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Author:Mertens, Elmar 

Discussion Paper
The Expected Real Interest Rate in the Long Run : Time Series Evidence with the Effective Lower Bound

In response to the global financial crisis, the Federal Open Market Committee lowered the target for the federal funds rate to a range of 0 to 25 basis points in December 2008, and maintained that target range until the end of 2015. Over that same period, longer-term interest rates in the United States were at historically low levels.
FEDS Notes , Paper 2016-02-09

Working Paper
Modeling Time-Varying Uncertainty of Multiple-Horizon Forecast Errors

We develop uncertainty measures for point forecasts from surveys such as the Survey of Professional Forecasters, Blue Chip, or the Federal Open Market Committee?s Summary of Economic Projections. At a given point of time, these surveys provide forecasts for macroeconomic variables at multiple horizons. To track time-varying uncertainty in the associated forecast errors, we derive a multiple-horizon specification of stochastic volatility. Compared to constant-variance approaches, our stochastic-volatility model improves the accuracy of uncertainty measures for survey forecasts.
Working Papers (Old Series) , Paper 1715

Working Paper
Modeling Time-Varying Uncertainty of Multiple-Horizon Forecast Errors

We estimate uncertainty measures for point forecasts obtained from survey data, pooling information embedded in observed forecast errors for different forecast horizons. To track time-varying uncertainty in the associated forecast errors, we derive a multiple-horizon specification of stochastic volatility. We apply our method to forecasts for various macroeconomic variables from the Survey of Professional Forecasters. Compared to constant variance approaches, our stochastic volatility model improves the accuracy of uncertainty measures for survey forecasts. Our method can also be applied to ...
Working Papers , Paper 201715R

Working Paper
Measuring Uncertainty and Its Effects in the COVID-19 Era

We measure the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak on macroeconomic and financial uncertainty, and we assess the consequences of the latter for key economic variables. We use a large, heteroskedastic vector autoregression (VAR) in which the error volatilities share two common factors, interpreted as macro and financial uncertainty, in addition to idiosyncratic components. Macro and financial uncertainty are allowed to contemporaneously affect the macroeconomy and financial conditions, with changes in the common component of the volatilities providing contemporaneous identifying information on ...
Working Papers , Paper 202032

Working Paper
Addressing COVID-19 Outliers in BVARs with Stochastic Volatility

Incoming data in 2020 posed sizable challenges for the use of VARs in economic analysis: Enormous movements in a number of series have had strong effects on parameters and forecasts constructed with standard VAR methods. We propose the use of VAR models with time-varying volatility that include a treatment of the COVID extremes as outlier observations. Typical VARs with time-varying volatility assume changes in uncertainty to be highly persistent. Instead, we adopt an outlier-adjusted stochastic volatility (SV) model for VAR residuals that combines transitory and persistent changes in ...
Working Papers , Paper 202102

Working Paper
Forecasting with Shadow-Rate VARs

Interest rate data are an important element of macroeconomic forecasting. Projections of future interest rates are not only an important product themselves, but also typically matter for forecasting other macroeconomic and financial variables. A popular class of forecasting models is linear vector autoregressions (VARs) that include shorter- and longer-term interest rates. However, in a number of economies, at least shorter-term interest rates have now been stuck for years at or near their effective lower bound (ELB), with longer-term rates drifting toward the constraint as well. In such an ...
Working Papers , Paper 202109

Working Paper
Measuring the level and uncertainty of trend inflation

Firmly-anchored inflation expectations are widely viewed as playing a central role in the successful conduct of monetary policy. This paper presents estimates of trend inflation, based on information contained in survey expectations, the term structure of interest rates, and realized inflation rates. My application combines a variety of data sources at the monthly frequency and it can flexibly handle missing data arising from infrequent observations and limited data availability. In order to assess whether inflation expectations are anchored, uncertainty surrounding future changes in trend ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2011-42

Working Paper
A Time Series Model of Interest Rates With the Effective Lower Bound

Modeling interest rates over samples that include the Great Recession requires taking stock of the effective lower bound (ELB) on nominal interest rates. We propose a flexible time? series approach which includes a ?shadow rate??a notional rate that is less than the ELB during the period in which the bound is binding?without imposing no?arbitrage assumptions.{{p}}The approach allows us to estimate the behavior of trend real rates as well as expected future interest rates in recent years.
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2016-033

Working Paper
Are spectral estimators useful for implementing long-run restrictions in SVARs?

No, not really, since spectral estimators suffer from small sample and misspecification biases just as VARs do. Spectral estimators are no panacea for implementing long-run restrictions. ; In addition, when combining VAR coefficients with non-parametric estimates of the spectral density, care needs to be taken to consistently account for information embedded in the non-parametric estimates about serial correlation in VAR residuals. This paper uses a spectral factorization to ensure a correct representation of the data's variance. But this cannot overcome the fundamental problems of estimating ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2010-09

Working Paper
Structural shocks and the comovements between output and interest rates

Stylized facts on U.S. output and interest rates have so far proved hard to match with DSGE models. But model predictions hinge on the joint specification of economic structure and a set of driving processes. In a model, different shocks often induce different comovements, such that the overall pattern depends as much on the specified transmission mechanisms from shocks to outcomes, as well as on the composition of these driving processes. I estimate covariances between output, nominal and real interest rate conditional on several shocks, since such evidence has largely been lacking in ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2010-21

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