DP13626 Duration Dependence in US Expansions: A re-examination of the evidence

Author(s): Paul Beaudry, Franck Portier
Publication Date: March 2019
Date Revised: April 2019
Keyword(s): business cycles, Recessions
JEL(s): E32
Programme Areas: Monetary Economics and Fluctuations
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=13626

It is commonly accepted that economic expansions do not exhibit duration dependence, that is, the probability of an expansion terminating in the near future is thought to be independent of the length of the expansion. Our main focus is on determining the probability of the US economy entering a recession in the following year (or following two years) conditional on the expansion having lasted q quarters. When looking at the probability of entering a recession within a year (or 2 years), we find considerable evidence of economically significant duration dependence, especially when adopting a non-parametric approach. For example, for an expansion that has lasted only 5 quarters, the probability of entering a recession in the next year is around 10%, while this increases to 30-40% if the expansion has lasted over 35 quarters. Similarly, if looking at a two years window, we find the probability of entering a recession in the next two years raises from 25-30% to around 50-80% as the expansion extends from 5 quarters to 32 quarters. This pattern suggests that certain types of macroeconomic vulnerabilities may be accumulating as the expansion ages causing the arrival of a recession to become more likely. Our non-parametric estimates suggest that this later pattern is especially important once a recession has lasted more than 6 years.