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the Reliability of Real Time Estimates of the EURO Area Output Gap

  • Massimiliano Marcellino
  • Alberto Musso

This paper provides evidence on the reliability of euro area real-time output gap estimates, including those provided by the IMF, OECD and EC and a set of model based measures. A genuine real-time data set is used, including vintages of several sets of euro area output gap estimates available from 1999 to 2006. It turns out that real-time estimates of the output gap are characterised by a high degree of uncertainty, much higher than that resulting from model and estimation uncertainty only. In particular, the evidence indicates that both the magnitude and the sign of the real-time estimates of the euro area output gap are very uncertain. The uncertainty is mostly due to parameter instability, while data revisions seem to play a minor role. To benchmark our results, we repeat the analysis for the US over the same sample. It turns out that US real time estimates are much more correlated with final estimates than for the euro area, data revisions play a larger role, but overall the unreliability in real time of the US output gap measures detected in earlier studies is confirmed in the more recent period.

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Paper provided by European University Institute in its series Economics Working Papers with number ECO2010/06.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:eui:euiwps:eco2010/06
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  1. Christophe Planas & Alessandro Rossi, 2004. "Can inflation data improve the real-time reliability of output gap estimates?," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(1), pages 121-133.
  2. Camacho, Maximo & Pérez-Quirós, Gabriel, 2009. "Introducing the Euro-STING: Short-Term Indicator of Euro Area Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 7343, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Tommaso PROIETTI & Alberto MUSSO & Thomas WESTERMANN, 2002. "Estimating Potential Output and the Output Gap for the Euro Area: a Model-Based Production Function Approach," Economics Working Papers ECO2002/09, European University Institute.
  4. repec:eui:euiwps:eco2010/15 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Hodrick, Robert J & Prescott, Edward C, 1997. "Postwar U.S. Business Cycles: An Empirical Investigation," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 29(1), pages 1-16, February.
  6. 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.
  7. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 1999. "Forecasting Inflation," NBER Working Papers 7023, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Marcellino, Massimiliano & Musso, Alberto, 2010. "The Reliability of Real Time Estimates of the Euro Area Output Gap," CEPR Discussion Papers 7716, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Athanasios Orphanides & Simon van Norden, 2002. "The Unreliability of Output-Gap Estimates in Real Time," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(4), pages 569-583, November.
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  13. Nelson, Edward & Nikolov, Kalin, 2002. "Monetary Policy and Stagflation in the UK," CEPR Discussion Papers 3458, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. Orphanides, Athanasios, 2003. "The quest for prosperity without inflation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 633-663, April.
  15. Hamilton, James D., 1986. "A standard error for the estimated state vector of a state-space model," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 387-397, December.
  16. Giannone, Domenico & Henry, Jérôme & Lalik, Magdalena & Modugno, Michele, 2010. "An Area-Wide Real-Time Database for the Euro Area," CEPR Discussion Papers 7673, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. Watson, Mark W., 1986. "Univariate detrending methods with stochastic trends," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 49-75, July.
  18. S. Boragan Aruoba, 2008. "Data Revisions Are Not Well Behaved," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 40(2-3), pages 319-340, 03.
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