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Author:Berge, Travis J. 

Working Paper
Which Output Gap Estimates Are Stable in Real Time and Why?

Output gaps that are estimated in real time can differ substantially from those estimated after the fact. We aim to understand the real-time instability of output gap estimates by comparing a suite of reduced-form models. We propose a new statistical decomposition and find that including a Okun’s law relationship improves real-time stability by alleviating the end-point problem. Models that include the unemployment rate also produce output gaps with relevant economic content. However, we find that no model of the output gap is clearly superior to the others along each metric we consider.
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2020-102

Journal Article
Global effects of U.S. monetary policy: is unconventional policy different?

U.S. monetary policy can affect asset prices both in the United States and outside of the country as investors arbitrage away price differentials between assets with similar risk/reward characteristics. Since late 2008, however, the conventional tool for monetary policy in the United States?the federal funds rate?has been near zero. As a result, the Federal Reserve has turned to unconventional monetary policies to provide additional accommodation. These unconventional policies may have altered the response of asset prices to Fed policy. Berge and Cao show that changes in U.S. monetary policy ...
Economic Review , Issue Q I , Pages 5-31

Working Paper
Predicting recessions with leading indicators: model averaging and selection over the business cycle

This paper evaluates the ability of several commonly followed economic indicators to predict business cycle turning points. As a baseline, forecasts from univariate models are combined by taking averages or by weighting forecasts with model-implied posterior probabilities. These combined forecasts are compared to those from a sophisticated model selection algorithm that allows for nonlinear model speci_cations. The preferred forecasting model is one that allows for nonlinear behavior across the business cycle and combines information from the yield curve with other indicators, especially at ...
Research Working Paper , Paper RWP 13-05

Journal Article
The global impact of U.S. monetary policy

Travis Berge and Guangye Cao assess the effects of U.S. monetary policy on asset prices in 50 countries. They find a similar reaction of asset prices to conventional and unconventional monetary policies.
Macro Bulletin

Working Paper
Evaluating the Conditionality of Judgmental Forecasts

We propose a framework to evaluate the conditionality of forecasts. The crux of our framework is the observation that a forecast is conditional if revisions to the conditioning factor are faithfully incorporated into the remainder of the forecast. We consider whether the Greenbook, Blue Chip, and the Survey of Professional Forecasters exhibit systematic biases in the manner in which they incorporate interest rate projections into the forecasts of other macroeconomic variables. We do not find strong evidence of systematic biases in the three economic forecasts that we consider, as the interest ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2019-002

Working Paper
A chronology of international business cycles through non-parametric decoding

This paper introduces a new empirical strategy for the characterization of business cycles. It combines non-parametric decoding methods that classify a series into expansions and recessions but does not require specification of the underlying stochastic process generating the data. It then uses network analysis to combine the signals obtained from different economic indicators to generate a unique chronology. These methods generate a record of peak and trough dates comparable, and in one sense superior, to the NBER's own chronology. The methods are then applied to 22 OECD countries to obtain ...
Research Working Paper , Paper RWP 11-13

Working Paper
A chronology of turning points in economic activity: Spain, 1850-2011

This paper codifies in a systematic and transparent way a historical chronology of business cycle turning points for Spain reaching back to 1850 at annual frequency, and 1939 at monthly frequency. Such an exercise would be incomplete without assessing the new chronology itself and against others ?this we do with modern statistical tools of signal detection theory. We also use these tools to determine which of several existing economic activity indexes provide a better signal on the underlying state of the economy. We conclude by evaluating candidate leading indicators and hence construct ...
Research Working Paper , Paper RWP 11-14

Working Paper
A chronology of turning points in economic activity: Spain 1850-2011

This paper codifies in a systematic and transparent way a historical chronology of business cycle turning points for Spain reaching back to 1850 at annual frequency, and 1939 at monthly frequency. Such an exercise would be incomplete without assessing the new chronology itself and against others ?this we do with modern statistical tools of signal detection theory. We also use these tools to determine which of several existing economic activity indexes provide a better signal on the underlying state of the economy. We conclude by evaluating candidate leading indicators and hence construct ...
Working Paper Series , Paper 2011-28

Working Paper
Duration Dependence, Monetary Policy Asymmetries, and the Business Cycle

We produce business cycle chronologies for U.S. states and evaluate the factors that change the probability of moving from one phase to another. We find strong evidence for positive duration dependence in all business cycle phases but find that the effect is modest relative to other state- and national-level factors. Monetary policy shocks also have a strong influence on the transition probabilities in a highly asymmetric way. The effect of policy shocks depends on the current state of the cycle as well as the sign and size of the shock.
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2019-020

Journal Article
Future recession risks

An unstable economic environment has rekindled talk of a double-dip recession. The Conference Board's Leading Economic Index provides data for predicting the probability of a recession but is limited by the weight assigned to its indicators and the varying efficacy of those indicators over different time horizons. Statistical experiments with LEI data can mitigate these limitations and suggest that a recessionary relapse is a significant possibility sometime in the next two years.
FRBSF Economic Letter

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