Sunday, June 09, 2019

Are business cylcles imbedded in longer cycles called financial cycles?

See Investors, Buy the Dips: The Economic Cycle Isn’t What It Used to Be by Jon Sindreu of The WSJ. Excerpts:
"Business cycles have historically happened at intervals of between five and eight years, so the current expansion is indeed an abnormally long one."

"these business cycles are themselves contained within longer ones, which economists call “financial cycles.”"

"Economists have long struggled to separate the two types of cycles. Back in 2003, University of Chicago professor Robert Lucas infamously said in a speech that the “central problem of depression-prevention” had been “solved for many decades.” The worst crisis since the Great Depression struck a few years after those comments.

Yet Mr. Lucas wasn’t totally off the mark. The nature of the business cycle has indeed changed since the 1980s.

Back then, trade and finance were liberalized around the world while policy makers sought to quash inflation by sidelining labor unions, which had a strong hand in pushing wages up in response to other costs—like oil prices—going up. Central banks were given more independent power to fight downturns as the public sector kept getting bigger.

In the present era, central banks go to extremes to stimulate the economy and reassure markets at the first sign of trouble. They can do so without concern because weak unions and globalized supply chains keep inflation subdued. If growth does falter, governments automatically cushion the blow through the sheer size of the public-sector wage bill as well as unemployment and social benefits."

"However, longer expansions also encourage people to take on more debt and they give financial firms time to get around regulations. As another economist, Hyman Minsky, put it: Economic stability breeds instability. The result is that business cycles have become mellower but financial cycles more violent since 1985, according to data by the Bank for International Settlements."
Related posts:

What ends expansions? (or what causes recessions according to Alan Blinder and Austan Goolsbee).

The current expansion is close to a record, so what might be the potential risks of it ending? 

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