It is sometimes pointed out that economic research is prone to move in cycles and react to particular events such as crises and recessions. The present paper analyses this issue through a quantitative analysis by answering the research question of whether or not the economic literature on business cycles is correlated with movements and changes in actual economic activity. To tackle this question, a bibliometric analysis of key terms related to business cycle and crises theory is performed. In a second step, these results are confronted with data on actual economic developments in order to investigate the question of whether or not the theoretical literature follows trends and developments in economic data. To determine the connection between economic activity and developments in the academic literature, a descriptive analysis is scrutinized by econometric tests. In the short run, the VARs with cyclical fluctuations point out multiple cases where economic variables Granger-cause bibliometric ones. In the long run, the fractionally cointegrated VARs suggest that many bibliometric variables respond to economic shocks. In the multivariate framework, the Diebold–Mariano test shows that economic variables significantly improve the quality of the forecast of bibliometric indices. The paper also includes impulse-response function analysis for a quantitative assessment of the effects from economic to bibliometric variables. The results point towards a qualified confirmation of the hypothesis of an effect of business cycles and crises in economic variables on discussions in the literature.
Bibliometric analysis Business cycle theory Economics Fractional cointegration
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The authors are grateful for helpful comments by Pedro Garcia Duarte, Harald Hagemann, Johannes Schwarzer and an anonymous referee.
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