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The Great Wars, The Great Crash, and the Unit Root Hypothesis: Some New Evidence About an Old Stylized Fact

  • Dan Ben-David
  • David H. Papell

For decades, the prevailing sentiment among economists was that growth rates remain constant over the long run. Kaldor considered this to be one of the six important 'stylized facts' that theory should address, and until the emergence of endogenous growth models, this was a fundamental feature of growth theory. This paper uses an endogenous trend break model to investigate the unit root hypothesis for 16 countries, using annual GDP data spanning up to 130 years. Rejection of the unit root, which is facilitated by the inclusion of a trend break, introduces the possibility of examining the long run behavior of growth rates. We find that most countries exhibited fairly steady growth for a period lasting several decades. The termination of this period was usually characterized by a significant, and sudden, drop in GDP levels. But rather than simply returning to their previous steady state path, as predicted by the standard neoclassical growth model, most countries continued to grow at roughly double their prebreak rates for many decades, even after their original growth path had been surpassed.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4752.

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Date of creation: May 1994
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Publication status: published as Journal of Monetary Economics, vol. 36, December 1995, pp. 453-475.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4752
Note: EFG
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  1. Eric Zivot & Donald W.K. Andrews, 1990. "Further Evidence on the Great Crash, the Oil Price Shock, and the Unit Root Hypothesis," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 944, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  2. David K. Backus & Patrick J. Kehoe, 1991. "International evidence on the historical properties of business cycles," Staff Report 145, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  3. 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.
  4. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum, 1989. "Unit roots in real GNP: do we know, and do we care?," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 18, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  5. Anindya Banerjee & Robin L. Lumsdaine & James H. Stock, 1990. "Recursive and Sequential Tests of the Unit Root and Trend Break Hypothesis: Theory and International Evidence," NBER Working Papers 3510, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Campbell, J.Y. & Perron, P., 1991. "Pitfalls and Opportunities: What Macroeconomics should know about unit roots," Papers 360, Princeton, Department of Economics - Econometric Research Program.
  7. Paul M Romer, 1999. "Increasing Returns and Long-Run Growth," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2232, David K. Levine.
  8. Christiano, Lawrence J, 1992. "Searching for a Break in GNP," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 10(3), pages 237-50, July.
  9. James G. MacKinnon, 1990. "Critical Values for Cointegration Tests," Working Papers 1227, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  10. Rappoport, Peter & Reichlin, Lucrezia, 1989. "Segmented Trends and Non-stationary Time Series," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(395), pages 168-77, Supplemen.
  11. Raj, Baldev, 1992. "International Evidence on Persistence in Output in the Presence of an Episodic Change," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 7(3), pages 281-93, July-Sept.
  12. Bhargava, Alok, 1990. "An Econometric Analysis of the U.S. Postwar G.N.P," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 3(2), pages 147-56, August.
  13. Perron, P, 1988. "The Great Crash, The Oil Price Shock And The Unit Root Hypothesis," Papers 338, Princeton, Department of Economics - Econometric Research Program.
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