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News, noise, and estimates of the "true" unobserved state of the economy

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  • Dennis J. Fixler
  • Jeremy J. Nalewaik

Abstract

Which provides a better estimate of the "true" state of the U.S. economy, gross domestic product (GDP) or gross domestic income (GDI)? Past work has assumed the difference between each estimate and the "true" state of the economy is pure noise, taking greater variability to imply lower reliability. We posit instead that each difference may be pure news; then greater variability implies higher information content and greater reliability. This is a general point, applicable to numerous situations beyond the case of combining GDP and GDI. For that particular case, we analyze various vintages of estimates, developing models for combining GDP and GDI under the differing assumptions, and use revisions to show the news assumption is probably more accurate.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series Finance and Economics Discussion Series with number 2007-34.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2007-34

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Keywords: Gross domestic product ; National income;

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References

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  1. 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.
  2. Stone, Richard, 1984. "The Accounts of Society," Nobel Prize in Economics documents 1984-1, Nobel Prize Committee.
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  4. Jon Faust & John H. Rogers & Jonathan H. Wright, 2000. "News and noise in G-7 GDP announcements," International Finance Discussion Papers 690, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  5. Dennis Fixler & Bruce Grimm, 2006. "GDP Estimates: Rationality Tests and Turning Point Performance," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 25(3), pages 213-229, 06.
  6. Diebold, Francis X & Rudebusch, Glenn D, 1996. "Measuring Business Cycles: A Modern Perspective," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(1), pages 67-77, February.
  7. Ben S. Bernanke & Jean Boivin, 2001. "Monetary Policy in a Data-Rich Environment," NBER Working Papers 8379, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Margaret M. McConnell & Gabriel Perez Quiros, 1997. "Output fluctuations in the United States: what has changed since the early 1980s?," Research Paper 9735, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  9. Donald W.K. Andrews, 1990. "Tests for Parameter Instability and Structural Change with Unknown Change Point," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 943, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  10. Ben Bernanke & Jean Boivin & Piotr S. Eliasz, 2005. "Measuring the Effects of Monetary Policy: A Factor-augmented Vector Autoregressive (FAVAR) Approach," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(1), pages 387-422, January.
  11. Smith, R.J. & Satchell, S.E., 1995. "Measurement Error with Accounting Constraints: Point and Interval Estimation for Latent Data with an Application to UK Gross Domestic Product," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 9522, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  12. Weale, Martin, 1985. "Testing Linear Hypotheses on National Account Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 67(4), pages 685-89, November.
  13. N. Gregory Mankiw & Matthew D. Shapiro, 1986. "News or Noise? An Analysis of GNP Revisions," NBER Working Papers 1939, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Karen E. Dynan & Douglas Elmendorf, 2001. "Do provisional estimates of output miss economic turning points?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2001-52, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  15. Weale, Martin, 1992. "Estimation of Data Measured with Error and Subject to Linear Restrictions," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 7(2), pages 167-74, April-Jun.
  16. Thomas J. Sargent & Christopher A. Sims, 1977. "Business cycle modeling without pretending to have too much a priori economic theory," Working Papers 55, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  17. Jeremy J. Nalewaik, 2007. "Incorporating vintage differences and forecasts into Markov switching models," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2007-23, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  18. Hamilton, James D, 1989. "A New Approach to the Economic Analysis of Nonstationary Time Series and the Business Cycle," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 357-84, March.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Dennis Fixler & David S. Johnson, 2012. "Accounting for the Distribution of Income in the U.S. National Accounts," NBER Chapters, in: Measuring Economic Sustainability and Progress National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Boragan Aruoba & Francis X. Diebold & Jeremy Nalewaik & Frank Schorfheide & Dongho Song, 2011. "Improving GDP Measurement: A Forecast Combination Perspective," PIER Working Paper Archive 11-028, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  3. Jeremy J. Nalewaik, 2010. "The Income- and Expenditure-Side Estimates of U.S. Output Growth," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 41(1 (Spring), pages 71-127.
  4. Verónica Cañal-Fernández, 2012. "Accuracy and reliability of Spanish regional accounts (CRE-95)," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 43(3), pages 1299-1320, December.
  5. J. Steven Landefeld & Eugene P. Seskin & Barbara M. Fraumeni, 2008. "Taking the Pulse of the Economy: Measuring GDP," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(2), pages 193-216, Spring.
  6. Nalewaik, Jeremy J., 2011. "Incorporating vintage differences and forecasts into Markov switching models," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 281-307, April.
  7. Jeremy J. Nalewaik, 2008. "Lack of signal error (LoSE) and implications for OLS regression: measurement error for macro data," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2008-15, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  8. Jeremy J. Nalewaik, 2011. "Forecasting recessions using stall speeds," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2011-24, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  9. Jeremy J. Nalewaik, 2006. "Estimating probabilities of recession in real time using GDP and GDI," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2007-07, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).

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