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Financial Volatility and Economic Activity

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  • Fornari Fabio
  • Mele Antonio

Abstract

Does uncertainty in capital markets affect the business cycle? We find that financial volatility predicts 30% of post-war economic activity in the United States, and that during the Great Moderation, aggregate stock market volatility explains, alone, up to 55% of real growth. In out-of-sample tests, stock price volatility helps predict turning points over and above traditional financial variables such as creditor term spreads, and other leading indicators. Combining stock volatility and the term spread leads to a proxy for (i) aggregate risk, (ii) risk-premiums and (iii) a gauge of monetary policy conduct, which tracks and anticipates the business cycle. At the heart of our analysis is a notion of volatility based on a slowly changing measure of return variability. This volatility is designed to capture long-run uncertainty in capital markets, and is particularly successful at explaining trends in the economic activity at horizons of six months and one year.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Società editrice il Mulino in its journal Journal of Financial Management, Markets and Institutions.

Volume (Year): (2013)
Issue (Month): 2 (December)
Pages: 155-198

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Handle: RePEc:mul:jdp901:doi:10.12831/75569:y:2013:i:2:p:155-198

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Keywords: Capital Markets Uncertainty; Asset Prices and the Business Cycle; Macroeconomic Risk; Volatility Spillovers; the Great Moderation;

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References

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  1. Mele, Antonio, 2007. "Asymmetric stock market volatility and the cyclical behavior of expected returns," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(2), pages 446-478, November.
  2. Estrella, Arturo & Hardouvelis, Gikas A, 1991. " The Term Structure as a Predictor of Real Economic Activity," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 46(2), pages 555-76, June.
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  7. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 1992. "A Procedure for Predicting Recessions With Leading Indicators: Econometric Issues and Recent Experience," NBER Working Papers 4014, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Robert F. Engle & Jose Gonzalo Rangel, 2008. "The Spline-GARCH Model for Low-Frequency Volatility and Its Global Macroeconomic Causes," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 21(3), pages 1187-1222, May.
  9. Nicholas Barberis & Ming Huang & Tano Santos, 2001. "Prospect Theory And Asset Prices," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(1), pages 1-53, February.
  10. Olivier Blanchard & John Simon, 2001. "The Long and Large Decline in U.S. Output Volatility," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 32(1), pages 135-174.
  11. Tobias Adrian & Joshua Rosenberg, 2006. "Stock returns and volatility: pricing the short-run and long-run components of market risk," Staff Reports 254, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Charlotte Christiansen & Maik Schmeling & Andreas Schrimpf, 2012. "A Comprehensive Look at Financial Volatility Prediction by Economic Variables," BIS Working Papers 374, Bank for International Settlements.
  2. Todd Clark & Michael W. McCracken, 2011. "Tests of equal forecast accuracy for overlapping models," Working Paper 1121, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  3. de Bondt, Gabe & Maddaloni, Angela & Peydró, José-Luis & Scopel, Silvia, 2010. "The euro area Bank Lending Survey matters: empirical evidence for credit and output growth," Working Paper Series 1160, European Central Bank.
  4. Mario Jovanovic, 2011. "Does Monetary Policy Affect Stock Market Uncertainty? – Empirical Evidence from the United States," Ruhr Economic Papers 0240, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
  5. Mario Meichle & Angelo Ranaldo & Attilio Zanetti, 2011. "Do financial variables help predict the state of the business cycle in small open economies? Evidence from Switzerland," Financial Markets and Portfolio Management, Springer, vol. 25(4), pages 435-453, December.
  6. Choi, Sangyup, 2013. "Are the effects of Bloom’s uncertainty shocks robust?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 119(2), pages 216-220.
  7. di Mauro, Filippo & Fornari, Fabio & Mannucci, Dario, 2011. "Stock market firm-level information and real economic activity," Working Paper Series 1366, European Central Bank.
  8. Marcelle Chauvet & Zeynep Senyuz & Emre Yoldas, 2012. "What does financial volatility tell us about macroeconomic fluctuations?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2012-09, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  9. Chris Florakis & Gianluigi Giorgioni & Alexandros Kostakis & Costas Milas, 2012. "The Impact of Stock Market Illiquidity on Real UK GDP Growth," Working Paper Series 65_12, The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis.
  10. Marco Lombardi & Raphael A. Espinoza & Fabio Fornari, 2009. "The Role of Financial Variables in Predicting Economic Activity in the Euro Area," IMF Working Papers 09/241, International Monetary Fund.
  11. Nieto, Belén & Rubio, Gonzalo, 2011. "The volatility of consumption-based stochastic discount factors and economic cycles," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(9), pages 2197-2216, September.

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