Privatization Pep Rally

Max Sawicky sawicky at
Thu Jul 30 08:07:55 PDT 1998

>Ok, enlighten me: (and I'm not being sarcastic, I really want to
>know...) which "business cycle" most closely corresponds to what we
>noneconomists refer to as the "great depression", what was its average
>growth rate, and how does it compare to other business cycles before and
>after? (And while your at it, just how do you define a "business
>cycle", anyway? Seems like kind of a squishy concept, to me)

Forgive me for not looking all of this up for you. I responded originally because I strongly suspect there was no peak near the beginning of the Thirties. The crash was in '29, after all. This means the decade would begin at or near a low point, and the average growth rate for the '30's would exaggerate the rate for the relevant cycle.

The concept is not all that squishy. Business cycle peaks are relatively distinct in the data (troughs are less so). The National Bureau of Economic Research issues 'official' designations of when cycles began and ended. Don't ask me who gave them the franchise. Dating the cycles does not appear to have been all that controversial.

The NBER has a web site so the curious might find the dates there. Or Prof. DeLong could enlighten us if he has a spare minute.


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