Are Business Cycles Symmetric?

23 Pages Posted: 4 Apr 2004

See all articles by J. Bradford DeLong

J. Bradford DeLong

University of California, Berkeley; Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Lawrence H. Summers

Harvard University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Date Written: September 1984

Abstract

This note shows that contrary to widespread belief there is little evidence that the business cycle is asymmetric. Using American data for the pre- and post-war periods and data on five other major OECD nations for the post-war period, we are unable to support the hypothesis that contractions are shorter and sharper than expansions. We conclude that there is not much basis for preferring some version of traditional cyclical techniques to more modern statistical methods.

Suggested Citation

DeLong, James Bradford and Summers, Lawrence H., Are Business Cycles Symmetric? (September 1984). NBER Working Paper No. w1444. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=328685

James Bradford DeLong (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley ( email )

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Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Lawrence H. Summers

Harvard University ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

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