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An Investment-Function-Based Measure of Capacity Utilisation. Potential Output and Utilised Capacity in the Bank of Italy's Quarterly Model

  • Giuseppe Parigi


    (Banca d'Italia)

  • Stefano Siviero


    (Banca d'Italia)

Measures of potential output and the output gap are increasingly being developed and used to concisely quantify and monitor the risk of price accelerations stemming from rises in aggregate demand that are not met by a corresponding increase in supply. They often play a prominent role in the price determination mechanisms of macroeconometric models. In this paper we build a measure of potential private-sector value added for the Italian economy that is consistent with the capital accumulation process in the Banca d'Italia's Quarterly Model - and more generally with the rest of the supply-side block of that model. More specifically, we exploit the fact that the investment function can be thought of as a relationship transforming desired gross additions to capacity output into capital accumulation by means of a conversion factor (the optimal capital/output ratio). Thus, if one removes the component of investment decisions that stems from changes in the relative price of the production factors (i.e., in the optimal capital/output ratio), then a measure of the desired gross addition to capacity may be constructed.The results draw a cyclical picture of the degree of capacity utilisation for the period 1970-1997 that is roughly in line with those produced by the Wharton and Hodrick-Prescott filter approaches, as well as with the pictures resulting from the ISAE, IMF, European Commission and OECD measures of the output gap. Our investment-function-based measure appears to be a promising indicator of the pressure exerted on prices by demand accelerations. Its empirical properties are, on the whole, acceptable and plausible.

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Paper provided by Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area in its series Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) with number 367.

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Date of creation: Feb 2000
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bdi:wptemi:td_367_00
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  1. Marianne Baxter & Robert G. King, 1999. "Measuring Business Cycles: Approximate Band-Pass Filters For Economic Time Series," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(4), pages 575-593, November.
  2. repec:oup:qjecon:v:114:y:1999:i:1:p:185-227 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Giancarlo Corsetti & Paolo Pesenti & Nouriel Roubini, 1998. "What Caused the Asian Currency and Financial Crisis?," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 343, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  4. Harvey, A C & Jaeger, A, 1993. "Detrending, Stylized Facts and the Business Cycle," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 8(3), pages 231-47, July-Sept.
  5. Gerlach, Stefan & Smets, Frank, 1999. "Output gaps and monetary policy in the EMU area1," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(4-6), pages 801-812, April.
  6. Agustín Maravall, 1996. "Unobserved Components in Economic Time Series," Banco de Espa�a Working Papers 9609, Banco de Espa�a.
  7. Paula De Masi, 1997. "IMF Estimates of Potential Output: Theory and Practice," IMF Working Papers 97/177, International Monetary Fund.
  8. Charles Adams & David T. Coe, 1990. "A Systems Approach to Estimating the Natural Rate of Unemployment and Potential Output for the United States," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 37(2), pages 232-293, June.
  9. Claude Giorno & Pete Richardson & Deborah Roseveare & Paul van den Noord, 1995. "Estimating Potential Output, Output Gaps and Structural Budget Balances," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 152, OECD Publishing.
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