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Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 February 2010


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.

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