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Jel Classification:F17 

Working Paper
Is China fudging its figures? Evidence from trading partner data

How reliable are China?s GDP and other data? We address this question by using trading-partner exports to China as an independent measure of its economic activity from 2000-2014. We find that the information content of Chinese GDP improves markedly after 2008. We also consider a number of plausible, non-GDP indicators of economic activity that have been identified as alternative Chinese output measures. We find that activity factors based on the first principal component of sets of indicators are substantially more informative than GDP alone. The index that best matches activity in-sample ...
Working Paper Series , Paper 2015-12

Working Paper
The Accuracy of Forecasts Prepared for the Federal Open Market Committee

We analyze forecasts of consumption, nonresidential investment, residential investment, government spending, exports, imports, inventories, gross domestic product, inflation, and unemployment prepared by the staff of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System for meetings of the Federal Open Market Committee from 1997 to 2008, called the Greenbooks. We compare the root mean squared error, mean absolute error, and the proportion of directional errors of Greenbook forecasts of these macroeconomic indicators to the errors from three forecasting benchmarks: a random walk, a first-order ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2015-62

Working Paper
Cyclically Adjusted Current Account Balances

The Great Financial Crisis coincided with a sizable reduction in global external imbalances, defined as the absolute value of the sum of individual country current account surpluses and deficits relative to global GDP. Although current account balances should not respond to a downturn that is uniform across countries, one that hits countries with current account deficits harder than those with surpluses might result in a decline in the global balance. This paper quantifies the cyclical portion of the current account balance for 35 countries using estimates of the severity of the cycle in each ...
International Finance Discussion Papers , Paper 1126

Report
Quantitative Trade Models: Developments and Challenges

Applied general equilibrium (AGE) models, which feature multiple countries or regions, multiple sectors, and input-output linkages across sectors in a Walrasian general equilibrium framework, have been the dominant tool for evaluating the impact of trade liberalization since the 1980s. We provide an overview of the historical development of AGE models and a guide as to how they are used to perform policy analysis. We then review and document shortcomings in the performance of AGE models in predicting the sectoral effects of past trade reforms, that is, we show that AGE models often perform ...
Staff Report , Paper 537

Working Paper
Equilibrium Sovereign Default with Exchange Rate Depreciation

This study proposes and quantitatively assesses a terms-of-trade penalty for defaulting: defaulters must exchange more of their own goods for imports, which causes an adjustment to the equilibrium exchange rate. This penalty can take the place of an ad hoc fall in output: Facing only this penalty and temporary exclusion from debt markets, countries are willing to maintain borrowing obligations up to a realistic level of debt. The terms-of-trade penalty is consistent with the observed relationship between sovereign default and a country's trade flows and prices. The defaulter's currency ...
Working Papers , Paper 2014-49

Working Paper
Forecasting Foreign Economic Growth Using Cross-Country Data

We construct a monthly measure of foreign economic growth based on a wide range of cross-county indicators. Unlike GDP data, which are normally released with a delay of one to two quarters in most countries, our monthly measure incorporates monthly information up to the current month. As new information arrives, this measure of foreign growth can be updated as frequently as daily. This monthly measure of foreign growth not only helps gauge the economic conditions in other countries but also provides a timely measure of foreign demand to help forecast U.S. export growth.
Research Working Paper , Paper RWP 18-14

Working Paper
Gains from Trade: Does Sectoral Heterogeneity Matter?

This paper assesses the quantitative importance of including sectoral heterogeneity in computing the gains from trade. Our framework draws from Caliendo and Parro (2015) and Alvarez and Lucas (2007) and has sectoral heterogeneity along five dimensions, including the elasticity of trade to trade costs, the value-added share, and the input-output structure. The key parameter we estimate is the sectoral trade elasticity, and we use the Simonovska and Waugh (2014) simulated method of moments estimator with micro price data. Our estimates range from 2.97 to 8.94, considerably lower than those ...
Globalization Institute Working Papers , Paper 341

Journal Article
Forecasting Current-Quarter U.S.Exports Using Satellite Data

Forecasting export growth can be challenging. Export growth depends heavily on demand from foreign countries, which is difficult to directly measure. In practice, forecasters usually use growth in foreign gross domestic product. But GDP data are released with a significant delay, and in some economies, GDP is poorly measured. Nighttime lights data from satellites are able to overcome both of these challenges, making them potentially useful in forecasting U.S. exports. {{p}} Jun Nie and Amy Oksol use nighttime lights data to forecast current-quarter U.S. export growth and compare their ...
Economic Review , Issue Q II , Pages 5-24

Working Paper
Artificial Intelligence Methods for Evaluating Global Trade Flows

International trade policies remain in the spotlight given the recent rethink on the benefits of globalization by major economies. Since trade critically affects employment, production, prices and wages, understanding and predicting future patterns of trade is a high-priority for decision making within and across countries. While traditional economic models aim to be reliable predictors, we consider the possibility that Artificial Intelligence (AI) techniques allow for better predictions and associations to inform policy decisions. Moreover, we outline contextual AI methods to decipher trade ...
International Finance Discussion Papers , Paper 1296

Working Paper
A Global Trade Model for the Euro Area

We propose a model for analyzing euro area trade based on the interaction between macroeconomic and trade variables. First, we show that macroeconomic variables are necessary to generate accurate short-term trade forecasts; this result can be explained by the high correlation between trade and macroeconomic variables, with the latter being released in a more timely manner. Second, the model tracks well the dynamics of trade variables conditional on the path of macroeconomic variables during the great recession; this result makes our model a reliable tool for scenario analysis. Third, we ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2015-13

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