This note demonstrates that the Baxter-King (1999) filter, and in general any bandpass filter, does not isolate the cycle in an unobserved-components model with a stochastic trend. The first difference of the trend passes through the filter, and as a result, the spectral properties of the filtered series depend on the trend in the unfiltered series. It is demonstrated that for postwar U.S. real GDP, the spectral properties of the BK-filtered series are primarily to due to the stochastic trend in output.

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