IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Revisions to Macroeconomic Data: Ireland and the OECD


  • Eddie Casey

    (Irish Fiscal Advisory Council, Dublin, Ireland)

  • Diarmaid Smyth

    (Central Bank of Ireland, Dublin, Ireland)


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.

Suggested Citation

  • Eddie Casey & Diarmaid Smyth, 2016. "Revisions to Macroeconomic Data: Ireland and the OECD," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 47(1), pages 33-68.
  • Handle: RePEc:eso:journl:v:47:y:2016:i:1:p:33-68

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    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. 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.
    3. Joe Durkan & R. Kelleher, 1975. "Short term forecasting : a review of recent experience," Open Access publications 10197/1096, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Bob Krebs, 2019. "Revisions to Quarterly National Accounts data in Luxembourg," BCL working papers 136, Central Bank of Luxembourg.
    2. Miroslav Klucik, 2019. "Tracking the Course of the Economy (Nowcasting of basic macroeconomic indicators of Slovakia)," Working Papers Working Paper No. 1/2019, Council for Budget Responsibility.

    More about this item


    macroeconomics; Ireland; OECD; economic analysis;


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eso:journl:v:47:y:2016:i:1:p:33-68. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Martina Lawless). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.