See: Productivity improving technologies (historical) A table of innovations and long cycles can be seen at: Kondratiev wave#Modern modifications of Kondratiev theory There were frequent crises in Europe and America in the 19th and first half of the 20th century, specifically the period 1815–1939.This period started from the end of the Napoleonic wars in 1815, which was immediately followed by the Post-Napoleonic depression in the United Kingdom (1815–30), and culminated in the Great Depression of 1929–39, which led into World War II.
Its third report, using the most recent revisions to Gross Domestic Product data, affirmed the second report.
The Council defines a recession as a pronounced, pervasive and persistent decline in aggregate economic activity.
Though only passing references in Das Kapital (1867) refer to crises, they were extensively discussed in Marx's posthumously published books, particularly in Theories of Surplus Value.
In Progress and Poverty (1879), Henry George focused on land's role in crises – particularly land speculation – and proposed a single tax on land as a solution.
Schumpeter's Juglar model associates recovery and prosperity with increases in productivity, consumer confidence, aggregate demand, and prices.
In the mid-20th century, Schumpeter and others proposed a typology of business cycles according to their periodicity, so that a number of particular cycles were named after their discoverers or proposers: Over the period since the Industrial Revolution, technological progress has had a much larger effect on the economy than any fluctuations in credit or debt, the primary exception being the Great Depression, which caused a multi-year steep economic decline.
In deciding on the occurrence and timing of a recession, the Council looks at three dimensions: duration, amplitude, and scope – or how widespread a downturn is.
The Council does not impose preset conditions with respect to amplitude, duration, and scope, notably because these considerations need to be judged simultaneously and because the economy and its measurement change over time.
The effect of technological progress can be seen by the purchasing power of an average hour's work, which has grown from in 1900 to in 1990, measured in 2010 dollars.
There were similar increases in real wages during the 19th century.
The Council also acts as a conduit for research aimed at developing a deeper understanding of how the economy evolves and to provide guidance to policymakers.