Gathering insights on the forest from the trees: a new metric for financial conditions
By incorporating the Harvey accumulator into the large approximate dynamic factor framework of Doz et al. (2006), we are able to construct a coincident index of financial conditions from a large unbalanced panel of mixed frequency financial indicators. We relate our financial conditions index, or FCI, to the concept of a "financial crisis" using Markov-switching techniques. After demonstrating the ability of the index to capture "crisis" periods in U.S. financial history, we present several policy-geared threshold rules for the FCI using Receiver Operator Characteristics (ROC) curve analysis.
The Chicago Fed DSGE model
The Chicago Fed dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) model is used for policy analysis and forecasting at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. This article describes its specification and estimation, its dynamic characteristics and how it is used to forecast the US economy. In many respects the model resembles other medium scale New Keynesian frameworks, but there are several features which distinguish it: the monetary policy rule includes forward guidance, productivity is driven by neutral and investment specific technical change, multiple price indices identify inflation and there ...
Forecasting Economic Activity with Mixed Frequency Bayesian VARs
Mixed frequency Bayesian vector autoregressions (MF-BVARs) allow forecasters to incorporate a large number of mixed frequency indicators into forecasts of economic activity. This paper evaluates the forecast performance of MF-BVARs relative to surveys of professional forecasters and investigates the influence of certain specification choices on this performance. We leverage a novel real-time dataset to conduct an out-of-sample forecasting exercise for U.S. real gross domestic product (GDP). MF-BVARs are shown to provide an attractive alternative to surveys of professional forecasters for ...
Federal Reserve policies and financial market conditions during the crisis
During the recent financial crisis, the Federal Reserve implemented a series of extraordinary and unconventional policies to alleviate the impact of the crisis on financial markets and the economy. In this paper, we examine the effects of these policies on broad financial market conditions, explicitly taking into account that policy was endogenously determined in response to prevailing financial market and economic conditions. We find that the Fed was more likely to initiate or expand new programs when financial market conditions were tighter than usual and economic conditions deteriorating. ...
Predicting Benchmarked US State Employment Data in Realtime
US payroll employment data come from a survey of nonfarm business establishments and are therefore subject to revisions. While the revisions are generally small at the national level, they can be large enough at the state level to substantially alter assessments of current economic conditions. Researchers and policymakers must therefore exercise caution in interpreting state employment data until they are "benchmarked" against administrative data on the universe of workers some 5 to 16 months after the reference period. This paper develops and tests a state space model that predicts ...
Monitoring financial stability: a financial conditions index approach
Monitoring financial stability requires an understanding of both how traditional and evolving financial markets relate to each other and how they relate to economic conditions. This article describes two new indexes of financial conditions that aim to quantify these relationships.
In search of a robust inflation forecast
It is difficult to consistently improve upon forecasts of inflation based solely on the most recent data on inflation. In this article, we show how to do so. Our main finding is that the most robust forecasts combine information from several different forecasting models, each of which incorporates the information in the available inflation indicators in different ways.
Nowcasting Using the Chicago Fed National Activity Index
The authors present an alternative version of the Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI), which is constructed using a methodology that allows for a more robust treatment of the underlying data series than its traditional methodology. This alternative CFNAI produces superior predictions of real gross domestic product growth for the current quarter (nowcasts) while correlating more closely with U.S. recessions than the traditional index.
The Chicago Fed Survey of Business Conditions: Quantifying the Seventh District’s Beige Book Report
In this article, the authors describe a new survey methodology used by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in constructing the Seventh District?s Beige Book report called the Chicago Fed Survey of Business Conditions (CFSBC). The design of the survey allows the authors to create a new set of quantitative indexes that track economic activity in real time.
Detecting early signs of financial instability
The authors analyze the usefulness of a new measure of nonfinancial leverage as an early warning indicator for financial instability and its consequences for economic growth.