Spurious Volatility in Historical Unemployment Data

  title={Spurious Volatility in Historical Unemployment Data},
  author={Christina D. Romer},
  journal={Journal of Political Economy},
  pages={1 - 37}
This paper shows that the stabilization of the unemployment rate between the pre-1930 and post-1948 eras is an artifact of improvements in data collection procedures. Prewar methods are used to construct postwar unemployment data that are consistent with the historical data. The constructed postwar series is nearly as volatile as the pre-1930 unemployment data. The constructed postwar data are systematically more volatile than the actual postwar data because the cyclical behavior of the labor… 

Changes in the Cyclical Sensitivity of Wages in the United States, 1891-1987

The conventional wisdom that nominal wages became less sensitive to the business cycle and more autocorrelated after World War II is reexamined here by considering whether these properties are

New Estimates of Prewar Gross National Product and Unemployment

The paper examines in detail revised estimates of unemployment and gross national product for the United States before 1929. It first discusses the nature of the revisions to each series and

Is the Stabilization of the Postwar Economy a Figment of the Data

This study of output data for the periods 1866-1914 and 1947-82 shows that much of the apparent stabilization of the postwar economy is an artifact of the way the historical data are constructed.

Romer revisited: long-term changes in the cyclical sensitivity of unemployment

In this paper we employ microeconomic evidence on the unemployment experiences of American males to evaluate the sensitivity of unemployment to business cycle fluctuations in the late nineteenth

The Reliability of Historical Macroeconomic Data for Comparing Cyclical Stability

  • D. Weir
  • Economics
    The Journal of Economic History
  • 1986
The question at issue is whether estimates of GNP and unemployment before 1930 exaggerate cyclical volatility enough to produce a false impression of increasing economic stability over the twentieth

The decline in volatility in the US economy. A historical perspective

In this paper, we analyse the volatility of US GDP growth using quarterly series starting in 1875. We find structural breaks in volatility at the end of World War II and at the beginning of the

Is Deflation Costly After All? Evidence from Noisy Historical Data

I study the link between real activity and deflation, taking into account measurement problems in 19th century CPI data. Replications based on modern data show that measurement problems spuriously

A Golden Age? Unemployment and the American Labor Market, 1880–1910

We calculate the natural rate of unemployment in 1909 by first estimating equations for the incidence and time lost in unemployment on a pooled dataset integrating the manuscript sample of the 1910



Labor Force and Unemployment in the 1920's and 1930's: A Re-examination Based on Postwar Experience

A NNUAL data on the labor force were not collected by the United States government before 1940. The decennial censuses prior to 1940 did include labor force enumerations, although the definitional

The Interpolation of Time Series by Related Series

Abstract The construction of most comprehensive economic time series involves the estimation of some components for some dates by interpolation between values (“benchmarks”) for earlier and later

The Cyclical Behavior of Industrial Labor Markets: A Comparison of the Pre-War and Post-War Eras

This paper studies the cyclical behavior of a number of industrial labor markets of the pre-war (1923-1939) and post-war (1954-1982) eras. In the spirit of Burns and Mitchell we do not test a

Potential GNP: Its measurement and significance: A dissenting opinion

Volume 1 of The 1930 Census of Unemployment. Fifteenth Census of the United States

  • Volume 1 of The 1930 Census of Unemployment. Fifteenth Census of the United States
  • 1932