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The Cyclical Dynamics and Volatility of Australian Output and Employment

  • Robert Dixon
  • David Shepherd

In this paper we examine the volatility of aggregate output and employment in Australia with the aid of a frequency filtering method (the Butterworth filter) that allows each time series to be decomposed into trend, cycle and noise components. This analysis is compared with more traditional methods based simply on the examination of first differences in the logs of the raw data using cointegration-VAR modelling. We show that the application of univariate AR and bivariate VECM methods to the data results in a detrended series which is dominated by noise rather than cyclical variation and gives break points which are not robust to alternative decomposition methods. Also, our conclusions challenge accepted wisdom in relation to output volatility in Australia which holds that there was a once and for all sustained reduction in output volatility in or around 1984. We do not find any convincing evidence for a sustained reduction in the cyclical volatility of the GDP (or employment) series at that time, but we do find evidence of a sustained reduction in the cyclical volatility of the GDP (and employment) series in 1993/4. We also find that there is a clear association between output volatility and employment volatility. We discuss the key features of the business cycle we have identified as well as some of the policy implications of our results.

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Paper provided by The University of Melbourne in its series Department of Economics - Working Papers Series with number 968.

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Length: 51 pages
Date of creation: 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mlb:wpaper:968
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, The University of Melbourne, 4th Floor, FBE Building, Level 4, 111 Barry Street. Victoria, 3010, Australia
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Web page: http://www.economics.unimelb.edu.au
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  21. Stephen G. Cecchetti & Alfonso Flores-Lagunes & Stefan Krause, 2006. "Assessing the Sources of Changes in the Volatility of Real Growth," NBER Working Papers 11946, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  24. Stephen G. Cecchetti & Michael Ehrmann, 2002. "Does Inflation Targeting Increase Output Volatility?: An International Comparison of Policymakers' Preferences and Outcomes," Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies Book Series, in: Norman Loayza & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel & Norman Loayza (Series Editor) & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel (Series (ed.), Monetary Policy: Rules and Transmission Mechanisms, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 9, pages 247-274 Central Bank of Chile.
  25. GORDON de BROUWER & JAMES GILBERT, 2005. "Monetary Policy Reaction Functions in Australia," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 81(253), pages 124-134, 06.
  26. Nicholas Di Venuto & Allan Layton, 2005. "Do The Phases Of The Business Cycle Die Of Old Age?," Australian Economic Papers, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(3), pages 290-305, 09.
  27. Robert Dixon & John Freebairn & G.C. Lim, 2005. "An Employment Equation for Australia," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 81(254), pages 204-214, 09.
  28. Leybourne, Stephen J. & C. Mills, Terence & Newbold, Paul, 1998. "Spurious rejections by Dickey-Fuller tests in the presence of a break under the null," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 191-203, August.
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