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Los Barómetros de Harvard: ¿Permitían Pedecir la Depresión de 1929?

Escañuela Romana, Ignacio (2009): Los Barómetros de Harvard: ¿Permitían Pedecir la Depresión de 1929?

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Abstract

This paper reviews the possibility that Harvard barometers would have enabled to predict the Great Depression. Based on data from the ABC curves in August 1929, could have been foreseen the collapse of the stock market and the dramatic fall in economic activity?. It is now accepted that Harvard barometers did not allow to predict the crisis. This paper applies the harmonic analysis, a well-known method at the time of the barometers, and a number of significance tests used in that historic moment. Harvard barometers are analysed into sinusoid curves in order to, using the projection of these curves, check their forecast. The conclusion is: Harvard statisticians could have been able to foresee the fall on speculation, as defined in the curve A, but not the fall in business conditions and money and credit. Given this result, it is questioned first whether the detected regular fluctuations are an illusory effect of the composition of ABC curves, and second if it is useful to utilize such aggregate curves. It is concluded that, although aggregation does not have any predictive advantage, it is not the source of regularity.

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