The Causes of American Business Cycles: An Essay in Economic Historiography
This paper surveys the causes of American business cycles for the century 1890 - 1990. Causes are taken to be exogenous shocks to a model with largely endogenous policy makers. Causes are classified as either real or monetary and domestic or foreign. All four causes were found to have led to cycles in the past century. This diversity was found in all time periods and for all size cycles. There were more domestic than foreign causes, confirming the relative independence of the American economy from external conditions. There were more real than monetary causes, conflicting with the popular view that monetary shocks are the source of most cycles.