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Estimating the output gap in real time: A factor model approach

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  • Aastveit, Knut Are
  • Trovik, Tørres

Abstract

By using a dynamic factor model, we can substantially improve the reliability of real-time output gap estimates for the U.S. economy. First, we use a factor model to extract a series for the common component in GDP from a large panel of monthly real-time macroeconomic variables. This series is immune to revisions to the extent that revisions are due to unbiased measurement errors or idiosyncratic news. Second, our model is able to handle the unbalanced arrival of the data. This yields favorable nowcasting properties and thus starting conditions for the filtering of data into a trend and deviations from a trend. Combined with the method of augmenting data with forecasts prior to filtering, this greatly reduces the end-of-sample imprecision in the gap estimate. The increased precision has economic importance for real-time policy decisions and improves real-time inflation forecasts.

Suggested Citation

  • Aastveit, Knut Are & Trovik, Tørres, 2014. "Estimating the output gap in real time: A factor model approach," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 180-193.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:quaeco:v:54:y:2014:i:2:p:180-193
    DOI: 10.1016/j.qref.2013.09.003
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:ksa:szemle:1774 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Fornaro, Paolo, 2016. "Predicting Finnish economic activity using firm-level data," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 10-19.
    3. Matteo Barigozzi & Matteo Luciani, 2017. "Common Factors, Trends, and Cycles in Large Datasets," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2017-111, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    4. Olivér Miklós Rácz, 2012. "Using confidence indicators for the assessment of the cyclical position of the economy," MNB Bulletin (discontinued), Magyar Nemzeti Bank (Central Bank of Hungary), vol. 7(2), pages 41-46, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Output gap; Real time analysis; Monetary policy; Forecasting; Factor model;

    JEL classification:

    • C33 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • C53 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Forecasting and Prediction Models; Simulation Methods
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies

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