School of Economics and Finance

Research menu

No. 664: Developing Country Business Cycles: Revisiting the Stylised Facts

Rachel Male , Queen Mary, University of London

May 1, 2010

Download full paper


Identifying business cycle stylised facts is essential as these often form the basis for the construction and validation of theoretical business cycle models. Furthermore, understanding the cyclical patterns in economic activity, and their causes, is important to the decisions of both policymakers and market participants. Previous analyses of developing country stylised facts have tended to feature only small samples, for example the seminal paper by Agénor et al. (2000) considers just twelve middle-income economies. Consequently, unlike for the industrialised countries, there is not a consistent set of developing country business cycle stylised facts. Motivated by importance of these business cycle statistics, this paper makes an important contribution to the literature by extending and generalising the developing country stylised facts for a sample of thirty-two developing countries. In particular, it is found that real interest rates are, on average, weakly procyclical in developing countries, not countercyclical as previously reported; this holds only for the Latin American economies. There is evidence that money leads the cycle in numerous developing economies, and thus that monetary shocks are an important source of business cycle fluctuations. However domestic credit, which is thought to fulfil an important role in determining investment, and hence economic activity, in developing economies, is found to lag, rather than lead, the cycle, thus implying that fluctuations in output influence credit rather than credit influencing the business cycle. A final key empirical finding is that developing country business cycles are characterised by significantly persistent output fluctuations; however, the magnitude of this persistence is somewhat lower than for the developed countries. Furthermore, prices and nominal wages are found to be significantly persistent in almost all of the developing countries. This finding is particularly important, because it justifies the use of theoretical models with staggered prices and wages for the modelling of developing country business cycles.

J.E.L classification codes: E31, E32, E52, F41, O50

Keywords:Business cycle, Developing economies, Stylised facts, Volatility, Persistence, Cross-correlations

Return to top