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Data Revisions Are Not Well-Behaved

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  • Aruoba, Boragan

Abstract

We document the empirical properties of revisions to major macroeconomic variables in the United States. Our findings suggest that they do not satisfy simple desirable statistical properties. In particular, we find that these revisions do not have a zero mean, which indicates that the initial announcements by statistical agencies are biased. We also find that the revisions are quite large compared to the original variables and they are predictable using the information set at the time of the initial announcement, which means that the initial announcements of statistical agencies are not rational forecasts. We also provide evidence that professional forecasters ignore this predictability.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 5271.

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Date of creation: Oct 2005
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5271

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Keywords: forecasting; news and noise; NIPA variables; real-time data;

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  1. Knut Anton Mork, 1990. "Forecastable Money-Growth Revisions: A Closer Look at the Data," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 23(3), pages 593-616, August.
  2. Whitney K. Newey & Kenneth D. West, 1986. "A Simple, Positive Semi-Definite, Heteroskedasticity and AutocorrelationConsistent Covariance Matrix," NBER Technical Working Papers 0055, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Francis X. Diebold & Robert S. Mariano, 1994. "Comparing Predictive Accuracy," NBER Technical Working Papers 0169, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Mork, Knut Anton, 1987. "Ain't Behavin': Forecast Errors and Measurement Errors in Early GNP Estimates," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 5(2), pages 165-75, April.
  5. David H. Romer & Christina D. Romer, 2000. "Federal Reserve Information and the Behavior of Interest Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 429-457, June.
  6. Dean Croushore & Tom Stark, 2003. "A Real-Time Data Set for Macroeconomists: Does the Data Vintage Matter?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(3), pages 605-617, August.
  7. Dean Croushore & Tom Stark, 1999. "A real-time data set for macroeconomists," Working Papers 99-4, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  8. N. Gregory Mankiw & Matthew D. Shapiro, 1986. "News or Noise? An Analysis of GNP Revisions," NBER Working Papers 1939, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Faust, Jon & Rogers, John H & Wright, Jonathan H, 2005. "News and Noise in G-7 GDP Announcements," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 37(3), pages 403-19, June.
  10. William Conrad & Carol Corrado, 1978. "Applications of the Kalman filter to revisions in monthly retail sales estimates," Special Studies Papers 125, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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