IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/2381.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Regularity of Business Cycles

Author

Listed:
  • Victor Zarnowitz

Abstract

Do business cycles have predictable periodicities or are they random walks without past regularities or predictive value? Arguments in support of either position are found in the literature, with no apparent convergence to an agreement. This paper first examines the implications of the NBER chronologies and other findings for the question of the regularity of business cycles. It discusses hypotheses and presents evidence concerning the incidence and coexistence of cycles with different periods. An extension of the analysis covers growth cycles in the United States and other major countries. The paper then considers different models -- linear, nonlinear, endogenous, and exogenous -- for what they have to say about the problem. The regularity of investment cycles and the possible asymmetries in cyclical behavior receive particular attention, and some related data and tests are provided. Our results suggest that business cycles defy simple characterizations: they show a strong tendency to recur and at times even near periodicity, along with great diversity and evolution of phase durations. The age of a phase is not of much help in predicting the date of its end; the regularities are mainly in the dynamics of the developing business conditions.

Suggested Citation

  • Victor Zarnowitz, 1987. "The Regularity of Business Cycles," NBER Working Papers 2381, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2381 Note: EFG
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w2381.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Robert J. Gordon, 1986. "The American Business Cycle: Continuity and Change," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gord86-1, January.
    2. Philip A. Klein & Geoffrey H. Moore, 1985. "Monitoring Growth Cycles in Market-Oriented Countries: Developing and Using International Economic Indicators," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number klei85-1, January.
    3. McCulloch, J Hutson, 1975. "The Monte Carlo Cycle in Business Activity," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 13(3), pages 303-321, September.
    4. Olivier J. Blanchard & Mark W. Watson, 1986. "Are Business Cycles All Alike?," NBER Chapters,in: The American Business Cycle: Continuity and Change, pages 123-180 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Campbell, John Y & Mankiw, N Gregory, 1987. "Permanent and Transitory Components in Macroeconomic Fluctuations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(2), pages 111-117, May.
    6. Robert J. Gordon & John Veitch, 1986. "Fixed Investment in the American Business Cycle, 1919-83," NBER Chapters,in: The American Business Cycle: Continuity and Change, pages 267-358 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Litterman, Robert B, 1983. "A Random Walk, Markov Model for the Distribution of Time Series," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 1(2), pages 169-173, April.
    8. Harvey, A C, 1985. "Trends and Cycles in Macroeconomic Time Series," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 3(3), pages 216-227, June.
    9. Blanchard, Olivier J, 1981. "What Is Left of the Multiplier Accelerator?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(2), pages 150-154, May.
    10. J. Bradford De Long & Lawrence H. Summers, 1984. "Are Business Cycles Symmetric?," NBER Working Papers 1444, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Litterman, Robert B, 1983. "A Random Walk, Markov Model for the Distribution of Time Series," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 1(2), pages 169-173, April.
    12. Schinasi, Garry J., 1982. "Fluctuations in a dynamic, intermediate-run IS-LM model: Applications of the Poincare-Bendixon theorem," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 369-375, December.
    13. Day, Richard H, 1982. "Irregular Growth Cycles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(3), pages 406-414, June.
    14. Nelson, Charles R. & Plosser, Charles I., 1982. "Trends and random walks in macroeconmic time series : Some evidence and implications," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 139-162.
    15. Neftici, Salih N., 1982. "Optimal prediction of cyclical downturns," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 225-241, November.
    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. Ravazzolo, Francesco & Vespignani, Joaquin L., 2015. "A new monthly indicator of global real economic activity," Globalization and Monetary Policy Institute Working Paper 244, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
    2. Ravazzolo, Francesco & Vespignani, Joaquin, 2017. "World steel production: A new monthly indicator of global real economic activity," Working Papers 2017-08, University of Tasmania, Tasmanian School of Business and Economics.
    3. repec:fgv:epgrbe:v:67:n:1:a:4 is not listed on IDEAS
    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. Victor Zarnowitz, 1991. "What is a Business Cycle?," NBER Working Papers 3863, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    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:2381. 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.