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Rejoinder to James Hamilton

Harding, Don & Pagan, Adrian (2003) Rejoinder to James Hamilton. Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, 27(9), pp. 1695-1698.

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Abstract

Hamilton (2001) makes a number of comments on our paper (Harding and Pagan, 2002b). The objectives of this rejoinder are, firstly, to note the areas in which we agree; secondly, to define with greater clarity the areas in which we disagree; and, thirdly, to point to other papers, including a longer version of this response, where we have dealt with some of the issues that he raises.

The core of our debate with him is whether one should use an algorithm with a specified set of rules for determining the turning points in economic activity or whether one should use a parametric model that features latent states. Hamilton begins his criticism by stating that there is a philosophical distinction between the two methods for dating cycles and concludes that the method we use “leaves vague and intuitive exactly what this algorithm is intended to measure”. Nothing is further from the truth. When seeking ways to decide on whether a turning point has occurred it is always useful to ask the question, what is a recession? Common usage suggests that it is a decline in the level of economic activity that lasts for some time. For this reason it has become standard to describe a recession as a decline in GDP that lasts for more than two quarters. Finding periods in which quarterly GDP declined for two periods is exactly what our approach does. What is vague about this?

Impact and interest:

14 citations in Scopus
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8 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 31710
Item Type: Journal Article
DOI: 10.1016/S0165-1889(02)00078-7
ISSN: 0165-1889
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ECONOMICS (140000) > Economic Theory (140100)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Current > Schools > School of Economics & Finance
Deposited On: 12 Apr 2010 12:21
Last Modified: 11 Aug 2011 00:31

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