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Nowcasting, Business Cycle Dating and the Interpretation of New Information when Real-Time Data are Available

  • Lee, Kevin
  • Olekalns, Nils
  • Shields, Kalvinder K

A canonical model is described which reflects the real-time informational context of decision-making. Comparisons are drawn with ‘conventional’ models that incorrectly omit market-informed insights on future macroeconomic conditions and inappropriately incorporate information that was not available at the time. It is argued that conventional models are misspecified and misinterpret news but that these deficiencies will not be exposed either by diagnostic tests applied to the conventional models or by typical impulse response analyses. This is demonstrated through an analysis of quarterly US data 1968q4-2008q4. However, estimated real-time models considerably improve out-ofsample forecasting performance, provide more accurate ‘nowcasts’ of the current state of the macroeconomy and provide more timely indicators of the business cycle. The point is illustrated through an analysis of the US recessions of 1990q3-1991q2 and 2001q1-2001q4 and the most recent experiences of 2008.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 7426.

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Date of creation: Sep 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7426
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  1. Pesaran, M. Hashem & Weale, Martin, 2006. "Survey Expectations," Handbook of Economic Forecasting, Elsevier.
  2. Todd E. Clark & Michael McCracken, 1999. "Tests of Equal Forecast Accuracy and Encompassing for Nested Models," Computing in Economics and Finance 1999 1241, Society for Computational 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. Athony Garratt & Kevin Lee & Mohammad Hashem Pesaran & Yongcheol Shin, 2001. "Forecast Uncertainties in Macroeconomics Modelling: An Application to the UK Economy," ESE Discussion Papers 64, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
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  7. Brunner, Allan D, 2000. "On the Derivation of Monetary Policy Shocks: Should We Throw the VAR Out with the Bath Water?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 32(2), pages 254-79, May.
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  11. Koop, Gary & Pesaran, M. Hashem & Potter, Simon M., 1996. "Impulse response analysis in nonlinear multivariate models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 119-147, September.
  12. N. Kundan Kishor & Evan F. Koenig, 2009. "VAR Estimation and Forecasting When Data Are Subject to Revision," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(2), pages 181-190, July.
  13. Kevin Lee & Emi Mise & Kalvinder Shields & Tony Garratt, 2005. "Real time Representations of the Output Gap," Money Macro and Finance (MMF) Research Group Conference 2005 26, Money Macro and Finance Research Group.
  14. Jacobs, Jan P.A.M. & van Norden, Simon, 2011. "Modeling data revisions: Measurement error and dynamics of "true" values," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 161(2), pages 101-109, April.
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