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

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  • Dennis J. Fixler
  • Jeremy J. Nalewaik

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Dennis J. Fixler & Jeremy J. Nalewaik, 2007. "News, noise, and estimates of the "true" unobserved state of the economy," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2007-34, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2007-34
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Jeremy J. Nalewaik, 2008. "Lack of signal error (LoSE) and implications for OLS regression: measurement error for macro data," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2008-15, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    2. Verónica Cañal-Fernández, 2012. "Accuracy and reliability of Spanish regional accounts (CRE-95)," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 43(3), pages 1299-1320, December.
    3. Jeremy J. Nalewaik, 2006. "Estimating probabilities of recession in real time using GDP and GDI," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2007-07, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    4. Jeremy J. Nalewaik, 2010. "The Income- and Expenditure-Side Estimates of U.S. Output Growth," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 41(1 (Spring), pages 71-127.
    5. Dennis Fixler & David S. Johnson, 2014. "Accounting for the Distribution of Income in the U.S. National Accounts," NBER Chapters,in: Measuring Economic Sustainability and Progress, pages 213-244 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. S. Boragan Aruoba & Francis X. Diebold & Jeremy J. Nalewaik & Frank Schorfheide & Dongho Song, 2011. "Improving GDP measurement: a forecast combination perspective," Working Papers 11-41, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
    7. Nalewaik, Jeremy J., 2011. "Incorporating vintage differences and forecasts into Markov switching models," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 281-307, April.
    8. Nalewaik, Jeremy J., 2011. "Incorporating vintage differences and forecasts into Markov switching models," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 281-307.
    9. J. Steven Landefeld & Eugene P. Seskin & Barbara M. Fraumeni, 2008. "Taking the Pulse of the Economy: Measuring GDP," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(2), pages 193-216, Spring.
    10. Jeremy J. Nalewaik, 2011. "Forecasting recessions using stall speeds," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2011-24, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Gross domestic product ; National income;

    JEL classification:

    • E6 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook

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