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Author:Mitchell, James 

Working Paper
Constructing Density Forecasts from Quantile Regressions: Multimodality in Macro-Financial Dynamics

Quantile regression methods are increasingly used to forecast tail risks and uncertainties in macroeconomic outcomes. This paper reconsiders how to construct predictive densities from quantile regressions. We compare a popular two-step approach that fits a specific parametric density to the quantile forecasts with a nonparametric alternative that lets the "data speak." Simulation evidence and an application revisiting GDP growth uncertainties in the US demonstrate the flexibility of the nonparametric approach when constructing density forecasts from both frequentist and Bayesian quantile ...
Working Papers , Paper 22-12R

Working Paper
Using stochastic hierarchical aggregation constraints to nowcast regional economic aggregates

Recent decades have seen advances in using econometric methods to produce more timely and higher-frequency estimates of economic activity at the national level, enabling better tracking of the economy in real time. These advances have not generally been replicated at the sub–national level, likely because of the empirical challenges that nowcasting at a regional level presents, notably, the short time series of available data, changes in data frequency over time, and the hierarchical structure of the data. This paper develops a mixed– frequency Bayesian VAR model to address common ...
Working Papers , Paper 22-06

Working Paper
Communicating Data Uncertainty: Multi-Wave Experimental Evidence for UK GDP

Economic statistics are commonly published without any explicit indication of their uncertainty. To assess if and how the UK public interprets and understands data uncertainty, we conduct two waves of a randomized controlled online experiment. A control group is presented with the headline point estimate of GDP, as emphasized by the statistical office. Treatment groups are then presented with alternative qualitative and quantitative communications of GDP data uncertainty. We find that most of the public understands that uncertainty is inherent in official GDP numbers. But communicating ...
Working Papers , Paper 21-28

Working Paper
Reconciled Estimates of Monthly GDP in the US

In the US, income and expenditure-side estimates of GDP (GDPI and GDPE) measure "true" GDP with error and are available at a quarterly frequency. Methods exist for using these proxies to produce reconciled quarterly estimates of true GDP. In this paper, we extend these methods to provide reconciled historical true GDP estimates at a monthly frequency. We do this using a Bayesian mixed frequency vector autoregression (MF-VAR) involving GDPE, GDPI, unobserved true GDP, and monthly indicators of short-term economic activity. Our MF-VAR imposes restrictions that reflect a measurement-error ...
Working Papers , Paper 22-01

Journal Article
A New Measure of Consumers’ (In)Attention to Inflation

Since the onset of the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) pandemic in March 2020, the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland has been running a daily survey that asks consumers for their views on how they are responding to COVID-19 and how COVID-19 is likely to affect the economy. Among the many questions asked, the survey solicits consumers’ inflation expectations. This is an important data set given that such expectations, while affected by current and past inflation, have long been believed to influence future inflation. In this Commentary, we use these daily expectations data to propose a new measure of ...
Economic Commentary , Volume 2022 , Issue 14 , Pages 7

Working Paper
The Effects of Interest Rate Increases on Consumers' Inflation Expectations: The Roles of Informedness and Compliance

We study how monetary policy communications associated with increasing the federal funds rate causally affect consumers' inflation expectations. In a large-scale, multi-wave randomized controlled trial (RCT), we find weak evidence on average that communicating policy changes lowers consumers' medium-term inflation expectations. However, information differs systematically across demographic groups, in terms of ex ante informedness about monetary policy and ex post compliance with the information treatment. Monetary policy communications have a much stronger effect on people who had not ...
Working Papers , Paper 24-01

Working Paper
Constructing Density Forecasts from Quantile Regressions: Multimodality in Macro-Financial Dynamics

Quantile regression methods are increasingly used to forecast tail risks and uncertainties in macroeconomic outcomes. This paper reconsiders how to construct predictive densities from quantile regressions. We compare a popular two-step approach that fits a specific parametric density to the quantile forecasts with a nonparametric alternative that lets the 'data speak.' Simulation evidence and an application revisiting GDP growth uncertainties in the US demonstrate the flexibility of the nonparametric approach when constructing density forecasts from both frequentist and Bayesian quantile ...
Working Papers , Paper 22-12

Working Paper
Bayesian Modeling of Time-Varying Parameters Using Regression Trees

In light of widespread evidence of parameter instability in macroeconomic models, many time-varying parameter (TVP) models have been proposed. This paper proposes a nonparametric TVP-VAR model using Bayesian additive regression trees (BART). The novelty of this model stems from the fact that the law of motion driving the parameters is treated nonparametrically. This leads to great flexibility in the nature and extent of parameter change, both in the conditional mean and in the conditional variance. In contrast to other nonparametric and machine learning methods that are black box, inference ...
Working Papers , Paper 23-05

Working Paper
Censored Density Forecasts: Production and Evaluation

This paper develops methods for the production and evaluation of censored density forecasts. The focus is on censored density forecasts that quantify forecast risks in a middle region of the density covering a specified probability, and ignore the magnitude but not the frequency of outlying observations. We propose a fixed-point algorithm that fits a potentially skewed and fat-tailed density to the inner observations, acknowledging that the outlying observations may be drawn from a different but unknown distribution. We also introduce a new test for calibration of censored density forecasts. ...
Working Papers , Paper 21-12R

Working Paper
Censored Density Forecasts: Production and Evaluation

This paper develops methods for the production and evaluation of censored density forecasts. Censored density forecasts quantify forecast risks in a middle region of the density covering a specified probability, and ignore the magnitude but not the frequency of outlying observations. We propose a new estimator that fits a potentially skewed and fat-tailed density to the inner observations, acknowledging that the outlying observations may be drawn from a different but unknown distribution. We also introduce a new test for calibration of censored density forecasts. An application using ...
Working Papers , Paper 21-12

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