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Revisions to Macroeconomic Data: Ireland and the OECD

Listed author(s):
  • Eddie Casey

    (Irish Fiscal Advisory Council, Dublin, Ireland)

  • Diarmaid Smyth

    (Central Bank of Ireland, Dublin, Ireland)

Registered author(s):

    This paper examines revisions to Irish quarterly macroeconomic data focusing on growth rates of real GDP as well as the main expenditure components. A real-time database is constructed from the Central Statistics Office’s Quarterly National Accounts release. This is used to measure the extent of data revisions while also formally testing the presence of statistical bias in Irish data. Although estimates of GDP are found to be unbiased, the same cannot be said for some of the subcomponents, most notably investment spending. Using data from the OECD, we compile an additional data set for 25 OECD economies to assess the relative scale of revisions to Irish data. Finding that revisions to Irish real GDP growth rates are among the largest observed – even when allowing for differences in growth rates – we examine a number of factors that may indicate why cross-country differences emerge. The scale of data revisions, particularly in Ireland, appears to bear some relation to the structure of the traded sector. More generally the paper also highlights the potential for weaker forecasting performances in countries where data revisions are likely to be relatively high.

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    File URL: http://www.esr.ie/article/download/505/125/505-1322-1-PB
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    Article provided by Economic and Social Studies in its journal Economic and Social Review.

    Volume (Year): 47 (2016)
    Issue (Month): 1 ()
    Pages: 33-68

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    Handle: RePEc:eso:journl:v:47:y:2016:i:1:p:33-68
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    1. Jacob A. Mincer & Victor Zarnowitz, 1969. "The Evaluation of Economic Forecasts," NBER Chapters,in: Economic Forecasts and Expectations: Analysis of Forecasting Behavior and Performance, pages 3-46 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Stark, Tom & Croushore, Dean, 2002. "Reply to the comments on 'Forecasting with a real-time data set for macroeconomists'," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 563-567, December.
    3. Jeffrey A. Frankel & Jesse Schreger, 2012. "Over-optimistic Official Forecasts in the Eurozone and Fiscal Rules," NBER Working Papers 18283, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. 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.
    5. Stark, Tom & Croushore, Dean, 2002. "Forecasting with a real-time data set for macroeconomists," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 507-531, December.
    6. Laura Gonzalez Cabanillas & Alessio Terzi, 2012. "The accuracy of the European Commission's forecasts re-examined," European Economy - Economic Papers 2008 - 2015 476, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
    7. Joe Durkan & R. Kelleher, 1975. "Short term forecasting : a review of recent experience," Open Access publications 10197/1096, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
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