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(Un)Predictability and macroeconomic stability

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  • D’Agostino, Antonello
  • Giannone, Domenico
  • Surico, Paolo

Abstract

This paper documents a new stylized fact of the greater macroeconomic stability of the U.S. economy over the last two decades. Using 131 monthly time series, three popular statistical methods and the forecasts of the Federal Reserve’s Greenbook and the Survey of Professional Forecasters, we show that the ability to predict several measures of inflation and real activity declined remarkably, relative to naive forecasts, since the mid-1980s. This break down in forecast ability appears to be an inherent feature of the most recent period and thus represents a new challenge for competing explanations of the ‘Great Moderation’. JEL Classification: E37, E47, C22, C53

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by European Central Bank in its series Working Paper Series with number 0605.

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Date of creation: Apr 2006
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Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20060605

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Keywords: Fed Greenbook; forecasting models; macroeconomic stability; predictive accuracy; sub-sample analysis;

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References

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  1. Giacomini, Raffaella & White, Halbert, 2003. "Tests of Conditional Predictive Ability," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt5jk0j5jh, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
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  3. Jean Boivin & Serena Ng, 2005. "Understanding and Comparing Factor-Based Forecasts," NBER Working Papers 11285, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  5. Boivin, Jean & Giannoni, Marc, 2006. "Has Monetary Policy Become More Effective?," CEPR Discussion Papers 5463, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Domenico Giannone & Lucrezia Reichlin & David H Small, 2007. "Nowcasting GDP and Inflation: The Real-Time Informational Content of Macroeconomic Data Releases," Money Macro and Finance (MMF) Research Group Conference 2006 164, Money Macro and Finance Research Group.
  7. Stock, James H & Watson, Mark W, 2002. "Macroeconomic Forecasting Using Diffusion Indexes," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(2), pages 147-62, April.
  8. Domenico Giannone & Lucrezia Reichlin & Luca Sala, 2005. "Monetary Policy in Real Time," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2004, Volume 19, pages 161-224 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. 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.
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  11. D'Agostino, Antonello & Giannone, Domenico, 2006. "Comparing Alternative Predictors Based on Large-Panel Factor Models," Research Technical Papers 14/RT/06, Central Bank of Ireland.
  12. Francis X. Diebold & Robert S. Mariano, 1994. "Comparing Predictive Accuracy," NBER Technical Working Papers 0169, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  18. repec:fip:fedlps:y:2005 is not listed on IDEAS
  19. Andrew Atkeson & Lee E. Ohanian., 2001. "Are Phillips curves useful for forecasting inflation?," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Win, pages 2-11.
  20. Croux, Christophe & Forni, Mario & Reichlin, Lucrezia, 1999. "A Measure of Comovement for Economic Variables: Theory and Empirics," CEPR Discussion Papers 2339, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  21. Chang-Jin Kim & Charles R. Nelson, 1999. "Has The U.S. Economy Become More Stable? A Bayesian Approach Based On A Markov-Switching Model Of The Business Cycle," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(4), pages 608-616, November.
  22. 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.
  23. Margaret M. McConnell & Gabriel Perez Quiros, 1998. "Output fluctuations in the United States: what has changed since the early 1980s?," Staff Reports 41, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  24. Sean D. Campbell, 2004. "Macroeconomic volatility, predictability and uncertainty in the Great Moderation: evidence from the survey of professional forecasters," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2004-52, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  25. Glenn D. Rudebusch, 2001. "Term structure evidence on interest rate smoothing and monetary policy inertia," Working Paper Series 2001-02, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  26. Shaghil Ahmed & Andrew Levin & Beth Anne Wilson, 2004. "Recent U.S. Macroeconomic Stability: Good Policies, Good Practices, or Good Luck?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(3), pages 824-832, August.
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