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New light on the 'impressionistic view' of the balancing item in Australia's balance of payments accounts

  • Christis Tombazos

Recently, Fausten and Brooks offered (what they refer to as) an 'impressionistic view' of the temporal evolution of Australia's balancing item, which is a measure of the accuracy of the balance of payments accounts. They claim that the balancing item 'has been increasing in magnitude and volatility, violating with increasing frequency internationally agreed acceptability criteria for smallness. In the present paper it is shown that Fausten and Brooks results derive from data that incorporates excessively a dynamically asymmetric concentration of revisions and is therefore unsuitable for statistical analysis. This paper develops, and empirically evaluates, a model of the process of revisions of balance of payments data. This model illustrates that dynamically inconsistent time series of the balancing item, such as that employed by Fausten and Brooks, are bound to generate an artificial impression that it follows an 'explosive' time trend. Subsequently, it is illustrated that when alternative, dynamically consistent editions of the balancing item data for the same period as that examined by Fausten and Brooks are employed, their results are reversed. Indeed, the findings here contradict diametrically the conclusions of these authors by suggesting that the decline in the frequency of balancing item 'violations' observed in the latter portion of the relevant time period is unparalleled in the history of the balance of payments accounts.

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Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Applied Economics.

Volume (Year): 35 (2003)
Issue (Month): 12 ()
Pages: 1369-1378

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Handle: RePEc:taf:applec:v:35:y:2003:i:12:p:1369-1378
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  1. Holden, Kenneth, 1969. "The Effect of Revisions to Data on Two Econometric Studies," The Manchester School of Economic & Social Studies, University of Manchester, vol. 37(1), pages 23-37, March.
  2. Ghosh, Sucharita, 1997. "United States Trade Balance Announcements: The Nature of Its Data Revisions," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 59(3), pages 371-83, August.
  3. Dean Croushore & Tom Stark, 1999. "A real-time data set for macroeconomists," Working Papers 99-4, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  4. Ghosh, Sucharita & Lien, Donald, 1995. "Data Revision and Market Response: The Case of United States Trade Balance Announcements," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 57(2), pages 265-75, May.
  5. David E. Runkle, 1998. "Revisionist history: how data revisions distort economic policy research," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Fall, pages 3-12.
  6. Frederick Joutz & H. O. Stekler, 1998. "Data revisions and forecasting," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(8), pages 1011-1016.
  7. Patterson, K D, 1992. "Revisions to the Components of the Trade Balance for the United Kingdom," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 54(1), pages 103-20, February.
  8. Robert Brooks & Gabrielle Berman & Sinclair Davidson, 1998. "The nature and extent of revisions to Australian macroeconomic data," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 5(3), pages 169-174.
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