How Well Does the Beige Book Reflect Economic Activity? Evaluating Qualitative Information Quantitatively
Eight times a year, approximately two weeks before every FOMC meeting, the Federal Reserve releases a description of economic conditions in the twelve Federal Reserve districts. Called the Beige Book, this description relies primarily on surveys and anecdotal evidence gathered by the twelve district banks. For this paper, we read and numerically scored past Beige Books in order to determine the extent to which the descriptions in these books accurately reflect current economic activity as measured by quarterly real GDP growth. We find that both in-sample and out-of-sample, the quantitative Beige Book indices do have significant predictive content for current and next quarter real GDP growth. Furthermore, the Beige Book has information about current quarter real GDP growth not present in other indicators such as the Blue Chip Consensus Forecast or time series models that use real-time data.
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Volume (Year): 34 (2002)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
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