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(Un)Predictability and macroeconomic stability

Listed author(s):
  • 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
Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20060605
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  1. Poole, William, 2005. "After Greenspan: whither fed policy?," Speech 1, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  2. Boivin, Jean & Ng, Serena, 2005. "Understanding and Comparing Factor-Based Forecasts," MPRA Paper 836, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. 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.).
  4. D'Agostino, Antonello & Giannone, Domenico, 2006. "Comparing Alternative Predictors Based on Large-Panel Factor Models," Research Technical Papers 14/RT/06, Central Bank of Ireland.
  5. 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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  7. Domenico Giannone & Lucrezia Reichlin & Luca Sala, 2005. "Monetary Policy in Real Time," Working Papers 284, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
    • 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.
  8. Gabriel Perez-Quiros & Margaret M. McConnell, 2000. "Output Fluctuations in the United States: What Has Changed since the Early 1980's?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1464-1476, December.
  9. Boivin, Jean & Giannoni, Marc, 2006. "Has Monetary Policy Become More Effective?," CEPR Discussion Papers 5463, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Timothy Cogley & Thomas J. Sargent, 2003. "Drifts and volatilities: monetary policies and outcomes in the post WWII U.S," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2003-25, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  11. Chang-Jin Kim & Charles R. Nelson & Jeremy M. Piger, 2001. "The less volatile U.S. economy: a Bayesian investigation of timing, breadth, and potential explanations," International Finance Discussion Papers 707, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  12. Shaghil Ahmed & Andrew Levin & Beth Anne Wilson, 2004. "Recent U.S. Macroeconomic Stability: Good Policies, Good Practices, or Good Luck?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(3), pages 824-832, August.
  13. 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.
  14. Giacomini, Raffaella & White, Halbert, 2003. "Tests of Conditional Predictive Ability," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt5jk0j5jh, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  15. Christophe Croux & Mario Forni & Lucrezia Reichlin, 2001. "A measure of co-movement for economic variables: theory and empirics," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/10139, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  16. Domenico Giannone & Lucrezia Reichlin & David H. Small, 2005. "Nowcasting GDP and inflation: the real-time informational content of macroeconomic data releases," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2005-42, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  17. James H. Stock & Mark W.Watson, 2003. "Forecasting Output and Inflation: The Role of Asset Prices," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(3), pages 788-829, September.
  18. Diebold, Francis X & Mariano, Roberto S, 2002. "Comparing Predictive Accuracy," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(1), pages 134-144, January.
  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. Stock, James H & Watson, Mark W, 2002. "Macroeconomic Forecasting Using Diffusion Indexes," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(2), pages 147-162, April.
  21. 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.
  22. Glenn D. Rudebusch, 2001. "Term structure evidence on interest rate smoothing and monetary policy inertia," Working Paper Series 2001-02, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  23. 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.
  24. Timothy Cogley & Thomas Sargent, "undated". "Evolving Post-World War II U.S. Inflation Dynamics," Working Papers 2132872, Department of Economics, W. P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University.
  25. 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.
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