NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Are Business Cycles All Alike?

Olivier J. Blanchard, Mark W. Watson

NBER Working Paper No. 1392 (Also Reprint No. r0958)
Issued in June 1984
NBER Program(s):EFG

This paper examines two questions. The first is whether economic fluctuations-business cycles-are due to an accumulation of nall shocks or instead mostly to infrequent large shocks. The paper concludes that neither of these two extreme views accurately characterize fluctuations. The second question is whether fluctuations are due mostly to one source of shocks, for example monetary, or instead to many sources. The paper concludes that evidence strongly supports the hypothesis of many, about equally important, sources of shocks.To analyze the empirical evidence and to reach these conclusions, the paper uses two different statistical approaches. The first is estimation ofa structural model, using a set of just identifying restrictions. The secondis non-structural and may be described as a formalization of the Burns Mitchell techniques. Both approaches are somewhat novel and should be of independent interest.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w1392

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