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Jel Classification:E17 

A Parsimonious Behavioral SEIR Model of the 2020 COVID Epidemic in the United States and the United Kingdom

I present a behavioral epidemiological model of the evolution of the COVID epidemic in the United States and the United Kingdom over the past 12 months. The model includes the introduction of a new, more contagious variant in the UK in early fall and the US in mid December. The model is behavioral in that activity, and thus transmission, responds endogenously to the daily death rate. I show that with only seasonal variation in the transmission rate and pandemic fatigue modeled as a one-time reduction in the semi-elasticity of the transmission rate to the daily death rate late in the year, the ...
Staff Report , Paper 619

Vulnerable growth

We study the conditional distribution of GDP growth as a function of economic and financial conditions. Deteriorating financial conditions are associated with an increase in the conditional volatility and a decline in the conditional mean of GDP growth, leading the lower quantiles of GDP growth to vary with financial conditions and the upper quantiles to be stable over time: Upside risks to GDP growth are low in most periods while downside risks increase as financial conditions become tighter. We argue that amplification mechanisms in the financial sector generate the observed growth ...
Staff Reports , Paper 794

Working Paper
What's the Story? A New Perspective on the Value of Economic Forecasts

We apply textual analysis tools to measure the degree of optimism versus pessimism of the text that describes Federal Reserve Board forecasts published in the Greenbook. The resulting measure of Greenbook text sentiment, ?Tonality,? is found to be strongly correlated, in the intuitive direction, with the Greenbook point forecast for key economic variables such as unemployment and inflation. We then examine whether Tonality has incremental power for predicting unemployment, GDP growth, and inflation up to four quarters ahead. We find it to have significant and substantive predictive power for ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2017-107

Working Paper
Sequential Bayesian Inference for Vector Autoregressions with Stochastic Volatility

We develop a sequential Monte Carlo (SMC) algorithm for Bayesian inference in vector autoregressions with stochastic volatility (VAR-SV). The algorithm builds particle approximations to the sequence of the model’s posteriors, adapting the particles from one approximation to the next as the window of available data expands. The parallelizability of the algorithm’s computations allows the adaptations to occur rapidly. Our particular algorithm exploits the ability to marginalize many parameters from the posterior analytically and embeds a known Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) algorithm for ...
Working Papers , Paper 19-29

Working Paper
The U.S. oil supply revolution and the global economy

This paper investigates the global macroeconomic consequences of falling oil prices due to the oil revolution in the United States, using a Global VAR model estimated for 38 countries/regions over the period 1979Q2 to 2011Q2. Set-identification of the U.S. oil supply shock is achieved through imposing dynamic sign restrictions on the impulse responses of the model. The results show that there are considerable heterogeneities in the responses of different countries to a U.S. supply-driven oil price shock, with real GDP increasing in both advanced and emerging market oil-importing economies, ...
Globalization Institute Working Papers , Paper 263

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

Working Paper
Understanding the New Normal : The Role of Demographics

Since the onset of the Great Recession, the U.S. economy has experienced low real GDP growth and low real interest rates, including for long maturities. We show that these developments were largely predictable by calibrating an overlapping-generation model with a rich demographic structure to observed and projected changes in U.S. population, family composition, life expectancy, and labor market activity. The model accounts for a 1?percentage point decline in both real GDP growth and the equilibrium real interest rate since 1980?essentially all of the permanent declines in those variables ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2016-080

Deflationary shocks and monetary rules: an open-economy scenario analysis

The paper considers the macroeconomic transmission of demand and supply shocks in an open economy under alternative assumptions about whether the zero interest rate floor (ZIF) is binding. It uses a two-country general-equilibrium simulation model calibrated to the Japanese economy relative to the rest of the world. Negative demand shocks have more prolonged and conspicuous effects on the economy when the ZIF is binding than when it is not binding. Positive supply shocks can actually extend the period of time over which the ZIF may be expected to bind. Economies that are more open hit the ZIF ...
Staff Reports , Paper 267

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 21-02

Working Paper
Evaluating the Conditionality of Judgmental Forecasts

We propose a framework to evaluate the conditionality of forecasts. The crux of our framework is the observation that a forecast is conditional if revisions to the conditioning factor are faithfully incorporated into the remainder of the forecast. We consider whether the Greenbook, Blue Chip, and the Survey of Professional Forecasters exhibit systematic biases in the manner in which they incorporate interest rate projections into the forecasts of other macroeconomic variables. We do not find strong evidence of systematic biases in the three economic forecasts that we consider, as the interest ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2019-002


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