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News, noise, and estimates of the "true" unobserved state of the economy

  • Dennis J. Fixler
  • Jeremy J. Nalewaik

Which provides a better estimate of the "true" state of the U.S. economy, gross domestic product (GDP) or gross domestic income (GDI)? Past work has assumed the difference between each estimate and the "true" state of the economy is pure noise, taking greater variability to imply lower reliability. We posit instead that each difference may be pure news; then greater variability implies higher information content and greater reliability. This is a general point, applicable to numerous situations beyond the case of combining GDP and GDI. For that particular case, we analyze various vintages of estimates, developing models for combining GDP and GDI under the differing assumptions, and use revisions to show the news assumption is probably more accurate.

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Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series Finance and Economics Discussion Series with number 2007-34.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2007-34
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  9. Faust, Jon & Rogers, John H & Wright, Jonathan H, 2005. "News and Noise in G-7 GDP Announcements," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 37(3), pages 403-19, June.
  10. Weale, Martin, 1992. "Estimation of Data Measured with Error and Subject to Linear Restrictions," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 7(2), pages 167-74, April-Jun.
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  15. Thomas J. Sargent & Christopher A. Sims, 1977. "Business cycle modeling without pretending to have too much a priori economic theory," Working Papers 55, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  16. Jeremy J. Nalewaik, 2007. "Incorporating vintage differences and forecasts into Markov switching models," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2007-23, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  17. Smith, R.J. & Satchell, S.E., 1995. "Measurement Error with Accounting Constraints: Point and Interval Estimation for Latent Data with an Application to UK Gross Domestic Product," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 9522, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  18. Dennis Fixler & Bruce Grimm, 2006. "GDP Estimates: Rationality Tests and Turning Point Performance," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 25(3), pages 213-229, 06.
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