The parts are more than the whole: separating goods and services to predict core inflation
Economists have not been altogether successful in their efforts to forecast ?core? inflation?an inflation measure that typically excludes volatile food and energy prices. One possible explanation is that the models used to make these forecasts fail to distinguish the forces influencing price changes in core services from those affecting price changes in core goods. While core services inflation depends on long-run inflation expectations and the degree of slack in the labor market, core goods inflation depends on short-run inflation expectations and import prices. By using a composite model ...
Inflation: Drivers and Dynamics | 2019 CEBRA Annual Meeting Session Summary
The relationship between the Phillips curve and inflation has become weaker over time, producing questions regarding how policymakers might connect inflation to the rest of the economy. Presentations given during the “Inflation: Drivers and Dynamics” session of the Central Bank Research Association’s annual meeting focused on the intersection of monetary policy and inflation dynamics to examine the ways in which policy might impact inflation and related expectations and processes. This Economic Commentary summarizes the papers presented during this session.
A Closer Look at the Behavior of Uncertainty and Disagreement: Micro Evidence from the Euro Area
This paper examines point and density forecasts of real GDP growth, inflation and unemployment from the European Central Bank?s Survey of Professional Forecasters. We present individual uncertainty measures and introduce individual point- and density-based measures of disagreement. The data indicate substantial heterogeneity and persistence in respondents? uncertainty and disagreement, with uncertainty associated with prominent respondent effects and disagreement associated with prominent time effects. We also examine the co-movement between uncertainty and disagreement and find an ...
Understanding the recent behavior of U.S. inflation
One of the most surprising features of the long current expansion has been the decline in price inflation through the late 1990s. Some observers interpret the decline as evidence of a permanent change in the relationship between inflation and economic growth. But an analysis based on a standard forecasting model suggests that conventional economic factors_most notably, a decrease in import prices_can account for the low inflation rates in recent years.
The linkage between regional economic indexes and tax bases: evidence from New York
This paper examines the linkage between economic activity and tax revenues for New York State and New York City. Drawing upon the methodology of Stock and Watson, we use a dynamic single-factor model to estimate indexes of coincident economic indicators. We also construct measures of the sales and withholding tax bases. To conduct an empirical analysis of the relationship between the indexes of economic activity and the tax base series, we use vector autoregression and error correction models. The results provide strong evidence that the coincident indexes contain useful information for ...
Tracking productivity in real time
Because volatile short-term movements in productivity growth obscure the underlying trend, shifts in this trend may go unrecognized for years - a lag that can lead to policy mistakes and hence economic instability. This study develops a model for tracking productivity that brings in additional variables to help reveal the trend. The model's success is evident in its ability to detect changes in trend productivity within a year or two of their occurrence. Currently, the model indicates that the underlying trend remains strong despite recent weak productivity data.
Tracking the new economy: using growth theory to detect changes in trend productivity
The acceleration of productivity since 1995 has prompted a debate over whether the economy's underlying growth rate will remain high. In this paper, we propose a methodology for estimating trend growth that draws on growth theory to identify variables other than productivity namely consumption and labor compensation to help estimate trend productivity growth. We treat that trend as a common factor with two "regimes," high-growth and low-growth. Our analysis picks up striking evidence of a switch in the mid-1990s to a higher long-term growth regime, as well as a switch in the early 1970s in ...
Is there an inflation puzzle?
Why has U.S. inflation failed to accelerate despite six years of continuing economic expansion. The authors investigate whether compensation growth has played a role, either as a temporary restraint on inflation or as the underlying source of a new inflation regime. They offer two pieces of evidence suggesting that compensation growth has in fact acted as a temporary curb on rising prices. First, they show that the forecasting performance of a traditional Phillips curve model begins to break down in late 1993. When a measure of compensation growth is incorporated, however, the stability of ...
The relationship between expected inflation, disagreement, and uncertainty: evidence from matched point and density forecasts
This paper examines matched point and density forecasts of inflation from the Survey of Professional Forecasters to analyze the relationship between expected inflation, disagreement, and uncertainty. We extend previous studies through our data construction and estimation methodology. Specifically, we derive measures of disagreement and uncertainty by using a decomposition proposed in earlier research by Wallis and by applying the concept of entropy from information theory. We also undertake the empirical analysis within a seemingly unrelated regression framework. Our results offer mixed ...
The Long and Short of It: The Impact of Unemployment Duration on Compensation Growth
How tight is the labor market? The unemployment rate is down substantially from its October 2009 peak, but two-thirds of the decline is due to people dropping out of the labor force. In addition, an unusually large share of the unemployed has been out of work for twenty-seven weeks or more?the long-duration unemployed. These statistics suggest that there remains a great deal of slack in U.S. labor markets, which should be putting downward pressure on labor compensation. Instead, compensation growth has moved modestly higher since 2009. A potential explanation is that the long-duration ...