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 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 data, and fiscal and financial variables spanning over a century. The constructed indices are used to derive a business cycle chronology for these countries and characterize a set of new stylized facts. In particular, we show that all four countries have historically displayed a striking combination of high business cycle and persistence relative to benchmark countries, and that such volatility has been time-varying, with important differences across policy regimes. We also uncover a sizeable common factor across the four economies which has greatly limited scope for regional risk sharing.