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Are these classical business cycles?


  • Michael Reiter
  • Ulrich Woitek


The aim of this paper is to test formally the classical business cycle hypothesis, using data from industrialized countries for the time period since 1960. The hypothesis is characterized by the view that the cyclical structure in GDP is concentrated in the investment series: fixed investment has typically a long cycle, while the cycle in inventory investment is shorter. To check the robustness of our results, we subject the data for 15 OECD countries to a variety of detrending techniques. While the hypothesis is not confirmed uniformly for all countries, there is a considerably high number for which the data display the predicted pattern. None of the countries shows a pattern which can be interpreted as a clear rejection of the classical hypothesis.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Reiter & Ulrich Woitek, 1999. "Are these classical business cycles?," Economics Working Papers 398, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  • Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:398

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Francis X. Diebold & Lee E. Ohanian & Jeremy Berkowitz, 1998. "Dynamic Equilibrium Economies: A Framework for Comparing Models and Data," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 65(3), pages 433-451.
    2. Watson, Mark W, 1993. "Measures of Fit for Calibrated Models," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(6), pages 1011-1041, December.
    3. Marianne Baxter & Robert G. King, 1999. "Measuring Business Cycles: Approximate Band-Pass Filters For Economic Time Series," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(4), pages 575-593, November.
    4. Burnside, Craig, 1998. "Detrending and business cycle facts: A comment," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 513-532, May.
    5. Cogley, Timothy & Nason, James M, 1995. "Output Dynamics in Real-Business-Cycle Models," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 492-511, June.
    6. Canova, Fabio, 1998. "Detrending and business cycle facts: A user's guide," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 533-540, May.
    7. Canova, Fabio, 1998. "Detrending and business cycle facts," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 475-512, May.
    8. Wen, Yi, 1998. "Investment cycles," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 22(7), pages 1139-1165, May.
    9. Ulrich Woitek, 1998. "A Note on the Baxter-King Filter," Working Papers 9813, Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow.
    10. Douglas Gale, 1996. "Delay and Cycles," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 63(2), pages 169-198.
    11. Lawrence J. Christiano & Robert J. Vigfusson, 1999. "Maximum Likelihood in the Frequency Domain: A Time to Build Example," NBER Working Papers 7027, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Canova, Fabio, 1996. "Three tests for the existence of cycles in time series," Ricerche Economiche, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 135-162, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ulrich Woitek, 1998. "A Note on the Baxter-King Filter," Working Papers 9813, Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow.
    2. Robert Hart & James Malley & Ulrich Woitek, 2009. "Real earnings and business cycles: new evidence," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 37(1), pages 51-71, September.
    3. A'Hearn, Brian & Woitek, Ulrich, 2001. "More international evidence on the historical properties of business cycles," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 321-346, April.

    More about this item


    business cycles; investment cycles; spectral tests;

    JEL classification:

    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E22 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity

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