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(Un)Predictability and macroeconomic stability

  • D’Agostino, Antonello
  • Giannone, Domenico
  • Surico, Paolo

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’. JEL Classification: E37, E47, C22, C53

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Paper provided by European Central Bank in its series Working Paper Series with number 0605.

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Date of creation: Apr 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20060605
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  1. Domenico Giannone & Lucrezia Reichlin & David H Small, 2007. "Nowcasting GDP and Inflation: The Real-Time Informational Content of Macroeconomic Data Releases," Money Macro and Finance (MMF) Research Group Conference 2006 164, Money Macro and Finance Research Group.
  2. 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.
  3. Shaghil Ahmed & Andrew Levin & Beth Anne Wilson, 2002. "Recent U.S. macroeconomic stability: good policies, good practices or good luck?," International Finance Discussion Papers 730, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  4. Margaret McConnell & Gabriel Perez Quiros, 2000. "Output fluctuations in the United States: what has changed since the early 1980s?," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Mar.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Raffaella Giacomini & Halbert White, 2003. "Tests of conditional predictive ability," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 572, Boston College Department of Economics.
  8. Boivin, Jean & Ng, Serena, 2005. "Understanding and Comparing Factor-Based Forecasts," MPRA Paper 836, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  9. repec:att:wimass:9417 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Rudebusch, Glenn D., 2002. "Term structure evidence on interest rate smoothing and monetary policy inertia," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(6), pages 1161-1187, September.
  11. D'Agostino, Antonello & Giannone, Domenico, 2007. "Comparing Alternative Predictors Based on Large-Panel Factor Models," CEPR Discussion Papers 6564, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Francis X. Diebold & Robert S. Mariano, 1994. "Comparing Predictive Accuracy," NBER Technical Working Papers 0169, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Timothy Cogley & Thomas J. Sargent, 2005. "Drift and Volatilities: Monetary Policies and Outcomes in the Post WWII U.S," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 8(2), pages 262-302, April.
  14. Christophe Croux & Mario Forni & Lucrezia Reichlin, 2001. "A Measure Of Comovement For Economic Variables: Theory And Empirics," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(2), pages 232-241, May.
  15. Jean Boivin & Marc P. Giannoni, 2006. "Has Monetary Policy Become More Effective?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(3), pages 445-462, August.
  16. Domenico Giannone & Lucrezia Reichlin & Luca Sala, 2005. "Monetary policy in real time," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/6401, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    • 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.
  17. Kim, Chang-Jin & Nelson, Charles R & Piger, Jeremy, 2004. "The Less-Volatile U.S. Economy: A Bayesian Investigation of Timing, Breadth, and Potential Explanations," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 22(1), pages 80-93, January.
  18. 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.).
  19. 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.
  20. Kenneth D. West, 1994. "Asymptotic Inference About Predictive Ability," Macroeconomics 9410002, EconWPA.
  21. 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.
  22. Poole, William, 2005. "After Greenspan: whither fed policy?," Speech 1, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
  26. 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.
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