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The Forecasting Performance of Real Time Estimates of the Euro Area Output Gap


  • Marcellino, Massimiliano
  • Musso, Alberto


This paper provides real time evidence on the usefulness of the euro area output gap as a leading indicator for inflation and growth. A genuine real-time data set for the euro area is used, including vintages of several alternative gap estimates. It turns out that, despite some difference across output gap estimates and forecast horizons, the results point clearly to a lack of any usefulness of real-time output gap estimates for inflation forecasting both in the short term (one-quarter and one-year ahead) and the medium term (two-year and three-year ahead). By contrast, we find some evidence that several output gap estimates are useful to forecast real GDP growth, particularly in the short term, and some appear also useful in the medium run. A comparison with the US yields similar conclusions.

Suggested Citation

  • Marcellino, Massimiliano & Musso, Alberto, 2010. "The Forecasting Performance of Real Time Estimates of the Euro Area Output Gap," CEPR Discussion Papers 7763, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7763

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Orphanides, Athanasios & van Norden, Simon, 2005. "The Reliability of Inflation Forecasts Based on Output Gap Estimates in Real Time," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 37(3), pages 583-601, June.
    2. Mesonnier, Jean-Stephane & Renne, Jean-Paul, 2007. "A time-varying "natural" rate of interest for the euro area," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(7), pages 1768-1784, October.
    3. Anthony Garratt & James Mitchell & Shaun P. Vahey, 2009. "Measuring Output Gap Uncertainty," Birkbeck Working Papers in Economics and Finance 0909, Birkbeck, Department of Economics, Mathematics & Statistics.
    4. Domenico Giannone & Lucrezia Reichlin, 2005. "Trends and cycles in the Euro Area: how much heterogeneity and should we worry about it?," Macroeconomics 0511016, EconWPA.
    5. Tommaso Proietti & Alberto Musso & Thomas Westermann, 2007. "Estimating potential output and the output gap for the euro area: a model-based production function approach," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 33(1), pages 85-113, July.
    6. Alberto Musso & Livio Stracca & Dick van Dijk, 2009. "Instability and Nonlinearity in the Euro-Area Phillips Curve," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 5(2), pages 181-212, June.
    7. Clark, Todd E. & McCracken, Michael W., 2009. "Tests of Equal Predictive Ability With Real-Time Data," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 27(4), pages 441-454.
    8. Clark, Todd E. & McCracken, Michael W., 2005. "The power of tests of predictive ability in the presence of structural breaks," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 124(1), pages 1-31, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Marcellino, Massimiliano & Musso, Alberto, 2011. "The reliability of real-time estimates of the euro area output gap," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 1842-1856, July.
    2. Marcin Wolski, 2016. "Welfare-theoretic Optimal Policies in a New-Keynesian Economy with Heterogeneous Regions: Any Role for Financial Integration?," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(3), pages 742-761, May.
    3. Czudaj, Robert, 2011. "P-star in times of crisis - Forecasting inflation for the euro area," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 390-407, September.
    4. João Sousa Andrade & António Portugal Duarte, 2014. "Output-gaps in the PIIGS Economies: An Ingredient of a Greek Tragedy," GEMF Working Papers 2014-06, GEMF, Faculty of Economics, University of Coimbra.

    More about this item


    data revisions; euro area; inflation forecasts; Output gap; real GDP forecasts; real-time data;

    JEL classification:

    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • E37 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies


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