The Accuracy of Forecasts Prepared for the Federal Open Market Committee
We analyze forecasts of consumption, nonresidential investment, residential investment, government spending, exports, imports, inventories, gross domestic product, inflation, and unemployment prepared by the staff of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System for meetings of the Federal Open Market Committee from 1997 to 2008, called the Greenbooks. We compare the root mean squared error, mean absolute error, and the proportion of directional errors of Greenbook forecasts of these macroeconomic indicators to the errors from three forecasting benchmarks: a random walk, a first-order ...
Tax Policy Endogeneity: Evidence from R&D Tax Credits
Because policymakers may consider the state of the economy when setting taxes, endogeneity bias can arise in regression models that estimate relationships between economic variables and taxes. This paper quantifies the policy endogeneity bias and estimates the impact of R&D tax incentives on R&D expenditures at the U.S. state level. Identifying tax variation comes from changes in federal corporate tax laws that heterogeneously impact state-level R&D tax incentives due to the simultaneity of state and federal corporate taxes. With this exogenous variation, my preferred estimates indicate a 1 ...
Raiders of the Lost High-Frequency Forecasts: New Data and Evidence on the Efficiency of the Fed's Forecasting
We introduce a new dataset of real gross domestic product (GDP) growth and core personal consumption expenditures (PCE) inflation forecasts produced by the staff of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. In contrast to the eight Greenbook forecasts a year the staff produces for Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meetings, our dataset has roughly weekly forecasts. We use these new data to study whether the staff forecasts efficiently and whether efficiency, or lack thereof, is time-varying. Prespecified regressions of forecast errors on forecast revisions show that the staff's ...
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 ...
Greater Wealth, Greater Uncertainty: Changes in Racial Inequality in the Survey of Consumer Finances
We document racial disparities in financial well-being in the 2022 Survey of Consumer Finances. The typical White family had about six times as much wealth as the typical Black family, and five times as much as the typical Hispanic family.
Comparing Cross-Country Estimates of Lorenz Curves Using a Dirichlet Distribution Across Estimators and Datasets
Chotikapanich and Griffiths (2002) introduced the Dirichlet distribution to the estimation of Lorenz curves. This distribution naturally accommodates the proportional nature of income share data and the dependence structure between the shares. Chotikapanich and Griffiths (2002) fit a family of five Lorenz curves to one year of Swedish and Brazilian income share data using unconstrained maximum likelihood and unconstrained non-linear least squares. We attempt to replicate the authors' results and extend their analyses using both constrained estimation techniques and five additional years of ...
Politicians Avoid Tax Increases Around Elections
We use new annual data on gasoline taxes and corporate income taxes from U.S. states to analyze whether politicians avoid tax increases in election years. These data contain 3 useful attributes: (1) when state politicians enact tax laws, (2) when state politicians implement tax laws on consumers and firms, and (3) the size of tax changes. Using a pre-analysis research plan that includes regressions of tax rate changes and tax enactment years on time-to-gubernatorial election year indicators, we find that elections decrease the probability of politicians enacting increases in taxes and reduce ...
Banking Consolidation and Small Firm Financing for Research and Development
This paper examines the effect of increased market concentration of the banking industry caused by the Riegle-Neal Interstate Banking and Branching Efficiency Act (IBBEA) on the availability of finance for small firms engaged in research and development (R&D). I measure the financing decisions of these small firms using a balanced panel of Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) applications. Using difference-in-differences, I find IBBEA decreased the supply of finance for small R&D firms. This effect is larger for late adopters of IBBEA, which tended to be states with stronger small ...
Measurement Error in Macroeconomic Data and Economics Research: Data Revisions, Gross Domestic Product, and Gross Domestic Income
We analyze the effect of measurement error in macroeconomic data on economics research using two features of the estimates of latent US output produced by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). First, we use the fact that the BEA publishes two theoretically identical estimates of latent US output that only differ due to measurement error: the more well-known gross domestic product (GDP), which the BEA constructs using expenditure data, and gross domestic income (GDI), which the BEA constructs using income data. Second, we use BEA revisions to previously published releases of GDP and GDI. ...