Is it a power law distribution? The case of economic contractions
One of the first steps to understand and forecast economic downturns is identifying their frequency distribution, but it remains uncertain. This problem is common in phenomena displaying power-law-like distributions. Power laws play a central role in complex systems theory; therefore, the current limitations in the identification of this distribution in empirical data are a major obstacle to pursue the insights that the complexity approach offers in many fields. This paper addresses this issue by introducing a reliable methodology with a solid theoretical foundation, the Taylor Series-Based Power Law Range Identification Method. When applied to time series from 39 countries, this method reveals a well-defined power law in the relative per capita GDP contractions that span from 5.53% to 50%, comprising 263 events. However, this observation does not suffice to attribute recessions to some specific mechanism, such as self-organized criticality. The paper highlights a set of points requiring more study so as to discriminate among models compatible with the power law, as needed to develop sound tools for the management of recessions.
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.:
- Paul Ormerod, 2004. "Information cascades and the distribution of economic recessions in the United States," Papers cond-mat/0402648, arXiv.org.
- Domenico Delli Gatti & Mauro Gallegati & Bruce Greenwald & Alberto Russo & Joseph Stiglitz, 2009. "Business fluctuations and bankruptcy avalanches in an evolving network economy," Journal of Economic Interaction and Coordination, Springer;Society for Economic Science with Heterogeneous Interacting Agents, vol. 4(2), pages 195-212, November.
- 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.
- Robert J. Barro & Tao Jin, 2011.
"On the Size Distribution of Macroeconomic Disasters,"
Econometric Society, vol. 79(5), pages 1567-1589, 09.
- Robert J. Barro & Tao Jin, "undated". "On the Size Distribution of Macroeconomic Disasters," Working Paper 115416, Harvard University OpenScholar.
- Robert J. Barro & Tao Jin, 2009. "On the Size Distribution of Macroeconomic Disasters," NBER Working Papers 15247, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Y. Fujiwara & H. Aoyama, 2010. "Large-scale structure of a nation-wide production network," The European Physical Journal B: Condensed Matter and Complex Systems, Springer;EDP Sciences, vol. 77(4), pages 565-580, October.
- Anirban Chakraborti & Ioane Muni Toke & Marco Patriarca & Frederic Abergel, 2011. "Econophysics review: II. Agent-based models," Quantitative Finance, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(7), pages 1013-1041.
- Xavier Gabaix, 2009. "Power Laws in Economics and Finance," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 255-294, 05.
- Xavier Gabaix, 2008. "Power Laws in Economics and Finance," NBER Working Papers 14299, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Xavier Gabaix, 2011. "The Granular Origins of Aggregate Fluctuations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(3), pages 733-772, 05.
- Xavier Gabaix, 2005. "The Granular Origins of Aggregate Fluctuations," 2005 Meeting Papers 470, Society for Economic Dynamics.
- Xavier Gabaix, 2009. "The Granular Origins of Aggregate Fluctuations," NBER Working Papers 15286, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- 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, arXiv.org.
- Robert J. Barro & José F. Ursúa, 2012. "Rare Macroeconomic Disasters," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 4(1), pages 83-109, 07.
- Robert J. Barro & José F. Ursua, 2011. "Rare Macroeconomic Disasters," NBER Working Papers 17328, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Ormerod, Paul, 2004. "Information cascades and the distribution of economic recessions in capitalist economies," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 341(C), pages 556-568.
- Anirban Chakraborti & Ioane Muni Toke & Marco Patriarca & Frederic Abergel, 2011. "Econophysics review: I. Empirical facts," Quantitative Finance, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(7), pages 991-1012.
- Ormerod, Paul & Mounfield, Craig, 2001. "Power law distribution of the duration and magnitude of recessions in capitalist economies: breakdown of scaling," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 293(3), pages 573-582.
- Battiston, Stefano & Delli Gatti, Domenico & Gallegati, Mauro & Greenwald, Bruce & Stiglitz, Joseph E., 2007. "Credit chains and bankruptcy propagation in production networks," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 2061-2084, June.
- Victor M. Yakovenko & J. Barkley Rosser, 2009. "Colloquium: Statistical mechanics of money, wealth, and income," Papers 0905.1518, arXiv.org, revised Dec 2009. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:arx:papers:1310.2567. 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: (arXiv administrators)
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.