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News, Noise, and Estimates of the "True" Unobserved State of the Economy

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  • Dennis J. Fixler
  • Jeremy Nalewaik

    (Bureau of Economic Analysis)

Abstract

Which provides a better estimates of the growth rate of “true” U.S. output, gross domestic product (GDP) or gross domestic income (GDI)? Past work has assumed the idiosyncratic variation in each estimate is pure noise, taking greater variability to imply lower reliability. We develop models that relax this assumption, allowing the idiosyncratic variation in the estimates to be partly or pure news; then greater variability may imply higher information content and greater reliability. Based on evidence from revisions, we reject the pure noise assumption for GDI growth, and our results favor placing sizable weight on GDI growth because of its relatively large idiosyncratic variability. This calls into question the suitability of the pure noise assumption in other contexts, including dynamic factor models.

Suggested Citation

  • Dennis J. Fixler & Jeremy Nalewaik, 2010. "News, Noise, and Estimates of the "True" Unobserved State of the Economy," BEA Working Papers 0068, Bureau of Economic Analysis.
  • Handle: RePEc:bea:wpaper:0068
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    Cited by:

    1. Hecq, Alain & Jacobs, Jan P.A.M. & Stamatogiannis, Michalis P., 2019. "Testing for news and noise in non-stationary time series subject to multiple historical revisions," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 396-407.
    2. Manuel P. Gonzalez-Astudillo & John M. Roberts, 2016. "When Can Trend-Cycle Decompositions Be Trusted?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2016-099, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    3. Jeremy J. Nalewaik, 2008. "Lack of signal error (LoSE) and implications for OLS regression: measurement error for macro data," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2008-15, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    4. Kerry Patterson & Hossein Hassani & Saeed Heravi & Anatoly Zhigljavsky, 2011. "Multivariate singular spectrum analysis for forecasting revisions to real-time data," Journal of Applied Statistics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(10), pages 2183-2211.
    5. Verónica Cañal-Fernández, 2012. "Accuracy and reliability of Spanish regional accounts (CRE-95)," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 43(3), pages 1299-1320, December.
    6. Michael Callaghan & Thomas van Florenstein Mulder, 2020. "GDP Plus: An Economic Activity Indicator for New Zealand," Reserve Bank of New Zealand Analytical Notes series AN2020/01, Reserve Bank of New Zealand.
    7. Koop, Gary & McIntyre, Stuart & Mitchell, James & Poon, Aubrey, 2020. "Reconciled Estimates of Monthly GDP in the US," EMF Research Papers 37, Economic Modelling and Forecasting Group.
    8. David de Antonio Liedo, 2014. "Nowcasting Belgium," Working Paper Research 256, National Bank of Belgium.
    9. Jan P. A. M. Jacobs & Samad Sarferaz & Jan-Egbert Sturm & Simon van Norden, 2022. "Can GDP Measurement Be Further Improved? Data Revision and Reconciliation," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(1), pages 423-431, January.
    10. Jeremy J. Nalewaik, 2006. "Estimating probabilities of recession in real time using GDP and GDI," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2007-07, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    11. Jeremy J. Nalewaik, 2010. "The Income- and Expenditure-Side Estimates of U.S. Output Growth," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 41(1 (Spring), pages 71-127.
    12. Dennis Fixler & David S. Johnson, 2014. "Accounting for the Distribution of Income in the U.S. National Accounts," NBER Chapters, in: Measuring Economic Sustainability and Progress, pages 213-244, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. S. Boragan Aruoba & Francis X. Diebold & Jeremy J. Nalewaik & Frank Schorfheide & Dongho Song, 2011. "Improving GDP measurement: a forecast combination perspective," Working Papers 11-41, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
    14. Nalewaik, Jeremy J., 2011. "Incorporating vintage differences and forecasts into Markov switching models," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 281-307, April.
    15. Nalewaik, Jeremy J., 2011. "Incorporating vintage differences and forecasts into Markov switching models," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 281-307.
    16. J. Steven Landefeld & Eugene P. Seskin & Barbara M. Fraumeni, 2008. "Taking the Pulse of the Economy: Measuring GDP," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(2), pages 193-216, Spring.
    17. Jeremy J. Nalewaik, 2011. "Forecasting recessions using stall speeds," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2011-24, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    18. Jan P.A.M. Jacobs & Samad Sarferaz & Simon van Norden & Jan-Egbert Sturm, 2013. "Modeling Multivariate Data Revisions," CIRANO Working Papers 2013s-44, CIRANO.

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    JEL classification:

    • E6 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook

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