International business cycles: How do they relate to Switzerland?

KOF Working Paper No. 291

Michael Graff

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Abstract

This paper first discusses concepts, definitions and theoretical explanations for international business cycles. This is followed by an overview of previous empirical studies. We then argue that for ex post analyses the output gap is a univariate quantification of the business cycle that is comparable across space and time and readily available (or rather computable from GFP series), which recommends its use for our purposes. Based on an unbalanced panel of quarterly output gap series in a panel of 40 countries from 1960q1 to 2011q3, we then test a number of hypotheses regarding the imbeddedness of the Swiss economy into international business cycles and possible changes thereof over the recent years. The results identify layers of international business cycles, where the integration of Switzerland is pronounced. Moreover it markedly deepened after 1994. A case for Switzerland being ‘special’ can hence not be made in terms of its recent business cycle pattern.

Suggested Citation:

Graff, M. (2011): International business cycles: How do they relate to Switzerland?, KOF Working Papers No. 291, December, Zurich.

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