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 ...
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 ...
Searching for Hysteresis
Real-Time Forecasting and Scenario Analysis using a Large Mixed-Frequency Bayesian VAR
We use a mixed-frequency vector autoregression to obtain intraquarter point and density forecasts as new, high frequency information becomes available. This model, delineated in Ghysels (2016), is specified at the lowest sampling frequency; high frequency observations are treated as different economic series occurring at the low frequency. As this type of data stacking results in a high-dimensional system, we rely on Bayesian shrinkage to mitigate parameter proliferation. We obtain high-frequency updates to forecasts by treating new data releases as conditioning information. The same ...
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 ...
Incorporating Short Data into Large Mixed-Frequency VARs for Regional Nowcasting
Interest in regional economic issues coupled with advances in administrative data is driving the creation of new regional economic data. Many of these data series could be useful for nowcasting regional economic activity, but they suffer from a short (albeit constantly expanding) time series which makes incorporating them into nowcasting models problematic. Regional nowcasting is already challenging because the release delay on regional data tends to be greater than that at the national level, and "short" data imply a "ragged edge" at both the beginning and the end of regional data sets, ...
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 ...
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.
Searching for Hysteresis
We search for the presence of hysteresis, which we dene as aggregate demand shocks that have a permanent impact on real GDP, in the U.S., the Euro Area, and the U.K. Working with cointegrated structural VARs, we nd essentially no evidence of such effects. Within a Classical statistical framework, it is virtually impossible to detect such shocks. Within a Bayesian context, the presence of these shocks can be mechanically imposed upon the data. However, unless a researcher is willing to impose the restriction that the sign of their long-run impact on GDP is the same for all draws, which amounts ...
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 ...