A system for dating long wave phases in economic development

  • Marco GallegatiEmail author
Regular Article


Long wave chronologies are generally established by identifying phase periods associated with relatively higher and lower average growth rates in the world economy. However, the long recognition lag typical of the phase-growth approach prevents it from providing timely information about the present long wave phase period. In this paper, using world GDP growth rates data over the period 1871–2016, we develop a system for long wave phases dating, based on the systematic timing relationship between cyclical representations in growth rates and in levels. The proposed methodology allows an objective periodization of long waves which is much more timely than that based on the phase-growth approach. We find a striking concordance of the established long waves chronology with the dating chronologies elaborated by long wave scholars using the phase-growth approach, both in terms of the number of high- and low-growth phases of the world economy and their approximate time of occurrence. In terms of the current long wave debate, our findings suggest that the upswing phase of the current fifth long wave is still ongoing, and thus the recent financial/economic crisis only marks a flattening in the current upswing phase of the world economy.


Long wave phases World economy Dating methodology Cyclical turning points 

JEL codes

B52 C14 E32 N10 O40 



I’d like to thank two anonymous referees that with their comments contributed to greatly improve the paper. All errors and responsibilities are, of course, mine.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The author declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

191_2019_622_MOESM1_ESM.csv (25 kb)
ESM 1 (CSV 24 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Economics and Social Sciences, Faculty of Economics “G. Fuà”Università Politecnica delle MarcheAnconaItaly

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