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The Index of Leading Indicators: "Measurement without Theory," Twenty-Five Years Later

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  • Alan J. Auerbach

Abstract

The index of leading economic indicators first developed by the NBER remains a popular informal forecasting tool in spite of the original criticism that its use represents "measurement without theory. " This paper seeks to evaluate the performance of the index in comparison to alternative time series methods in predicting business cycle behavior. While the actual method of choosing the weights for the twelve series included in the index is essentially unnecessary (because the resulting series is indistinguishable from another with uniform weights) the series itself helps explain business cycle behavior, and outperforms an index with econometrically chosen weights.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 0761.

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Date of creation: Sep 1981
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Publication status: published as Auerbach, Alan J. "The Index of Leading Indicators: Measurement without Theory, Thirty-Five Years Later." The Review of Economics and Statistics, Vol. 64, No. 4 (November 1982), pp. 589-595.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:0761

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Cited by:
  1. Issler, João Victor & Notini, Hilton Hostalacio & Rodrigues, Claudia Fontoura, 2009. "Constructing Coincident and Leading Indices of Economic Activity for the Brazilian Economy," Economics Working Papers (Ensaios Economicos da EPGE) 694, FGV/EPGE Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).

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