The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
This paper uses the classical (level) definition of business cycles to analyze the characteristics-duration, amplitude, steepness, and cumulative output movements-of the real GDP series of France, Germany, Italy, the rest of the euro area, and the United States. An index of concordance and its test statistic suggest a great deal of comovement/synchronization between output cycles. Following that result, a dynamic factor model is estimated. Output fluctuations are mostly explained by a global common component and an euro area common component. However, idiosyncratic components also matter, especially for France, the rest of the euro area, and the United States.