Time-Varying Structural Vector Autoregressions and Monetary Policy: a Corrigendum
This note corrects a mistake in the estimation algorithm of the time-varying structural vector autoregression model of Primiceri (2005) and shows how to correctly apply the procedure of Kim, Shephard, and Chib (1998) to the estimation of VAR, DSGE, factor, and unobserved components models with stochastic volatility. Relative to Primiceri (2005), the main difference in the new algorithm is the ordering of the various Markov Chain Monte Carlo steps, with each individual step remaining the same.
Financial Frictions, Financial Shocks, and Aggregate Volatility
I revisit the Great Inflation and the Great Moderation for nominal and real variables. I document an immoderation in corporate balance sheet variables so that the Great Moderation is best described as a period of divergent patterns in volatilities for real, nominal and financial variables. A model with time-varying financial frictions and financial shocks allowing for structural breaks in the size of shocks and the institutional framework is estimated. The paper shows that (i) while the Great Inflation was driven by bad luck, the Great Moderation was mostly due to better institutions; (ii) ...
A Generalized Approach to Indeterminacy in Linear Rational Expectations Models
We propose a novel approach to deal with the problem of indeterminacy in Linear Rational Expectations models. The method consists of augmenting the original state space with a set of auxiliary exogenous equations to provide the adequate number of explosive roots in presence of indeterminacy. The solution in this expanded state space, if it exists, is always determinate, and is identical to the indeterminate solution of the original model. The proposed approach accommodates determinacy and any degree of indeterminacy, and it can be implemented even when the boundaries of the determinacy region ...
Searching for Hysteresis
Recent changes in the U.S. business cycle
The U.S. business cycle expansion that started in March 1991 is the longest on record. This paper uses statistical techniques to examine whether this expansion is a onetime unique event or whether its length is a result of a change in the stability of the U.S. economy. Bayesian methods are used to estimate a common factor model that allows for structural breaks in the dynamics of a wide range of macroeconomic variables. We find strong evidence that a reduction in volatility is common to the series examined. Further, the reduction in volatility implies that future expansions will be ...
Monetary Policy, Self-Fulfilling Expectations and the U.S. Business Cycle
I estimate a medium-scale New-Keynesian model and relax the conventional assumption that the central bank adopted an active monetary policy by pursuing inflation and output stability over the entire post-war period. Even after accounting for a rich structure, I find that monetary policy was passive prior to the Volcker disinflation. Sunspot shocks did not represent quantitatively relevant sources of volatility. By contrast, such passive interest rate policy accommodated fundamental productivity and cost shocks that de-anchored inflation expectations, propagated via self-fulfilling inflation ...
Estimating the Effects of Demographics on Interest Rates: A Robust Bayesian Perspective
There are a vast range of estimates for the effect of demographics on interest rates. I show that these magnitudes are not well-identified without data on capital and life-cycle consumption. However, these data are often omitted. Using nonparametric prior sensitivity analysis for an overlapping generations model estimated through Bayesian methods, I show that without these data, small changes in the prior for the discount rate, intertemporal elasticity of substitution, and capital depreciation rate can shift the posterior quantiles for the effects of demographics by up to 1.5 percentage ...
Financial Nowcasts and Their Usefulness in Macroeconomic Forecasting
Financial data often contain information that is helpful for macroeconomic forecasting, while multistep forecast accuracy also benefits by incorporating good nowcasts of macroeconomic variables. This paper considers the role of nowcasts of financial variables in making conditional forecasts of real and nominal macroeconomic variables using standard quarterly Bayesian vector autoregressions (BVARs). For nowcasting the quarterly value of a variety of financial variables, we document that the average of the available daily data and a daily random walk forecast to fill in the missing days in the ...
Reconciled Estimates of Monthly GDP in the US
In the US, income and expenditure-side estimates of GDP (GDPI and GDPE) measure "true" GDP with error and are available at a quarterly frequency. Methods exist for using these proxies to produce reconciled quarterly estimates of true GDP. In this paper, we extend these methods to provide reconciled historical true GDP estimates at a monthly frequency. We do this using a Bayesian mixed frequency vector autoregression (MF-VAR) involving GDPE, GDPI, unobserved true GDP, and monthly indicators of short-term economic activity. Our MF-VAR imposes restrictions that reflect a measurement-error ...
Escaping the Great Recession
We show that policy uncertainty about how the rising public debt will be stabilized accounts for the lack of deflation in the US economy at the zero lower bound. We first estimate a Markov-switching VAR to highlight that a zero-lower-bound regime captures most of the comovements during the Great Recession: a deep recession, no deflation, and large fiscal imbalances. We then show that a micro-founded model that features policy uncertainty accounts for these stylized facts. Finally, we highlight that policy uncertainty arises at the zero lower bound because of a trade-off between mitigating the ...