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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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  1. Ben S. Bernanke & Jean Boivin & Piotr Eliasz, 2004. "Measuring the effects of monetary policy: a factor-augmented vector autoregressive (FAVAR) approach," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2004-03, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  2. Karen E. Dynan & Douglas Elmendorf, 2001. "Do provisional estimates of output miss economic turning points?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2001-52, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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  7. Domenico Giannone & Lucrezia Reichlin & David Small, 2005. "Nowcasting GDP and inflation: the real-time informational content of macroeconomic data releases," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2005-42, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  8. 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.
  9. Jon Faust & John H. Rogers & Jonathan H. Wright, 2000. "News and noise in G-7 GDP announcements," International Finance Discussion Papers 690, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  10. N. Gregory Mankiw & Matthew D. Shapiro, 1986. "News or Noise? An Analysis of GNP Revisions," NBER Working Papers 1939, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Hamilton, James D, 1989. "A New Approach to the Economic Analysis of Nonstationary Time Series and the Business Cycle," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 357-84, March.
  12. Mario Forni & Marc Hallin & Lucrezia Reichlin & Marco Lippi, 2000. "The generalised dynamic factor model: identification and estimation," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/10143, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.).
  15. Bernanke, Ben S. & Boivin, Jean, 2003. "Monetary policy in a data-rich environment," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 525-546, April.
  16. Stone, Richard, 1984. "The Accounts of Society," Nobel Prize in Economics documents 1984-1, Nobel Prize Committee.
  17. Weale, Martin, 1985. "Testing Linear Hypotheses on National Account Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 67(4), pages 685-89, November.
  18. 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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