Investing With Business cycles – Per Wikipedia intervals of expansion followed by recession in economic activity. They have implications for the welfare of the broad population as well as for private institutions. Typically business cycles are measured by applying a band pass filter to a broad economic indicator such as Real Gross Domestic Production. Here important problems may arise with a commonly used filter called the “ideal filter”. For instance if a series is a purely random process without any cycle, an “ideal” filter, better called a block filter, a spurious cycle is produced as output.
Business cycle fluctuations are usually characterized by general upswings and downturns in a span of macroeconomic variables. The individual episodes of expansion/recession occur with changing duration and intensity over time. Typically their periodicity has a wide range from around 2 to 10 years (the technical phrase “stochastic cycle” is often used in statistics to describe this kind of process.) Such flexible knowledge about the frequency of business cycles can actually be included in their mathematical study, using a Bayesian statistical paradigm.
There are numerous sources of business cycle movements such as rapid and significant changes in the price of oil or variation in consumer sentiment that affects overall spending in the macroeconomy and thus investment and firms’ profits. Usually such sources are unpredictable in advance and can be viewed as random “shocks” to the cyclical pattern. In past decades economists and statisticians have learned a great deal about business cycle fluctuations by researching the topic from various perspectives.
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