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Nowcasting, Business Cycle Dating and the Interpretation of New Information when Real-Time Data are Available

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  • Lee, Kevin
  • Olekalns, Nils
  • Shields, Kalvinder K

Abstract

A canonical model is described which reflects the real-time informational context of decision-making. Comparisons are drawn with ‘conventional’ models that incorrectly omit market-informed insights on future macroeconomic conditions and inappropriately incorporate information that was not available at the time. It is argued that conventional models are misspecified and misinterpret news but that these deficiencies will not be exposed either by diagnostic tests applied to the conventional models or by typical impulse response analyses. This is demonstrated through an analysis of quarterly US data 1968q4-2008q4. However, estimated real-time models considerably improve out-ofsample forecasting performance, provide more accurate ‘nowcasts’ of the current state of the macroeconomy and provide more timely indicators of the business cycle. The point is illustrated through an analysis of the US recessions of 1990q3-1991q2 and 2001q1-2001q4 and the most recent experiences of 2008.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 7426.

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Date of creation: Sep 2009
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7426

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Keywords: Business Cycles; Nowcasting; Real-Time Data; Structural Modelling;

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References

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  1. Athanasios Orphanides & Simon van Norden, 2002. "The Unreliability of Output-Gap Estimates in Real Time," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(4), pages 569-583, November.
  2. Giannone, Domenico & Reichlin, Lucrezia & Small, David, 2008. "Nowcasting: The real-time informational content of macroeconomic data," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 665-676, May.
  3. M. Hashem Pesaran & Martin Weale, 2005. "Survey Expectations," CESifo Working Paper Series 1599, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. Andrew Ang & Geert Bekaert & Min Wei, 2005. "Do Macro Variables, Asset Markets or Surveys Forecast Inflation Better?," NBER Working Papers 11538, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. N. Kundan Kishor & Evan F. Koenig, 2009. "VAR Estimation and Forecasting When Data Are Subject to Revision," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(2), pages 181-190, July.
  6. A Garratt & K Lee & M Pesaran & Yongcheol Shin, 2004. "A long run structural macroeconometric model of the UK," ESE Discussion Papers 35, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
  7. Todd E. Clark & Michael McCracken, 1999. "Tests of Equal Forecast Accuracy and Encompassing for Nested Models," Computing in Economics and Finance 1999 1241, Society for Computational Economics.
  8. A Garratt & K Lee & M H Pesaran & Yongcheol Shin, 2004. "Forecast Uncertainties in Macroeconomics Modelling: An Application to the UK Economy," ESE Discussion Papers 64, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
  9. Anthony Garratt & Kevin Lee & Emi Mise & Kalvinder Shields, 2006. "Real Time Representations of the Output Gap," Birkbeck Working Papers in Economics and Finance 0619, Birkbeck, Department of Economics, Mathematics & Statistics.
  10. Evan F. Koenig & Sheila Dolmas & Jeremy Piger, 2000. "The use and abuse of "real-time" data in economic forecasting," International Finance Discussion Papers 684, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  11. Garratt, Anthony & Lee, Kevin & Pesaran, M. Hashem & Shin, Yongcheol, 2006. "Global and National Macroeconometric Modelling: A Long-Run Structural Approach," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199296859, October.
  12. Jacobs, Jan P.A.M. & van Norden, Simon, 2011. "Modeling data revisions: Measurement error and dynamics of "true" values," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 161(2), pages 101-109, April.
  13. Brunner, Allan D, 2000. "On the Derivation of Monetary Policy Shocks: Should We Throw the VAR Out with the Bath Water?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 32(2), pages 254-79, May.
  14. Koop, Gary & Pesaran, M. Hashem & Potter, Simon M., 1996. "Impulse response analysis in nonlinear multivariate models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 119-147, September.
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Cited by:
  1. Kevin Lee & Anthony Garratt & Kalvinder Shields, 2009. "Decision Making in hard Times: What is a Recession, Why Do We Care and How Do We Know When We Are in One?," Discussion Papers in Economics 09/22, Department of Economics, University of Leicester.
  2. Kevin Lee & James Morley & Kalvinder Shields, . "The Meta Taylor Rule," Discussion Papers 11/07, University of Nottingham, Centre for Finance, Credit and Macroeconomics (CFCM).

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