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Macroeconomic Uncertainty Through the Lens of Professional Forecasters

Author

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  • Soojin Jo
  • Rodrigo Sekkel

Abstract

We analyze the evolution of macroeconomic uncertainty in the United States, based on the forecast errors of consensus survey forecasts of different economic indicators. Comprehensive information contained in the survey forecasts enables us to capture a real-time subjective measure of uncertainty in a simple framework. We jointly model and estimate macroeconomic (common) and indicator-specific uncertainties of four indicators, using a factor stochastic volatility model. Our macroeconomic uncertainty has three major spikes, aligned with the 1973–75, 1980, and 2007–09 recessions, while other recessions were characterized by increases in indicator-specific uncertainties. We also demonstrate for the first time in the literature that the selection of data vintages substantially affects the relative size of jumps in estimated uncertainty series. Finally, our macroeconomic uncertainty has a persistent negative impact on real economic activity, rather than producing “wait-and-see” dynamics.

Suggested Citation

  • Soojin Jo & Rodrigo Sekkel, 2016. "Macroeconomic Uncertainty Through the Lens of Professional Forecasters," Staff Working Papers 16-5, Bank of Canada.
  • Handle: RePEc:bca:bocawp:16-5
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Pierre Collin-Dufresne & Robert S. Goldstein, 2002. "Do Bonds Span the Fixed Income Markets? Theory and Evidence for Unspanned Stochastic Volatility," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(4), pages 1685-1730, August.
    2. Ang, Andrew & Bekaert, Geert & Wei, Min, 2007. "Do macro variables, asset markets, or surveys forecast inflation better?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(4), pages 1163-1212, May.
    3. Lahiri, Kajal & Monokroussos, George & Zhao, Yongchen, 2013. "The yield spread puzzle and the information content of SPF forecasts," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 118(1), pages 219-221.
    4. repec:eee:dyncon:v:79:y:2017:i:c:p:66-78 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Mumtaz, Haroon & Theodoridis, Konstantinos, 2017. "Common and country specific economic uncertainty," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 205-216.
    6. Croushore Dean, 2010. "An Evaluation of Inflation Forecasts from Surveys Using Real-Time Data," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-32, May.
    7. Arai, Natsuki, 2014. "Using forecast evaluation to improve the accuracy of the Greenbook forecast," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 12-19.
    8. Chib, Siddhartha & Nardari, Federico & Shephard, Neil, 2006. "Analysis of high dimensional multivariate stochastic volatility models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 134(2), pages 341-371, October.
    9. Knut Are Aastveit & Gisle James Natvik & Sergio Sola, 2013. "Economic uncertainty and the effectiveness of monetary policy," Working Paper 2013/17, Norges Bank.
    10. Soojin Jo, 2014. "The Effects of Oil Price Uncertainty on Global Real Economic Activity," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 46(6), pages 1113-1135, September.
    11. Haroon Mumtaz & Konstantinos Theodoridis, 2015. "Common and Country Specific Economic Uncertainty," Working Papers 752, Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
    12. Amir-Ahmadi, Pooyan & Matthes, Christian & Wang, Mu-Chun, 2017. "Measurement errors and monetary policy: Then and now," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 66-78.
    13. Giovanni Caggiano & Efrem Castelnuovo & Nicolas Groshenny, 2013. "Uncertainty Shocks and Unemployment Dynamics: An Analysis of Post-WWII U.S. Recessions," "Marco Fanno" Working Papers 0166, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche "Marco Fanno".
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    Cited by:

    1. Laurent Ferrara & Pierre Guérin, 2018. "What are the macroeconomic effects of high‐frequency uncertainty shocks?," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 33(5), pages 662-679, August.
    2. Ambrocio, Gene, 2017. "The real effects of overconfidence and fundamental uncertainty shocks," Research Discussion Papers 37/2017, Bank of Finland.
    3. Crump, Richard K. & Eusepi, Stefano & Moench, Emanuel, 2016. "The term structure of expectations and bond yields," Staff Reports 775, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, revised 01 Apr 2018.
    4. repec:eee:finsta:v:36:y:2018:i:c:p:114-129 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. MORIKAWA Masayuki, 2018. "Measuring Firm-level Uncertainty: New evidence from a business outlook survey," Discussion papers 18030, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Business fluctuations and cycles; Econometric and statistical methods;

    JEL classification:

    • C38 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Classification Methdos; Cluster Analysis; Principal Components; Factor Analysis
    • E17 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles

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