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Reference Cycles: The NBER Methodology Revisited


  • Forni, Mario
  • Hallin, Marc
  • Lippi, Marco
  • Reichlin, Lucrezia


This paper proposes a new way to compute a coincident and a leading index of economic activity. The method provides a unified approach for the selection of the coincident and the leading variables, for averaging them into coincident and leading indexes and for the identification of turning points. The statistical framework we propose reconciles dynamic principal components analysis wit dynamic factor analysis. We use our procedure to estimate coincident and leading indexes for the EMU area as well as country-specific indexes. Unlike other methods used in the literature, the country indexes take into consideration the cross-country as well as the within-country correlation structure.

Suggested Citation

  • Forni, Mario & Hallin, Marc & Lippi, Marco & Reichlin, Lucrezia, 2000. "Reference Cycles: The NBER Methodology Revisited," CEPR Discussion Papers 2400, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:2400

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Stock, James H. & Watson, Mark W., 1999. "Business cycle fluctuations in us macroeconomic time series," Handbook of Macroeconomics,in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 1, pages 3-64 Elsevier.
    2. Forni, Mario & Lippi, Marco, 2001. "The Generalized Dynamic Factor Model: Representation Theory," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 17(06), pages 1113-1141, December.
    3. Mario Forni & Marc Hallin & Marco Lippi & Lucrezia Reichlin, 2000. "The Generalized Dynamic-Factor Model: Identification And Estimation," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(4), pages 540-554, November.
    4. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 1989. "New Indexes of Coincident and Leading Economic Indicators," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1989, Volume 4, pages 351-409 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Chamberlain, Gary & Rothschild, Michael, 1983. "Arbitrage, Factor Structure, and Mean-Variance Analysis on Large Asset Markets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(5), pages 1281-1304, September.
    6. Thomas J. Sargent & Christopher A. Sims, 1977. "Business cycle modeling without pretending to have too much a priori economic theory," Working Papers 55, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
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    Cited by:

    1. Egon Smeral & Michael Wüger, 2004. "Does Complexity Matter? Methods for Improving Forecasting Accuracy in Tourism," WIFO Working Papers 225, WIFO.
    2. Bekiros Stelios & Paccagnini Alessia, 2015. "Estimating point and density forecasts for the US economy with a factor-augmented vector autoregressive DSGE model," Studies in Nonlinear Dynamics & Econometrics, De Gruyter, vol. 19(2), pages 107-136, April.
    3. Massimiliano Marcellino & George Kapetanios, 2006. "The Role of Search Frictions and Bargaining for Inflation Dynamics," Working Papers 305, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
    4. Stephen G. Hall & Nicholas G. Zonzilos, 2003. "An Indicator Measuring Underlying Economic Activity in Greece," Working Papers 04, Bank of Greece.
    5. Juan Carlos Chávez Martín del Campo & Ricardo Rodríguez Vargas & Felipe de Jesús Fonseca Hernández, 2010. "Vacas gordas y vacas flacas: la política fiscal y el balance estructural en México, 1990-2009," Estudios Económicos, El Colegio de México, Centro de Estudios Económicos, vol. 25(2), pages 309-336.
    6. Li, Hongjun & Li, Qi & Shi, Yutang, 2017. "Determining the number of factors when the number of factors can increase with sample size," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 197(1), pages 76-86.
    7. Jushan Bai & Serena Ng, 2002. "Determining the Number of Factors in Approximate Factor Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(1), pages 191-221, January.
    8. Marcellino, Massimiliano & Stock, James H. & Watson, Mark W., 2003. "Macroeconomic forecasting in the Euro area: Country specific versus area-wide information," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 1-18, February.
    9. Consolo, Agostino & Favero, Carlo A. & Paccagnini, Alessia, 2009. "On the statistical identification of DSGE models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 150(1), pages 99-115, May.
    10. Stelios D. Bekiros & Alessia Paccagnini, 2016. "Policy‐Oriented Macroeconomic Forecasting with Hybrid DGSE and Time‐Varying Parameter VAR Models," Journal of Forecasting, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 35(7), pages 613-632, November.
    11. Sonia de Lucas Santos & M. Jesús Delgado Rodríguez & Inmaculada Álvarez Ayuso & José Luis Cendejas Bueno, 2011. "Los ciclos económicos internacionales: antecedentes y revisión de la literatura," Cuadernos de Economía - Spanish Journal of Economics and Finance, ELSEVIER, vol. 34(95), pages 73-84, Agosto.
    12. Harding, Don & Pagan, Adrian, 2003. "A comparison of two business cycle dating methods," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 27(9), pages 1681-1690, July.
    13. Stelios D. Bekiros & Alessia Paccagnini, 2013. "Bayesian Forecasting with a Factor-Augmented Vector Autoregressive DSGE model," Working Paper series 22_13, Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis.
    14. Miroslav Klúcik & Ján Haluška, 2008. "Construction of composite leading indicator for the Slovak economy," Analele Stiintifice ale Universitatii "Alexandru Ioan Cuza" din Iasi - Stiinte Economice, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, vol. 55, pages 363-370, November.
    15. Michael Artis & Anindya Banerjee & Massimiliano Marcellino, "undated". "Factor forecasts for the UK," Working Papers 203, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
    16. Bekiros, Stelios D. & Paccagnini, Alessia, 2014. "Bayesian forecasting with small and medium scale factor-augmented vector autoregressive DSGE models," Computational Statistics & Data Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 298-323.
    17. George Kapetanios & Massimiliano Marcellino, 2009. "A parametric estimation method for dynamic factor models of large dimensions," Journal of Time Series Analysis, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(2), pages 208-238, March.
    18. Bai, Jushan, 2004. "Estimating cross-section common stochastic trends in nonstationary panel data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 122(1), pages 137-183, September.
    19. George Kapetanios & Massimiliano Marcellino, 2003. "A Comparison of Estimation Methods for Dynamic Factor Models of Large Dimensions," Working Papers 489, Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
    20. Marcus Scheiblecker, 2007. "Dating of Business Cycles in Austria," WIFO Monatsberichte (monthly reports), WIFO, vol. 80(9), pages 715-730, September.
    21. Jushan Bai & Chihwa Kao, 2005. "On the Estimation and Inference of a Panel Cointegration Model with Cross-Sectional Dependence," Center for Policy Research Working Papers 75, Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University.
    22. Stelios Bekiros & Alessia Paccagnini, 2014. "Forecasting the US Economy with a Factor-Augmented Vector Autoregressive DSGE model," Working Papers 2014-183, Department of Research, Ipag Business School.

    More about this item


    Coincident And Leading Indicators; Dynamic Factor Models; Dynamic Principal Components Series;

    JEL classification:

    • C13 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Estimation: General
    • C33 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • C43 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Index Numbers and Aggregation


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