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Measuring U.S. Business Cycles: A Comparison of Two Methods and Two Indicators of Economic Activities (With Appendix A)

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  • Francis W. Ahking

    (University of Connecticut)

Abstract

We examine two issues in business cycle research. We first compare the performance of Hamilton’s Markov-Switching (MS) model and the Bry and Boschan algorithm in replicating the US business cycle features. A number of studies, especially Harding and Pagan, have demonstrated that Hamilton’s nonlinear MS model do not replicate business cycle features better than simpler linear models. Second, we compare the ability of the U.S. real GDP and a relatively new coincident index of four economic indicators, published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, in replicating features of the U.S. business cycle. We find that Hamilton’s MS model is not robust when compared to the Bry and Boschan algorithm with respect to different sample periods and to different measures of real income. Second, we also find that a constructed quarterly version of the coincident index is slightly preferred over the real GDP.

Suggested Citation

  • Francis W. Ahking, 2015. "Measuring U.S. Business Cycles: A Comparison of Two Methods and Two Indicators of Economic Activities (With Appendix A)," Working papers 2015-06, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:uct:uconnp:2015-06
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Harding, Don & Pagan, Adrian, 2003. "Rejoinder to James Hamilton," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 27(9), pages 1695-1698, July.
    2. Beate Schirwitz, 2009. "A comprehensive German business cycle chronology," Empirical Economics, Springer, pages 287-301.
    3. Harding, Don & Pagan, Adrian, 2003. "A comparison of two business cycle dating methods," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 27(9), pages 1681-1690, July.
    4. Hess, Gregory D & Iwata, Shigeru, 1997. "Measuring and Comparing Business-Cycle Features," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 15(4), pages 432-444, October.
    5. Arthur F. Burns & Wesley C. Mitchell, 1946. "Measuring Business Cycles," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number burn46-1.
    6. Gerhard Bry & Charlotte Boschan, 1971. "Foreword to "Cyclical Analysis of Time Series: Selected Procedures and Computer Programs"," NBER Chapters,in: Cyclical Analysis of Time Series: Selected Procedures and Computer Programs, pages -1 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Michael T. Owyang & Jeremy Piger & Howard J. Wall, 2005. "Business Cycle Phases in U.S. States," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(4), pages 604-616, November.
    8. Hamilton, James D, 1989. "A New Approach to the Economic Analysis of Nonstationary Time Series and the Business Cycle," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 357-384, March.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Markov-switching model; Bry and Boschan algorithm; business cycle dating;

    JEL classification:

    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E37 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications

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