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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

Working Paper
Using stochastic hierarchical aggregation constraints to nowcast regional economic aggregates

Recent decades have seen advances in using econometric methods to produce more timely and higher-frequency estimates of economic activity at the national level, enabling better tracking of the economy in real time. These advances have not generally been replicated at the sub–national level, likely because of the empirical challenges that nowcasting at a regional level presents, notably, the short time series of available data, changes in data frequency over time, and the hierarchical structure of the data. This paper develops a mixed– frequency Bayesian VAR model to address common ...
Working Papers , Paper 22-06

Working Paper
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 ...
Working Papers , Paper 22-01

Working Paper
Lessons from Nowcasting GDP across the World

In economics, we need to forecast the present because reliable and comprehensive measures of the state of the economy are released with a substantial delay and considerable measurement error. Nowcasting exploits timely data to obtain early estimates of the state of the economy and updates these estimates continuously as new macroeconomic data are released. In this chapter, we describe how the framework used to nowcast GDP has evolved and is applied worldwide.
International Finance Discussion Papers , Paper 1385

Discussion Paper
Monitoring Economic Conditions during a Government Shutdown

The recent partial shutdown of the federal government has disrupted publication schedules for many U.S. Census Bureau and Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) data releases. Most notably, the release of GDP for the fourth quarter of 2018—originally scheduled for January 30—has been postponed indefinitely. Even without the full slate of Census Bureau and BEA releases, forecasters have continued to make predictions for 2018:Q4 GDP growth; as of February 1, the New York Fed Staff Nowcast stands at 2.6 percent, the Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow stands at 2.5 percent, and the Blue Chip Financial ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20190205

Working Paper
The Importance of Updating: Evidence from a Brazilian Nowcasting Model

How often should we update predictions for economic activity? Gross domestic product is a quarterly variable disseminated usually a couple of months after the end of the quarter, but many other macroeconomic indicators are released with a higher frequency, and financial markets react very strongly to them. However, most of the professional forecasters, including the IMF, the OECD, and most central banks, tend to update their forecasts of economic activity only two to four times a year. The main exception is the Central Bank of Brazil which is responsible for collecting and publishing a daily ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2014-94

Working Paper
Forecasting Economic Activity with Mixed Frequency Bayesian VARs

Mixed frequency Bayesian vector autoregressions (MF-BVARs) allow forecasters to incorporate a large number of mixed frequency indicators into forecasts of economic activity. This paper evaluates the forecast performance of MF-BVARs relative to surveys of professional forecasters and investigates the influence of certain specification choices on this performance. We leverage a novel real-time dataset to conduct an out-of-sample forecasting exercise for U.S. real gross domestic product (GDP). MF-BVARs are shown to provide an attractive alternative to surveys of professional forecasters for ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2016-5

Working Paper
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 ...
Working Papers , Paper 2015-030

Working Paper
Predicting Benchmarked US State Employment Data in Real Time

US payroll employment data come from a survey and are subject to revisions. While revisions are generally small at the national level, they can be large enough at the state level to alter assessments of current economic conditions. Users must therefore exercise caution in interpreting state employment data until they are “benchmarked” against administrative data 5–16 months after the reference period. This paper develops a state-space model that predicts benchmarked state employment data in real time. The model has two distinct features: 1) an explicit model of the data revision process ...
Working Papers , Paper 2019-037

Discussion Paper
Exploring the use of anonymized consumer credit information to estimate economic conditions: an application of big data

The emergence of high-frequency administrative data and other big data offers an opportunity for improvements to economic forecasting models. This paper considers the potential advantages and limitations of using information contained in anonymized consumer credit reports for improving estimates of current and future economic conditions for various geographic areas and demographic markets. Aggregate consumer credit information is found to be correlated with macroeconomic variables such as gross domestic product, retail sales, and employment and can serve as leading indicators such that lagged ...
Consumer Finance Institute discussion papers , Paper 15-5


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