
  17. Arthur F. Burns & Wesley C. Mitchell, 1946. "Measuring Business Cycles," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number burn46-1, December.
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