economic cycle

  

Definition

Recurring, fairly predictable, general pattern of periodic fluctuations (as measured by gross national product) in national economies. Left to themselves, all market economies repeatedly (typically every five years) move through four stages of (1) expansion, (2) peak, (3) recession, and (4) recovery. Despite numerous attempts to explain causes of economic cycles, no theory is universally accepted or applicable. Also called business cycle or trade cycle.

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