This study examines the role of the behavioral cycle in the dynamics of economic development. In the economy, there are ongoing imbalances that are associated with different rates of development of economic entities. At the same time, it is not fully clear why a combination of imbalances leads to the onset of a crisis at a certain point of time. The study suggests that the trigger for the onset of any economic crisis is the formation of certain expectations associated with the existence of a behavioral cycle. The dynamics of the behavioral cycle is diverse due to the existence of different types of behavior of economic entities that demonstrate active, adaptive and reactive behavior. The duration and depth of the behavioral cycle depends on the current cultural and educational profile in the country, including the previous experience of economic crises. Changes in economic dynamics occur due to the actions of subjects with an active type of behavior. To ensure the sustainability of economic development, a policy should be implemented to identify and regulate the activities of primarily active-type entities. As a result, economic sustainability should be considered not only from the point of existing structural imbalances, but also from the point of the behavioral factor increasing their negative impact.