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The HP-filter in cross-country comparisons

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  • Albert Marcet
  • Morten O. Ravn

Abstract

Many empirical studies of business cycles have followed the practise of applying the Hodrick-Prescott filter for cross-country comparisons. The standard procedure is to set the weight \lambda, which determines the 'smoothness' of the trend equal to 1600. We show that if this value is used for against common wisdom about business cycles. As an example, we show that the long recession occurred inSpain between 1975 and 1985 goes unnotoced by the HP filter. We propose a method for adjusting \lambda by reinterpreting the HP-filter as the solution to a constrained minimization problem. We argue that the common practice of fixing \lambda across countries amounts to chankging the constraints on trend variability across countries. Our proposed method is easy to apply, retains all the virtues of the standard HP-filter and when applied to Spanish data the results are in the line with economic historian's view. Applying the method to a number of OECD countries we find that, with the exception of Spain, Italy and Japan, the standard choice of \lambda=1600 is sensible.

Suggested Citation

  • Albert Marcet & Morten O. Ravn, 2001. "The HP-filter in cross-country comparisons," Economics Working Papers 588, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Dec 2003.
  • Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:588
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Danthine, Jean-Pierre & Girardin, Michel, 1989. "Business cycles in Switzerland : A comparative study," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 31-50, January.
    2. Ambler, Steve & Cardia, Emanuela & Zimmermann, Christian, 2004. "International business cycles: What are the facts?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 257-276, March.
    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. Luis A. Puch & Omar Licandro, 1997. "Are there any special features in the Spanish business cycle?," Investigaciones Economicas, Fundación SEPI, vol. 21(2), pages 361-394, May.
    5. Uhlig, H.F.H.V.S. & Ravn, M., 1997. "On Adjusting the H-P Filter for the Frequency of Observations," Discussion Paper 1997-50, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    6. Backus, David K & Kehoe, Patrick J, 1992. "International Evidence of the Historical Properties of Business Cycles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(4), pages 864-888, September.
    7. Backus, David K & Kehoe, Patrick J & Kydland, Finn E, 1992. "International Real Business Cycles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(4), pages 745-775, August.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Business cycles; cross-country comparisons; macroeconomic volatility;

    JEL classification:

    • C32 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes; State Space Models
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles

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