The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Business Cycle Measurement

  • Don Harding
  • Adrian Pagan
Reference work entry


We describe different ways of measuring the business cycle. Institutions such as the NBER, OECD and IMF do this by locating the turning points in series taken to represent the aggregate level of economic activity. The turning points are determined according to rules that either come from a parametric model or are nonparametric. Once located, information can be extracted on cycle characteristics. We also distinguish between cases where single and multiple series are used to represent the level of activity.


Burns, A. Business cycle Business cycle measurement Censoring operations Coincident indices Crossing points Data filters Fluctuations vs cycles Growth cycles Markov switching (MS) processes Mitchell, W. Periodic cycles Random variables Reference cycle Spectral analysis Turning points 

JEL Classifications

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Don Harding
    • 1
  • Adrian Pagan
    • 1
  1. 1.