The Economic History Review

Dating business cycles in the United Kingdom, 1700–2010

Volume 76 Issue 4
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Pages: 1141-1162Authors: Stephen Broadberry, Jagjit S. Chadha, Jason Lennard, Ryland Thomas
Published online: January 27, 2023DOI: 10.1111/ehr.13238

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This paper constructs a new chronology of the business cycle in the United Kingdom from 1700 on an annual basis and from 1920 on a quarterly basis to 2010. The new chronology points to several observations about the business cycle. First, the cycle has significantly increased in duration and amplitude over time. Second, contractions have become less frequent but are as persistent and costly as at other times in history. Third, the typical recession has been tick-shaped with a short contraction and longer recovery. Finally, the major causes of downturns have been sectoral shocks, financial crises, and wars.