Common factors in Latin America's business cycles
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This paper constructs new business cycle indices for Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Mexico based on common dynamic factors extracted from a comprehensive set of sectoral output, external trade, fiscal and financial variables. The analysis spans the 135 years since the insertion of these economies into the global economy in the 1870s. The constructed indices are used to derive a business cyc1e chronology for these countries and characterize a set of new stylized facts. In particular, we show that ali four countries have historically displayed a striking combination of high business cyc1e volatility and persistence relative to advanced country benchmarks. Volatility changed considerably over time, however, being very high during early formative decades through the Great Depression, and again during the 1970s and ear1y 1980s, before declining sharply in three of the four countries. We also identify a sizeable common factor across the four economies which variance decompositions ascribe mostly to foreign interest rates and shocks to commodity terms of trade.