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Real time estimates of the euro area output gap: reliability and forecasting performance

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  • Marcellino, Massimiliano
  • Musso, Alberto

Abstract

This paper provides evidence on the reliability of euro area real-time output gap estimates. A genuine real-time data set for the euro area is used, including vintages of several sets of euro area output gap estimates available from 1999 to 2006. It turns out that real-time estimates of the output gap are characterised by a high degree of uncertainty, much higher than that resulting from model and estimation uncertainty only. In particular, the evidence indicates that both the magnitude and the sign of the real-time estimates of the euro area output gap are very uncertain. The uncertainty is mostly due to parameter instability, while data revisions seem to play a minor role. To benchmark our results, we repeat the analysis for the US over the same sample. It turns out that US real time estimates are much more correlated with final estimates than for the euro area, data revisions play a larger role, but overall the unreliability in real time of the US output gap measures detected in earlier studies is confirmed in the more recent period. Moreover, despite some difference across output gap estimates and forecast horizons, the results point clearly to a lack of any usefulness of real-time output gap estimates for inflation forecasting both in the short term (one-quarter and one-year ahead) and the medium term (two-year and three-year ahead). By contrast, some evidence is provided indicating that several output gap estimates are useful to forecast real GDP growth, particularly in the short term, and some appear also useful in the medium run. No single output gap measure appears superior to all others in all respects. JEL Classification: E31, E37, E52, E58

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by European Central Bank in its series Working Paper Series with number 1157.

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Date of creation: Feb 2010
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Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20101157

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Keywords: data revisions; euro area; Inflation forecasts; output gap; real GDP forecasts; real-time data;

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Garratt, Anthony & Mitchell, James & Vahey, Shaun, 2010. "Measuring Output Gap Uncertainty," CEPR Discussion Papers 7742, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Ching Wai (Jeremy) Chiu & Bjørn Eraker & Andrew T. Foerster & Tae Bong Kim & Hernán D. Seoane, 2011. "Estimating VAR's sampled at mixed or irregular spaced frequencies : a Bayesian approach," Research Working Paper RWP 11-11, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
  3. Anthony Garratt & James Mitchell & Shaun P. Vahey, 2011. "Measuring Output Gap Nowcast Uncertainty," CAMA Working Papers 2011-16, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
  4. Domenico Giannone & Jérôme Henry & Magdalena Lalik & Michele Modugno, 2012. "An Area-Wide Real-Time Database for the Euro Area," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(4), pages 1000-1013, November.
  5. Nicolas Pinkwart, 2013. "Quantifying The European Central Bank'S Interest Rate Smoothing Behavior," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 81(4), pages 470-492, 07.
  6. Kuzin, Vladimir & Marcellino, Massimiliano & Schumacher, Christian, 2011. "MIDAS vs. mixed-frequency VAR: Nowcasting GDP in the euro area," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 529-542.
  7. Martin Gächter & Aleksandra Riedl & Doris Ritzberger-Grünwald, 2012. "Business Cycle Synchronization in the Euro Area and the Impact of the Financial Crisis," Monetary Policy & the Economy, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank), issue 2, pages 33–60.
  8. Kuzin, Vladimir N. & Marcellino, Massimiliano & Schumacher, Christian, 2009. "MIDAS versus mixed-frequency VAR: nowcasting GDP in the euro area," Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies 2009,07, Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre.
  9. Guérin, Pierre & Maurin, Laurent & Mohr, Matthias, 2011. "Trend-cycle decomposition of output and euro area inflation forecasts: a real-time approach based on model combination," Working Paper Series 1384, European Central Bank.

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