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Abstract: This paper sets out the theoretical foundations for continuous-time signal extraction in econometrics. Continuous-time modeling gives an effective strategy for treating stock and flow data, irregularly spaced data, and changing frequency of observation. We rigorously derive the optimal continuous-lag filter when the signal component is nonstationary, and provide several illustrations, including a new class of continuous-lag Butterworth filters for trend and cycle estimation.

Keywords: Continuous time processes, cycles, Hodrick-Prescott filter, linear filtering, signal extraction, turning points

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