The evidence, as far as I know, suggests that there is no systematic link between the length of an expansion and the probability of a recession.
But this, in and of itself, does not rule out that Minsky-type hypotheses are valid. Indeed, there is plenty of evidence that prolonged credit growth, especially if alongside property price increases, provides useful leading signals of banking crises in real time (for one of the many examples, see here https://www.bis.org/publ/qtrpdf/r_qt0903e.htm
). Since banking crises are costly for output, it stands to reason that such indicators should also work as useful predictors of recessions. I fact, recent work we have done bears this out (it is forthcoming in the next BIS Quarterly Review, out in December).
There is also evidence that the financial expansions and contractions (financial cycles) most damaging for output tend to be longer than business cycles, as traditionally measured (eg, here: https://www.bis.org/publ/work380.pdf
). This is naturally consistent with more frequent downturns (or ends to a business cycle expansion). For instance, an outsize financial cycle straddled the mild 2001 recession in the US, before ending in a much more damaging bust that coincided with the Great Financial Crisis and recession. From this perspective, one could consider the 2001 downturn an “unfinished recession” (see same source above). This evidence is consistent with the idea that risks build up gradually during expansions.
To summarise: conditioning on the age of the business cycle expansion does not help predict recessions; conditioning on outsize financial expansions does. Risks builds up in a financial boom, and materialise in the subsequent bust.