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Intuitive and reliable estimates of the output gap from a Beveridge-Nelson Filter

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  • Gunes Kamber
  • James Morley
  • Benjamin Wong

Abstract

The Beveridge-Nelson (BN) trend-cycle decomposition based on autoregressive forecasting models of U.S. quarterly real GDP growth produces estimates of the output gap that are strongly at odds with widely-held beliefs about the amplitude, persistence, and even sign of transitory movements in economic activity. These antithetical attributes are related to the autoregressive coefficient estimates implying a very high signal-tonoise ratio in terms of the variance of trend shocks as a fraction of the overall quarterly forecast error variance. When we impose a lower signal-to-noise ratio, the resulting BN decomposition, which we label the “BN filter”, produces a more intuitive estimate of the output gap that is large in amplitude, highly persistent, and typically increases in expansions and decreases in recessions. Real-time estimates from the BN filter are also reliable in the sense that they are subject to smaller revisions and predict future output growth and inflation better than estimates from other methods of trend-cycle decomposition that also impose a low signal-to-noise ratio, including deterministic detrending, the Hodrick-Prescott filter, and the bandpass filter.

Suggested Citation

  • Gunes Kamber & James Morley & Benjamin Wong, 2017. "Intuitive and reliable estimates of the output gap from a Beveridge-Nelson Filter," CAMA Working Papers 2017-03, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
  • Handle: RePEc:een:camaaa:2017-03
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Beveridge-Nelson decomposition; output gap; signal-to-noise ratio;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C18 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Methodolical Issues: General
    • E17 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles

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