Journal of the History of Economic Thought

Research Articles

THE PERIODICITY OF CRISES. A SURVEY OF THE LITERATURE BEFORE 1850

DANIELE BESOMI

Abstract

This article examines the literature on the periodical recurrence of economic crises up to the 1840s, illustrating how awareness of this phenomenon was far more widespread than the few existing histories of business cycle theories indicate, that observations of this phenomenon began much earlier than previously documented, and also that early writers were more interested in emphasizing the intermittent return of crises rather than their precise timing.

Footnotes

Research fellow at the Centre d'Études Interdisciplinaires Walras-Pareto, University of Lausanne, Switzerland (daniele.besomi@unil.ch). I am grateful to Pascal Bridel, Cécile Dangel-Hagnauer, Evelyn Forget, Fabio Masini, Steve Medema, Denis O'Brien and two anonymous referees for comments on an earlier draft; the usual caveats apply.