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Financial volatility and economic activity

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  • Fabio Fornari
  • Antonio Mele

Abstract

Does capital markets uncertainty affect the business cycle? We find that financial volatility predicts 30% of post-war economic activity in the United States, and that during the Great Moderation, aggregate stock market volatility explains, alone, up to 55% of real growth. In out- of-sample tests, we find that stock volatility helps predict turning points over and above traditional financial variables such as credit or term spreads, and other leading indicators. Combining stock volatility and the term spread leads to a proxy for (i) aggregate risk, (ii) risk-premiums and (iii) monetary policy, which is found to track, and anticipate, the business cycle. At the heart of our analysis is a notion of volatility based on a slowly changing measure of return variability. This volatility is designed to capture long-run uncertainty in capital markets, and is particularly successful at explaining trends in the economic activity at horizons of six months and one year.

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File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/29309/
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library in its series LSE Research Online Documents on Economics with number 29309.

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Length: 60 pages
Date of creation: 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:29309

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  1. John Y. Campbell & Martin Lettau & Burton G. Malkiel & Yexiao Xu, 2000. "Have Individual Stocks Become More Volatile? An Empirical Exploration of Idiosyncratic Risk," NBER Working Papers 7590, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Merton, Robert C., 1980. "On estimating the expected return on the market : An exploratory investigation," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(4), pages 323-361, December.
  3. Tobias Adrian & Joshua Rosenberg, 2008. "Stock Returns and Volatility: Pricing the Short-Run and Long-Run Components of Market Risk," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 63(6), pages 2997-3030, December.
  4. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 1989. "New Indexes of Coincident and Leading Economic Indicators," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1989, Volume 4, pages 351-409 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Diebold, Francis X & Mariano, Roberto S, 2002. "Comparing Predictive Accuracy," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(1), pages 134-44, January.
  6. Ser-Huang Poon & Clive W.J. Granger, 2003. "Forecasting Volatility in Financial Markets: A Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(2), pages 478-539, June.
  7. Arturo Estrella & Gikas A. Hardouvelis, 1989. "The term structure as a predictor of real economic activity," Research Paper 8907, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  8. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 1993. "A Procedure for Predicting Recessions with Leading Indicators: Econometric Issues and Recent Experience," NBER Chapters, in: Business Cycles, Indicators and Forecasting, pages 95-156 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.
  10. Nicholas Barberis & Ming Huang & Tano Santos, 2001. "Prospect Theory And Asset Prices," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(1), pages 1-53, February.
  11. Robert F. Engle & Jose Gonzalo Rangel, 2008. "The Spline-GARCH Model for Low-Frequency Volatility and Its Global Macroeconomic Causes," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 21(3), pages 1187-1222, May.
  12. Mele, Antonio, 2007. "Asymmetric stock market volatility and the cyclical behavior of expected returns," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(2), pages 446-478, November.
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Cited by:
  1. de Bondt, Gabe & Maddaloni, Angela & Peydró, José-Luis & Scopel, Silvia, 2010. "The euro area Bank Lending Survey matters: empirical evidence for credit and output growth," Working Paper Series 1160, European Central Bank.
  2. Charlotte Christiansen & Maik Schmeling & Andreas Schrimpf, 2012. "A comprehensive look at financial volatility prediction by economic variables," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(6), pages 956-977, 09.
  3. Marcelle Chauvet & Zeynep Senyuz & Emre Yoldas, 2012. "What does financial volatility tell us about macroeconomic fluctuations?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2012-09, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  4. Nieto, Belén & Rubio, Gonzalo, 2011. "The volatility of consumption-based stochastic discount factors and economic cycles," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(9), pages 2197-2216, September.
  5. Todd Clark & Michael W. McCracken, 2011. "Tests of equal forecast accuracy for overlapping models," Working Paper 1121, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  6. Chris Florakis & Gianluigi Giorgioni & Alexandros Kostakis & Costas Milas, 2012. "The Impact of Stock Market Illiquidity on Real UK GDP Growth," Working Paper Series 65_12, The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis.
  7. Mario Jovanovic, 2011. "Does Monetary Policy Affect Stock Market Uncertainty? – Empirical Evidence from the United States," Ruhr Economic Papers 0240, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
  8. Mario Meichle & Angelo Ranaldo & Attilio Zanetti, 2011. "Do financial variables help predict the state of the business cycle in small open economies? Evidence from Switzerland," Financial Markets and Portfolio Management, Springer, vol. 25(4), pages 435-453, December.
  9. Marco Lombardi & Raphael A. Espinoza & Fabio Fornari, 2009. "The Role of Financial Variables in Predicting Economic Activity in the Euro Area," IMF Working Papers 09/241, International Monetary Fund.
  10. di Mauro, Filippo & Fornari, Fabio & Mannucci, Dario, 2011. "Stock market firm-level information and real economic activity," Working Paper Series 1366, European Central Bank.
  11. Choi, Sangyup, 2013. "Are the effects of Bloom’s uncertainty shocks robust?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 119(2), pages 216-220.

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