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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. Jacobs, Jan P.A.M. & van Norden, Simon, 2011. "Modeling data revisions: Measurement error and dynamics of "true" values," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 161(2), pages 101-109, April.
  2. Giannone, Domenico & Reichlin, Lucrezia & Small, David, 2005. "Nowcasting GDP and Inflation: The Real Time Informational Content of Macroeconomic Data Releases," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 5178, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. 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, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 32(2), pages 254-79, May.
  4. Evan Koenig & Sheila Dolmas & Jeremy M. Piger, 2002. "The use and abuse of 'real-time' data in economic forecasting," Working Papers 2001-015, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  5. Athanasios Orphanides & Simon Van_Norden, 2000. "The Reliability of Output Gap Estimates in Real Time," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0768, Econometric Society.
  6. Clark, Todd E. & McCracken, Michael W., 2001. "Tests of equal forecast accuracy and encompassing for nested models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 105(1), pages 85-110, November.
  7. Ang, Andrew & Bekaert, Geert & Wei, Min, 2007. "Do macro variables, asset markets, or surveys forecast inflation better?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 54(4), pages 1163-1212, May.
  8. Pesaran, M.H. & Weale, M., 2005. "Survey Expectations," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0536, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  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, Oxford University Press, number 9780199296859, October.
  12. N. Kundan Kishor & Evan F. Koenig, 2005. "VAR estimation and forecasting when data are subject to revision," Working Papers 0501, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
  13. Anthony Garratt & Kevin Lee & Emi Mise & Kalvinder Shields, 2006. "Real Time Representations of the Output Gap," Birkbeck Working Papers in Economics and Finance, Birkbeck, Department of Economics, Mathematics & Statistics 0619, Birkbeck, Department of Economics, Mathematics & Statistics.
  14. Koop, Gary & Pesaran, M. Hashem & Potter, Simon M., 1996. "Impulse response analysis in nonlinear multivariate models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, 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 and Kalvinder Sheields, 2011. "The Meta Taylor Rule," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series, The University of Melbourne 1131, The University of Melbourne.

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