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Uncertainty and Economic Activity: A Global Perspective

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  • Ambrogio Cesa-Bianchi
  • M. Hashem Pesaran
  • Alessandro Rebucci

Abstract

The 2007-2008 global financial crisis and the subsequent anemic recovery have rekindled academic interest in quantifying the impact of uncertainty on macroeconomic dynamics based on the premise that uncertainty causes economic activity to slow down and contract. In this paper, we study the interrelation between financial markets volatility and economic activity assuming that both variables are driven by the same set of unobserved common factors. We further assume that these common factors affect volatility and economic activity with a time lag of at least a quarter. Under these assumptions, we show analytically that volatility is forward looking and that the output equation of a typical VAR estimated in the literature is mis-specified as least squares estimates of this equation are inconsistent. Empirically, we document a statistically significant and economically sizable impact of future output growth on current volatility, and no effect of volatility shocks on business cycles, over and above those driven by the common factors. We interpret this evidence as suggesting that volatility is a symptom rather than a cause of economic instability.

Suggested Citation

  • Ambrogio Cesa-Bianchi & M. Hashem Pesaran & Alessandro Rebucci, 2014. "Uncertainty and Economic Activity: A Global Perspective," CESifo Working Paper Series 4736, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4736
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    Cited by:

    1. Huber, Florian, 2016. "Density forecasting using Bayesian global vector autoregressions with stochastic volatility," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 818-837.
    2. Chauvet, Marcelle & Senyuz, Zeynep & Yoldas, Emre, 2015. "What does financial volatility tell us about macroeconomic fluctuations?," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 340-360.
    3. Alexander Chudik & M. Hashem Pesaran, 2016. "Theory And Practice Of Gvar Modelling," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(1), pages 165-197, February.
    4. Netšunajev, Aleksei & Glass, Katharina, 2017. "Uncertainty and employment dynamics in the euro area and the US," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 48-62.
    5. Jae Sim & Egon Zakrajsek & Simon Gilchrist, 2010. "Uncertainty, Financial Frictions, and Investment Dynamics," 2010 Meeting Papers 1285, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    6. Jannsen, Nils & Potjagailo, Galina & Wolters, Maik H., 2015. "Monetary policy during financial crises: Is the transmission mechanism impaired?," Kiel Working Papers 2005, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    7. Potjagailo, Galina, 2017. "Spillover effects from Euro area monetary policy across Europe: A factor-augmented VAR approach," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 127-147.
    8. repec:bdr:ensayo:v:35:y:2017:i:82:p:64-77 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Silvia Delrio, 2016. "Estimating the effects of global uncertainty in open economies," Working Papers 2016:19, Department of Economics, University of Venice "Ca' Foscari".
    10. repec:eee:dyncon:v:81:y:2017:i:c:p:115-139 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Michele Piffer & Maximilian Podstawski, 2016. "Identifying Uncertainty Shocks Using the Price of Gold," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1549, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    12. Huber, Florian, 2014. "Density Forecasting using Bayesian Global Vector Autoregressions with Common Stochastic Volatility," Department of Economics Working Paper Series 4280, WU Vienna University of Economics and Business.
    13. Born, Benjamin & Breuer, Sebastian & Elstner, Steffen, 2014. "Uncertainty and the Great Recession," Working Papers 04/2014, German Council of Economic Experts / Sachverständigenrat zur Begutachtung der gesamtwirtschaftlichen Entwicklung.
    14. Peter Claeys, 2017. "Uncertainty spillover and policy reactions," Ensayos sobre Política Económica, Banco de la Republica de Colombia, vol. 35(82), pages 64-77, April.
    15. Cesa-Bianchi, Ambrogio & Eguren-Martin, Fernando & Thwaites, Gregory, 2017. "Foreign booms, domestic busts: the global dimension of banking crises," Bank of England working papers 644, Bank of England.
    16. Potjagailo, Galina, 2016. "Spillover effects from euro area monetary policy across the EU: A factor-augmented VAR approach," Kiel Working Papers 2033, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    17. Syed Hassan & Sarosh Shabi & Taufiq Choudhry, 2018. "US Economic Uncertainty, EU Business Cycles and the Global Financial Crisis," Working Papers 2018-05, Swansea University, School of Management.
    18. Peter Claeys & Borek Vasicek, 2017. "Transmission of Uncertainty Shocks: Learning from Heterogeneous Responses on a Panel of EU Countries," Working Papers 2017/13, Czech National Bank, Research Department.
    19. Apostolos Serletis & Sajjadur Rahman, 2015. "On the Output Effects of Monetary Variability," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 26(2), pages 225-236, April.
    20. Pinter, Gabor & Theodoridis, Konstantinos & Yates, Tony, 2013. "Risk news shocks and the business cycle," Bank of England working papers 483, Bank of England.
    21. Jamal Bouoiyour & Refk Selmi, 2017. "Political elections and uncertainty -Are BRICS markets equally exposed to Trump's agenda?," Papers 1701.02182, arXiv.org.
    22. Ernst, Ekkehard & Semmler, Willi & Haider, Alexander, 2017. "Debt-deflation, financial market stress and regime change – Evidence from Europe using MRVAR," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 115-139.
    23. Cesa-Bianchi, Ambrogio & Fernandez-Corugedo, Emilio, 2014. "Uncertainty in a model with credit frictions," Bank of England working papers 496, Bank of England.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    uncertainty; realized volatility; GVAR; great recession; identification; business cycle; common factors;

    JEL classification:

    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
    • F44 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - International Business Cycles
    • G15 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - International Financial Markets

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