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Potential output and the output gap in Luxembourg: some alternative methods

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  • Paolo Guarda

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    Abstract

    The output gap is defined as the difference between the observed level of an economy's output and its trend or potential level. In the short term, an economy can produce above its potential level (a positive output gap) through unusually high levels of labour force participation, capacity utilisation, or technical progress. However, a positive output gap tends to generate inflationary pressures on the markets for factors of production. Once inflation accelerates, output will have to fall below its potential level (a negative output gap) to increase available resources and reduce the pressure on prices. Therefore, measures of the output gap are often used in macroeconomic analysis to assess current and future levels of inflationary pressures in the economy. This study reviews several of the many alternative methods of estimating output gaps and applies six of these to annual data for Luxembourg. These different measures of the output gap are then compared and evaluated in terms of their contribution to inflation forecasting. Methods based on unobserved components models tend to do better than simpler, better known methods (i.e. linear trends, the HP filter). Multivariate methods that consider the simultaneous evolution of several different economic variables tend to do better than univariate methods that limit themselves to the output series itself.

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    File URL: http://www.bcl.lu/fr/publications/cahiers_etudes/4/BCLWP004.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Central Bank of Luxembourg in its series BCL working papers with number 4.

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    Length: 58 pages
    Date of creation: Jun 2002
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:bcl:bclwop:bclwp004

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    Web page: http://www.bcl.lu/

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    1. Campbell, John & Mankiw, Gregory, 1987. "Are Output Fluctuations Transitory?," Scholarly Articles 3122545, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    2. Guay, A & St-Amant, P, 1996. "Do Mechanical Filters Provide a Good Approximation of Business Cycles?," Working Papers-Department of Finance Canada 1996-2, Department of Finance Canada.
    3. Sweta Chaman Saxena & Valerie Cerra, 2000. "Alternative Methods of Estimating Potential Output and the Output Gap," IMF Working Papers 00/59, International Monetary Fund.
    4. W. Bolt & P.J.A. van Els, 2000. "Output Gap and Inflation in the EU," DNB Staff Reports (discontinued) 44, Netherlands Central Bank.
    5. Paul Conway & Ben Hunt, 1997. "Estimating potential output: a semi-structural approach," Reserve Bank of New Zealand Discussion Paper Series G97/9, Reserve Bank of New Zealand.
    6. Diebold, Francis X & Mariano, Roberto S, 2002. "Comparing Predictive Accuracy," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(1), pages 134-44, January.
    7. Paula De Masi, 1997. "IMF Estimates of Potential Output," IMF Working Papers 97/177, International Monetary Fund.
    8. Marianne Baxter & Robert G. King, 1999. "Measuring Business Cycles: Approximate Band-Pass Filters For Economic Time Series," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(4), pages 575-593, November.
    9. Dupasquier, Chantal & Guay, Alain & St-Amant, Pierre, 1999. "A Survey of Alternative Methodologies for Estimating Potential Output and the Output Gap," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 577-595, July.
    10. Mikael Apel & Per Jansson, 1999. "System estimates of potential output and the NAIRU," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 24(3), pages 373-388.
    11. Apel, Mikael & Jansson, Per, 1998. "A Theory-Consistent System Approach for Estimating Potential Output and the NAIRU," Working Paper Series 74, Sveriges Riksbank (Central Bank of Sweden).
    12. Cooley, Thomas F. & Dwyer, Mark, 1998. "Business cycle analysis without much theory A look at structural VARs," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 83(1-2), pages 57-88.
    13. Pedro Duarte Neves & Susana Botas & Carlos Robalo Marques, 1998. "Estimation of potencial output for the Portuguese economy," Economic Bulletin and Financial Stability Report Articles, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
    14. Claude Giorno & Pete Richardson & Deborah Roseveare & Paul van den Noord, 1995. "Estimating Potential Output, Output Gaps and Structural Budget Balances," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 152, OECD Publishing.
    15. Dimitz, Maria Antoinette, 2001. "Output gaps and technological progress in European Monetary Union," Research Discussion Papers 20/2001, Bank of Finland.
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    Cited by:
    1. Jimborean, Ramona, 2013. "The exchange rate pass-through in the new EU member states," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 302-329.
    2. Alex Durand, 2005. "Le chômage structurel dans une petite économie ouverte. Application au Luxembourg," Économie et Prévision, Programme National Persée, vol. 169(3), pages 105-126.
    3. Patrick Lünnemann & Abdelaziz Rouabah, 2003. "Règle de Taylor: estimation et interprétation pour la zone euro et pour le Luxembourg," BCL working papers 9, Central Bank of Luxembourg.
    4. Jaromir Benes & Tibor Hledik & Jaromir Hurnik & Jiri Podpiera & Jan Vlcek, 2005. "CNB Economic Research Bulletin: Potential Output," Occasional Publications - Edited Volumes, Czech National Bank, Research Department, edition 1, volume 3, number rb03/1 edited by Vladislav Flek, August.
    5. Jiri Podpiera, 2004. "Consumers, Consumer Prices and the Czech Business Cycle Identification," Working Papers 2004/04, Czech National Bank, Research Department.

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