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Measurement error in general equilibrium: the aggregate effects of noisy economic indicators

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  • Antulio N. Bomfim

Abstract

I analyze the business cycle implications of noisy economic indicators in the context of a dynamic general equilibrium model. Two main results emerge. First, measurement error in preliminary data releases can have a quantitatively important effect on economic fluctuations. For instance, under efficient signal-extraction, the introduction of accurate economic indicators would make aggregate output 10 to 30 percent more volatile than suggested by the post-war experience of the U.S. economy. Second, the sign---but not the magnitude---of the measurement error effect depends crucially on the signal processing capabilities of agents. In particular, if agents take the noisy data at face value, significant improvements in the quality of key economic indicators would lead to considerably less cyclical volatility.

Suggested Citation

  • Antulio N. Bomfim, 1999. "Measurement error in general equilibrium: the aggregate effects of noisy economic indicators," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1999-54, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:1999-54
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    6. Russell Cooper & Andrew John, 1988. "Coordinating Coordination Failures in Keynesian Models," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 103(3), pages 441-463.
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    8. Blanchard, Olivier Jean & Kahn, Charles M, 1980. "The Solution of Linear Difference Models under Rational Expectations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(5), pages 1305-1311, July.
    9. Marianne Baxter & Robert G. King, 1991. "Productive externalities and business cycles," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 53, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    10. Kenneth Kasa, 2000. "Forecasting the Forecasts of Others in the Frequency Domain," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 3(4), pages 726-756, October.
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    Keywords

    Economic indicators ; Business cycles;

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