Discussion paper

DP7069 The U.S. Business Cycle, 1867-1995: A Dynamic Factor Approach

This paper reexamines U.S. business cycle volatility since 1867. We employ dynamic factor analysis as an alternative to reconstructed national accounts. We find a remarkable volatility increase across World War I, which is reversed after World War II. While we can generate evidence of postwar moderation relative to pre-1914, this evidence is not robust to structural change, implemented by time-varying factor loadings. However, we find moderation in the nominal series. Moreover, we reproduce the standard moderation since the 1980s. Our estimates confirm the NIPA data also for the 1930s but support alternative estimates of Kuznets (1952) for World War II.


Ritschl, A, M Uebele and S Sarferaz (2008), ‘DP7069 The U.S. Business Cycle, 1867-1995: A Dynamic Factor Approach‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 7069. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp7069