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Real-Time Forecasting with a Large, Mixed Frequency, Bayesian VAR
We assess point and density forecasts from a mixed-frequency vector autoregression (VAR) to obtain intra-quarter forecasts of output growth as new information becomes available. The econometric model is specified at the lowest sampling frequency; high frequency observations are treated as different economic series occurring at the low frequency. We impose restrictions on the VAR to account explicitly for the temporal ordering of the data releases. Because this type of data stacking results in a high-dimensional system, we rely on Bayesian shrinkage to mitigate parameter proliferation. The ...
The local effects of monetary policy
Previous studies have documented disparities in the regional responses to monetary policy shocks; this variation has been found to depend, in part, on differences in the industrial composition of the regional economies. However, because of computational issues, the literature has often neglected the richest level of disaggregation: the city. In this paper, we estimate the city-level responses to monetary policy shocks in a Bayesian VAR. The Bayesian VAR allows us to model the entire panel of metropolitan areas through the imposition of a shrinkage prior. We then seek the origin of the ...
Output and unemployment: how do they relate today?
Fifty years ago, Arthur Okun examined the relationship between output growth and the unemployment rate. The empirical relationship of the resulting ?Okun?s law? has remained largely intact since then, including during the Great Recession. However, while the law does fit our intuition about economic relationships, it should not necessarily be taken to be causal.
Okun’s law over the business cycle: was the great recession all that different?
In 1962, Arthur Okun posited an empirical relationship between the change in the unemployment rate and real output growth. Since then, the media, policymakers, pundits, and intermediate macro students have used the so-called Okun?s law as a rule of thumb to relate changes in unemployment to changes in output growth. However, some studies have suggested that the relationship has not been stable over time. Furthermore, the slow recovery of U.S. unemployment relative to output after the Great Recession has led some to question whether Okun?s law has changed permanently. In this light, the ...
Has the Information Channel of Monetary Policy Disappeared? Revisiting the Empirical Evidence
Does the Federal Reserve have an “information advantage” in forecasting macroeconomic variables beyond what is known to private sector forecasters? And are market participants reacting only to monetary policy shocks or also to future information on the state of the economy that the Federal Reserve communicates in its announcements via an “information channel”? This paper investigates the evolution of the information channel over time. Although the information channel appears to be important historically, we find no empirical evidence of its presence in the recent years once ...
The Fog of Numbers
In times of economic turbulence, revisions to GDP data can be sizable, which makes conducting economic policy in real time during a crisis more difficult. A simple model based on Okun’s law can help refine the advance data release of real GDP growth to provide an improved reading of economic activity in real time. Applying this to data from the Great Recession explains some of the massive GDP revisions at that time. This could provide a guide for possible revisions to GDP releases during the current coronavirus crisis.