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

  • Peter Temin

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.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 6692.

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Date of creation: Aug 1998
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Beyond Shocks, Fuhrer, Jeffery C. and Scott Schuh, eds., Boston: Federal Reserve Bank, June 1998.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6692
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