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Measuring economic uncertainty using the Survey of Professional Forecasters

  • Keith Sill

Uncertainty about how the economy will evolve is a key concern for households and firms. People’s views on how likely it is that the economy will be growing, stagnating, or in recession help shape the actions they take today. Consequently, how households and firms respond to uncertainty has implications for economic activity. In addition, uncertainty matters to policymakers: Monetary policymakers recognize that if uncertainty about future inflation is high, decision-making by households and firms becomes more complicated. In this article, Keith Sill describes how uncertainty can be measured using data from the Survey of Professional Forecasters and shows how these measures have changed over time for output growth and inflation. He also examines some links between the macroeconomy and measures of output and inflation uncertainty.

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Article provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia in its journal Business Review.

Volume (Year): (2012)
Issue (Month): Q4 ()
Pages: 16-27

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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedpbr:y:2012:i:q4:p:16-27
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  1. Angus Deaton, 1989. "Saving and Liquidity Constraints," NBER Working Papers 3196, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Gianna Boero & Jeremy Smith & KennethF. Wallis, 2008. "Uncertainty and Disagreement in Economic Prediction: The Bank of England Survey of External Forecasters," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(530), pages 1107-1127, 07.
  3. Eric R. Sims, 2012. "Uncertainty and Economic Activity: Evidence from Business Survey Data," Working Papers 014, University of Notre Dame, Department of Economics, revised Jun 2012.
  4. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:112:y:1997:i:1:p:1-55 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Bomberger, William A, 1996. "Disagreement as a Measure of Uncertainty," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 28(3), pages 381-92, August.
  6. Christopher D Carroll, 1990. "Buffer-Stock Saving and the Life Cycle/Permanent Income Hypothesis," Economics Working Paper Archive 371, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics, revised Aug 1996.
  7. Pablo Guerron-Quintana, 2012. "Risk and uncertainty," Business Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, issue Q1, pages 9-18.
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