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(Un)Predictability and Macroeconomic Stability

  • D'Agostino, Antonello

    (Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland)

  • Domenico, Giannone


  • Surico, Paolo

    (Bank of England and University of Bari)

This paper documents a new stylized fact of the greater macroeconomic stability of the U.S. economy over the last two decades. Using 131 monthly time series, three popular statistical methods and the forecasts of the Federal Reserve's Greenbook and the Survey of Professional Forecasters, we show that the ability to predict several measures of inflation and real activity declined remarkably, relative to naive forecasts, since the mid-1980s. This break down in forecast ability appears to be an inherent feature of the most recent period and thus represents a new challenge for competing explanations of the `Great Moderation'.

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Paper provided by Central Bank of Ireland in its series Research Technical Papers with number 5/RT/06.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cbi:wpaper:5/rt/06
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  1. Domenico Giannone & Lucrezia Reichlin & Luca Sala, 2005. "Monetary Policy in Real Time," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2004, Volume 19, pages 161-224 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Raffaella Giacomini & Halbert White, 2003. "Tests of conditional predictive ability," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 572, Boston College Department of Economics.
  3. Giannone, Domenico & Reichlin, Lucrezia & Small, David, 2008. "Nowcasting: The real-time informational content of macroeconomic data," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 665-676, May.
  4. Jean Boivin & Marc P. Giannoni, 2003. "Has Monetary Policy Become More Effective?," NBER Working Papers 9459, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 2003. "Has the business cycle changed?," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 9-56.
  6. Timothy Cogley & Thomas J. Sargent, 2003. "Drifts and volatilities: monetary policies and outcomes in the post WWII U.S," FRB Atlanta Working Paper No. 2003-25, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  7. D'Agostino, Antonello & Giannone, Domenico, 2006. "Comparing Alternative Predictors Based on Large-Panel Factor Models," Research Technical Papers 14/RT/06, Central Bank of Ireland.
  8. Diebold, Francis X & Mariano, Roberto S, 1995. "Comparing Predictive Accuracy," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 13(3), pages 253-63, July.
  9. Chang-Jin Kim & Charles Nelson & Jeremy Piger, 2001. "The less volatile U.S. economy: a Bayesian investigation of timing, breadth, and potential explanations," International Finance Discussion Papers 707, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  10. Gabriel Perez-Quiros & Margaret M. McConnell, 2000. "Output Fluctuations in the United States: What Has Changed since the Early 1980's?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1464-1476, December.
  11. Croux, Christophe & Forni, Mario & Reichlin, Lucrezia, 1999. "A Measure of Comovement for Economic Variables: Theory and Empirics," CEPR Discussion Papers 2339, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. David H. Romer & Christina D. Romer, 2000. "Federal Reserve Information and the Behavior of Interest Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 429-457, June.
  13. Chang-Jin Kim & Charles R. Nelson, 1999. "Has The U.S. Economy Become More Stable? A Bayesian Approach Based On A Markov-Switching Model Of The Business Cycle," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(4), pages 608-616, November.
  14. Boivin, Jean & Ng, Serena, 2005. "Understanding and Comparing Factor-Based Forecasts," MPRA Paper 836, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  15. Poole, William, 2005. "After Greenspan: whither fed policy?," Speech 1, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  16. Andrew Atkeson & Lee E. Ohanian., 2001. "Are Phillips curves useful for forecasting inflation?," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Win, pages 2-11.
  17. Olivier Blanchard & John Simon, 2001. "The Long and Large Decline in U.S. Output Volatility," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 32(1), pages 135-174.
  18. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 2001. "Forecasting output and inflation: the role of asset prices," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Mar.
  19. Forni, Mario & Hallin, Marc & Lippi, Marco & Reichlin, Lucrezia, 1999. "The Generalized Dynamic Factor Model: Identification and Estimation," CEPR Discussion Papers 2338, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  20. Kenneth D. West, 1994. "Asymptotic Inference About Predictive Ability," Macroeconomics 9410002, EconWPA.
  21. Timothy Cogley & Thomas Sargent, . "Evolving Post-World War II U.S. Inflation Dynamics," Working Papers 2132872, Department of Economics, W. P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University.
  22. Glenn D. Rudebusch, 2001. "Term structure evidence on interest rate smoothing and monetary policy inertia," Working Paper Series 2001-02, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  23. Shaghil Ahmed & Andrew Levin & Beth Anne Wilson, 2004. "Recent U.S. Macroeconomic Stability: Good Policies, Good Practices, or Good Luck?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(3), pages 824-832, August.
  24. Stock, James H & Watson, Mark W, 2002. "Macroeconomic Forecasting Using Diffusion Indexes," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(2), pages 147-62, April.
  25. Sean D. Campbell, 2004. "Macroeconomic volatility, predictability and uncertainty in the Great Moderation: evidence from the survey of professional forecasters," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2004-52, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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