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Testing for Volatility Changes in US Macroeconomic Time Series

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  • M Sensier
  • D van Dijk

Abstract

We test for a change in the volatility of 214 US macroeconomic time series over the period 1959-1999. We find that about 80% of these series have experienced a break in unconditional volatility during this period. Even though more than half of the series experienced a break in conditional mean, most of the reduction in volatility appears to be due to changes in conditional volatility. Our results are robust to controlling for business cycle nonlinearity in both mean and variance. Volatility changes are more appropriately characterized as an instantaneous break rather than gradual change. Nominal variables such as inflation and interest rates experienced multiple volatility breaks and witnessed temporary increases in volatility during the 1970s. Based upon this evidence, we conclude that the increased stability of economic fluctuations in a wide-spread phenomenon.

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File URL: http://www.socialsciences.manchester.ac.uk/medialibrary/cgbcr/discussionpapers/dpcgbcr36.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Economics, The Univeristy of Manchester in its series Centre for Growth and Business Cycle Research Discussion Paper Series with number 36.

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Length: 18 pages
Date of creation: 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:man:cgbcrp:36

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Web page: http://www.socialsciences.manchester.ac.uk/subjects/economics/our-research/centre-for-growth-and-business-cycle-research/
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Related research

Keywords: volatility; structural change tests; business cycle nonlinearity;

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References

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  1. Mark W. French & Daniel E. Sichel, 1991. "Cyclical patterns in the variance of economic activity," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 161, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  2. Jushan Bai, 1995. "Estimating Multiple Breaks One at a Time," Working papers 95-18, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  3. Lundbergh, Stefan & Teräsvirta, Timo & van Dijk, Dick, 2000. "Time-Varying Smooth Transition Autoregressive Models," Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 376, Stockholm School of Economics.
  4. Chang-Jin Kim & Charles Nelson & Jeremy M. Piger, 2003. "The less volatile U.S. economy: a Bayesian investigation of timing, breadth, and potential explanations," Working Papers 2001-016, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  5. Margaret M. McConnell & Patricia C. Mosser & Gabriel Perez Quiros, 1999. "A decomposition of the increased stability of GDP growth," Current Issues in Economics and Finance, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, vol. 5(Aug).
  6. 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.
  7. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 1994. "Evidence on structural instability in macroeconomic times series relations," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues 94-13, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  8. Allan D. Brunner, 1990. "Conditional asymmetries in real GNP: a semi-nonparametric approach," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 140, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  9. Marcelle Chauvet & Simon Potter, 2001. "Recent changes in the U.S. business cycle," Staff Reports 126, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  10. Hansen, Bruce E, 1997. "Approximate Asymptotic P Values for Structural-Change Tests," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 15(1), pages 60-67, January.
  11. 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.
  12. Richard Clarida & Jordi Galí & Mark Gertler, 1997. "Monetary policy rules and macroeconomic stability: Evidence and some theory," Economics Working Papers 350, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised May 1999.
  13. Scott, A. & Acemoglu, D., 1995. "Asymmetric Business Cycles: Theory and Time-series Evidence," Economics Series Working Papers 99173, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  14. Jushan Bai & Pierre Perron, 1998. "Estimating and Testing Linear Models with Multiple Structural Changes," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(1), pages 47-78, January.
  15. Jushan Bai, 1997. "Estimation Of A Change Point In Multiple Regression Models," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 79(4), pages 551-563, November.
  16. Gabriel Perez-Quiros & Margaret M. McConnell, 2000. "Output Fluctuations in the United States: What Has Changed since the Early 1980's?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1464-1476, December.
  17. Mark W. Watson, 1999. "Explaining the increased variability in long-term interest rates," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Fall, pages 71-96.
  18. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 2003. "Has the Business Cycle Changed and Why?," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2002, Volume 17, pages 159-230 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. 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.
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