How do output growth-rate distributions look like? Some cross-country, time-series evidence

Authors: Giorgio Fagiolo, Mauro Napoletano and Andrea Roventini

The European Physical Journal B (2007)


This paper investigates the statistical properties of within-country gross domestic product (GDP) and industrial production (IP) growth-rate distributions. Many empirical contributions have re-cently pointed out that cross-section growth rates of firms, industries and countries all follow Laplace distributions. In this work, we test whether also within-country, time-series GDP and IP growth rates can be approximated by tent-shaped distributions. We fit output growth rates with the exponential-power (Subbotin) family of densities, which includes as particular cases both Gaussian and Laplace distributions. We find that, for a large number of OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries including the US, both GDP and IP growth rates are Laplace distributed. Moreover, we show that fat-tailed distributions robustly emerge even after controlling for outliers, autocorrelation and het-eroscedasticity.