Are Business Cycles Symmetric?
23 Pages Posted: 4 Apr 2004
Date Written: September 1984
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.
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