IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/1999.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Estimation of Prewar GNP Volatility, 1869-1938

Author

Listed:
  • Nathan S. Balke
  • Robert J. Gordon

Abstract

New evidence is provided to assess the recent controversy regarding the volatility of real economic activity before 1929 relative to the period since World War II. Some recent work claims that the longstanding stylized fact of greater prewar volatility is "spurious". In contrast, this paper reconfirms the greater amplitude of business fluctuations prior to the Great Depression. The basic technique is the regression method, which estimates equations for real GNP during 1909-38, with one or more explanatory variables for components of GNP, and then uses the estimated coefficients to "backcast" real GNP or the period 1869-1908. The paper contains an extensive examination of the sensitivity of these regression indexes to alternative dependent variables, sample periods, detrending methods, and the inclusion of alternative explanatory variables. Particular attention is paid to the conflicting evidence regarding the amplitude of cycles in construction activity between 1870 and 1890. The resulting prewar/postwar volatility ratios, for 1869-1928 as compared to 1950-1980, range from 1.43 to 2.16. The paper concludes by suggesting that this range of volatility ratios is more likely to understate than overstate the prewar/postwar volatility ratio.

Suggested Citation

  • Nathan S. Balke & Robert J. Gordon, 1986. "The Estimation of Prewar GNP Volatility, 1869-1938," NBER Working Papers 1999, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1999 Note: EFG
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w1999.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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, January.
    2. John B. Taylor, 1986. "Improvements in Macroeconomic Stability: The Role of Wages and Prices," NBER Chapters,in: The American Business Cycle: Continuity and Change, pages 639-678 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Moses Abramovitz, 1964. "Evidences of Long Swings in Aggregate Construction Since the Civil War," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number abra64-1, January.
    4. Robert J. Gordon & James A. Wilcox, 1978. "Monetarist Interpretations of the Great Depression: An Evaluation and Critique," NBER Working Papers 0300, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. B. Douglas Bernheim, 2000. "How Much Should Americans Be Saving for Retirement?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 288-292, May.
    2. Opening Speech by Masaaki Shirakawa, Governor of the Bank of Japan, 2011. "Bubbles, Demographic Change and Natural Disasters," Monetary and Economic Studies, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan, vol. 29, pages 19-32, November.
    3. B. Douglas Bernheim & Katherine Grace Carman & Jagadeesh Gokhale & Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 2001. "The Mismatch Between Life Insurance Holdings and Financial Vulnerabilities: Evidence from the Survey of Consumer Finances," NBER Working Papers 8544, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Carolina Navarro & Luis Ayala & José Labeaga, 2010. "Housing deprivation and health status: evidence from Spain," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 38(3), pages 555-582, June.
    5. B. Douglas Bernheim & Lorenzo Forni & Jagadeesh Gokhale & Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 2001. "The mismatch between life insurance holdings and financial vulnerabilities: evidence from the Health and Retirement Survey," Working Paper 0109, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
    6. B. Douglas Bernheim & Lorenzo Forni & Jagadeesh Gokhale & Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 1999. "The adequacy of life insurance: evidence from the health and retirement survey," Working Paper 9914, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
    7. Jordi Perdiguero, 2011. "Vertical relations and local competition: an empirical approach," IREA Working Papers 201124, University of Barcelona, Research Institute of Applied Economics, revised Dec 2011.
    8. Sadequl ISLAM, 2011. "The Economic Effects On Nafta Of Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Agreements," Applied Econometrics and International Development, Euro-American Association of Economic Development, vol. 11(1).
    9. Claudia Goldin, 1999. "A Brief History of Education in the United States," NBER Historical Working Papers 0119, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Runchana Pongsaparn & Panda Ketruangroch & Dhanaporn Hirunwong, 2012. "Monetary Policy conduct in Review: The Appropriate Choice of Instruments," Working Papers 2012-05, Monetary Policy Group, Bank of Thailand.

    More about this item

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1999. 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: (). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.