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The Causes of American Business Cycles: An Essay in Economic Historiography

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  • Peter Temin

Abstract

This paper surveys the causes of American business cycles for the century 1890 - 1990. Causes are taken to be exogenous shocks to a model with largely endogenous policy makers. Causes are classified as either real or monetary and domestic or foreign. All four causes were found to have led to cycles in the past century. This diversity was found in all time periods and for all size cycles. There were more domestic than foreign causes, confirming the relative independence of the American economy from external conditions. There were more real than monetary causes, conflicting with the popular view that monetary shocks are the source of most cycles.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter Temin, 1998. "The Causes of American Business Cycles: An Essay in Economic Historiography," NBER Working Papers 6692, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6692
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    Cited by:

    1. Lahiri, Kajal & Yao, Vincent Wenxiong, 2006. "Economic indicators for the US transportation sector," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 40(10), pages 872-887, December.
    2. Charles, Amélie & Darné, Olivier & Diebolt, Claude & Ferrara, Laurent, 2015. "A new monthly chronology of the US industrial cycles in the prewar economy," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 17(C), pages 3-9.
    3. Atack, Jeremy & Rousseau, Peter L., 1999. "Business Activity and the Boston Stock Market, 1835-1869," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 144-179, April.
    4. Schwark, Florentine, 2014. "Energy price shocks and medium-term business cycles," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 112-121.
    5. Daniel Kuehn, 2011. "A critique of Powell, Woods, and Murphy on the 1920–1921 depression," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 24(3), pages 273-291, September.
    6. Ghent, Andra C. & Owyang, Michael T., 2010. "Is housing the business cycle? Evidence from US cities," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(3), pages 336-351, May.
    7. Gatti, Domenico Delli & Gallegati, Marco & Gallegati, Mauro, 2005. "On the nature and causes of business fluctuations in Italy, 1861-2000," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 81-100, January.
    8. Patrick Newman, 2016. "The depression of 1920–1921: a credit induced boom and a market based recovery?," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 29(4), pages 387-414, December.

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