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Jel Classification:C22 

Changing risk-return profiles

We show that realized volatility, especially the realized volatility of financial sector stock returns, has strong predictive content for the future distribution of market returns. This is a robust feature of the last century of U.S. data and, most importantly, can be exploited in real time. Current realized volatility has the most information content on the uncertainty of future returns, whereas it has only limited content about the location of the future return distribution. When volatility is low, the predicted distribution of returns is less dispersed and probabilistic forecasts are ...
Staff Reports , Paper 850

Excess volatility of exchange rates with unobservable fundamentals

We present tests of excess volatility of exchange rates that impose minimal structure on the data and do not commit to a choice of exchange rate "fundamentals." Our method builds on existing volatility tests of asset prices, combining them with a procedure that extracts unobservable fundamentals from survey-based exchange rate expectations. We apply our method to data for the three major exchange rates since 1984 and find broad evidence of excess volatility with respect to the predictions of the canonical asset-pricing model of the exchange rate with rational expectations.
Staff Reports , Paper 103

Real-time inflation forecasting in a changing world

This paper revisits the accuracy of inflation forecasting using activity and expectations variables. We apply Bayesian-model averaging across different regression specifications selected from a set of potential predictors that includes lagged values of inflation, a host of real activity data, term structure data, nominal data, and surveys. In this model average, we can entertain different channels of structural instability by incorporating stochastic breaks in the regression parameters of each individual specification within this average, allowing for breaks in the error variance of the ...
Staff Reports , Paper 388

Forecasting Macroeconomic Risks

We construct risks around consensus forecasts of real GDP growth, unemployment, and inflation. We find that risks are time-varying, asymmetric, and partly predictable. Tight financial conditions forecast downside growth risk, upside unemployment risk, and increased uncertainty around the inflation forecast. Growth vulnerability arises as the conditional mean and conditional variance of GDP growth are negatively correlated: downside risks are driven by lower mean and higher variance when financial conditions tighten. Similarly, employment vulnerability arises as the conditional mean and ...
Staff Reports , Paper 914

Uncertainty about Trade Policy Uncertainty

We revisit in this note the macroeconomic impact of the recent rise in trade policy uncertainty. As in the literature, we do find that high trade policy uncertainty can adversely impact domestic and foreign economic activity. In addition, we identify an alternative business sentiment channel that is separate and distinct from the impact of trade policy uncertainty, which provides a complementary explanation of the recent developments in the U.S. and global economic activities. This sentiment channel also implies that subsiding trade policy uncertainty does not necessarily result in a recovery ...
Staff Reports , Paper 919

Term Structures of Inflation Expectations and Real Interest Rates: The Effects of Unconventional Monetary Policy

Inflation expectations have recently received increased interest because of the uncertainty created by the Federal Reserve?s unprecedented reaction to the Great Recession. The effect of this reaction on the real economy is also an important topic. In this paper I use various surveys to produce a term structure of inflation expectations ? inflation expectations at any horizon from 3 to 120 months ? and an associated term structure of real interest rates. Inflation expectations extracted from this model track actual (ex-post) realizations of inflation quite well, and in terms of forecast ...
Staff Report , Paper 502

Working Paper
Binary Conditional Forecasts

While conditional forecasting has become prevalent both in the academic literature and in practice (e.g., bank stress testing, scenario forecasting), its applications typically focus on continuous variables. In this paper, we merge elements from the literature on the construction and implementation of conditional forecasts with the literature on forecasting binary variables. We use the Qual-VAR [Dueker (2005)], whose joint VAR-probit structure allows us to form conditional forecasts of the latent variable which can then be used to form probabilistic forecasts of the binary variable. We apply ...
Working Papers , Paper 2019-29

Working Paper
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 ...
Working Papers , Paper 2015-30

Journal Article
A Macroeconomic News Index for Constructing Nowcasts of U.S. Real Gross Domestic Product Growth

Analyzing the performance of the economy in real time is a challenge for those who must forecast macroeconomic variables such as inflation or employment. A key aspect of this challenge is evaluating the incoming flow of information contained in economic announcements. In this article, the authors develop a simple-to-read index of these announcements that they then use to construct nowcasts. The index tracks whether key economic data have come in stronger, weaker, or as expected during the current quarter relative to a baseline consensus forecast. Specifically, the data releases are weighted ...
Review , Volume 98 , Issue 4 , Pages 277-296

Journal Article
Comparing Measures of Potential Output

One of the goals of stabilization policy is to reduce the output gap?the difference between potential and actual output?during downturns. Potential output, however, is an unobserved variable whose definition can vary. For example, some view potential output as the level of output that can be produced when employment is at the natural rate. Others use trend measures of output to measure potential. We survey some of these measures using both full-sample data (all of the data that would be available through June 2017) and real-time data (the actual data that would have been available at ...
Review , Volume 100 , Issue 4 , Pages 297-316


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