American Experience with Double Dip Recession in The Early 1980’S

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Recently in this journal, Eisenbeis and Kaufman (Atlantic Economic Journal, 2016) referred to “… the double-dip recession that began in 1980 and ended in the fourth quarter of 1982 ….” While it is rather common to consider the macroeconomic experience of the United States during the early 1980s as a double-dip recession, that is not the characterization offered by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). According to the Business Cycle Dating Committee of the NBER, the United States exhibited two separate recessions during this time period, the first from January 1980 to July of the same year and the second from July 1981 to November 1982. In addition, the NBER does not define a double-dip recession and, to our knowledge, there is not an otherwise standard definition of this concept. The purpose of this paper is twofold: to provide an unambiguous definition of double-dip recession and then apply this definition to data for the American economy in the early 1980s.



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