Global recession

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World map showing GDP real growth rates for 2009.
Number of countries having a banking crisis in each year since 1800. This is based on This time is different: Eight centuries of financial folly, which covers only 70 countries. The general upward trend might be attributed to many factors. One of these is a gradual increase in the percent of people who receive money for their labor. The dramatic feature of this graph is the virtual absence of banking crises during the period of the Bretton Woods agreement, 1945 to 1971. This analysis is similar to Figure 10.1 in Reinhart and Rogoff (2009). For more details see the help file for "bankingCrises" in the Ecdat package available from the Comprehensive R Archive Network (CRAN).

A global recession is a period of global economic slowdown. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) takes many factors into account when defining a global recession. Until April 2009, IMF several times communicated to the press, that a global annual real GDP growth of 3.0 percent or less in their view was "equivalent to a global recession".[1][2] By this measure, six periods since 1970 qualify: 1974‑1975,[3] 1980‑1983,[3] 1990‑1993,[3][4] 1998,[3][4] 2001‑2002,[3][4] and 2008‑2009.[5]

In April 2009, IMF changed their Global recession definition to:

  • A decline in annual per‑capita real World GDP (purchasing power parity weighted), backed up by a decline or worsening for one or more of the seven other global macroeconomic indicators: Industrial production, trade, capital flows, oil consumption, unemployment rate, per‑capita investment, and per‑capita consumption.[6][7]

By this new definition, a total of four global recessions took place since World War II: 1975, 1982, 1991 and 2009. All of them only lasted one year, although the third would have lasted three years (1991‑93) if IMF as criteria had used the normal exchange rate weighted per‑capita real World GDP rather than the purchase power parity weighted per‑capita real World GDP.[6][7] The latest 2009 global recession, commonly referred to as the Great Recession, was by far the worst of the four post-war recessions, both in terms of how many countries were affected and how much the real World GDP per capita declined.[6][7]


Informally, a national recession is a period of declining economic output. In a 1974 New York Times article, Julius Shiskin suggested several rules of thumb to identify a recession, which included two successive quarterly declines in gross domestic product (GDP), a measure of the nation's output.[8] This two-quarter metric is now a commonly held definition of a recession. In the United States, the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) is regarded as the authority which identifies a recession and which takes into account several measures in addition to GDP growth before making an assessment. In many developed nations other than USA, the two-quarter rule is also used for identifying a recession.[9]

Whereas a national recession is identified by two quarters of decline, defining a global recession is more difficult, because developing nations are expected to have a higher GDP growth than developed nations.[10] According to IMF, the real GDP growth of the emerging and developing countries is on an uptrend and that of advanced economies is on a downtrend since late 1980s. The world growth is projected to slow from 5% in 2007 to 3.75% in 2008 and to just over 2% in 2009. Downward revisions in GDP growth vary across regions. Among the most affected are commodity exporters, and countries with acute external financing and liquidity problems. Countries in East Asia (including China) have suffered smaller declines because their financial situations are more robust. They have benefited from falling commodity prices and they have initiated a shift toward macroeconomic policy easing.[10]

The IMF estimates that global recessions seem to occur over a cycle lasting between 8 and 10 years. During what the IMF terms the past three global recessions of the last three decades, global per capita output growth was zero or negative.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The world economy Bad, or worse". 2008-10-09. Retrieved 2009-04-15. 
  2. ^ Lall, Subir. "IMF Predicts Slower World Growth Amid Serious Market Crisis," International Monetary Fund, April 9, 2008. [1]
  3. ^ a b c d e IMF Jan 2009 update
  4. ^ a b c d "Global Recession Risk Grows as U.S. `Damage' Spreads. Jan 2008". 2008-01-28. Retrieved 2009-04-15. 
  5. ^ "World Economic Outlook (WEO) April 2013: Statistical appendix - Table A1 - Summary of World Output" (PDF). IMF. 16 April 2013. Retrieved 16 April 2013. 
  6. ^ a b c "What’s a Global Recession?". The Walstreet Journal. 22 April 2009. Retrieved 17 September 2013. 
  7. ^ a b c "World Economic Outlook - April 2009: Crisis and Recovery" (PDF). Box 1.1 (page 11-14). IMF. 24 April 2009. Retrieved 17 September 2013. 
  8. ^ Achuthan, Lakshman (2008-05-06). "The risk of redefining recession, Lakshman Achuthan and Anirvan Banerji, Economic Cycle Research Institute, May 7, 2008". Retrieved 2009-04-15. 
  9. ^ Japan's Economy Shrinks 0.4%, Confirming Recession By Jason Clenfield
  10. ^ a b "IMF World Economic Outlook (WEO) Update - Rapidly Weakening Prospects Call for New Policy Stimulus - November 2008". 2008-11-06. Retrieved 2009-04-15. 

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