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Predicting U.S. recessions: financial variables as leading indicators

  • Arturo Estrella
  • Frederic S. Mishkin

This article examines the performance of various financial variables as predictors of U.S. recessions. Series such as interest rates and spreads, stock prices, currencies, and monetary aggregates are evaluated individually and in comparison with other financial and non-financial indicators. The analysis focuses on out-of-sample performance from 1 to 8 quarters ahead. Results show that stock prices are useful with 1-3 quarter horizons, as are some well-known macroeconomic indicators. Beyond 1 quarter, however, the slope of the yield curve emerges as the clear individual choice and typically performs better by itself out of sample than in conjunction with other variables.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of New York in its series Research Paper with number 9609.

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Date of creation: 1996
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fednrp:9609
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  1. Boldin, Michael D, 1994. "Dating Turning Points in the Business Cycle," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 67(1), pages 97-131, January.
  2. Fernando Barran & Virginie Coudert & Benoît Mojon, 1995. "Interest Rates, Banking Spreads and Credit Supply: The Real Effects," Working Papers 1995-01, CEPII research center.
  3. Mishkin, F.S., 1988. "What Does The Term Structure Tell Us About Future Inflation?," Papers fb-_88-29, Columbia - Graduate School of Business.
  4. Arturo Estrella & Frederic S. Mishkin, 1995. "The Term Structure of Interest Rates and Its Role in Monetary Policy for The European Central Bank," NBER Working Papers 5279, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Stock, J.H. & Watson, M.W., 1989. "New Indexes Of Coincident And Leading Economic Indicators," Papers 178d, Harvard - J.F. Kennedy School of Government.
  6. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 1992. "A procedure for predicting recessions with leading indicators: econometric issues and recent performance," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues 92-7, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  7. Reinhart, Carmen & Reinhart, Vincent, 1996. "Forecasting turning points in Canada," MPRA Paper 13884, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  8. Mark W. Watson, 1991. "Using econometric models to predict recessions," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Nov, pages 14-25.
  9. Frederic S. Mishkin, 1991. "A Multi-Country Study of the Information in the Term Structure about Future Inflation," NBER Working Papers 3125, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Estrella, Arturo & Hardouvelis, Gikas A, 1991. " The Term Structure as a Predictor of Real Economic Activity," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 46(2), pages 555-76, June.
  11. Chen, Nai-Fu, 1991. " Financial Investment Opportunities and the Macroeconomy," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 46(2), pages 529-54, June.
  12. Plosser, Charles I. & Geert Rouwenhorst, K., 1994. "International term structures and real economic growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 133-155, February.
  13. Robert D. Laurent, 1989. "Testing the "spread"," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Jul, pages 22-34.
  14. Robert D. Laurent, 1988. "An interest rate-based indicator of monetary policy," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Jan, pages 3-14.
  15. Zuliu Hu, 1993. "The Yield Curve and Real Activity," IMF Working Papers 93/19, International Monetary Fund.
  16. E. P. Davis & S. G. B. Henry, 1994. "The Use of Financial Spreads as Indicator Variables: Evidence for the United Kingdom and Germany," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 41(3), pages 517-525, September.
  17. Philippe Jorion & Frederic Mishkin, 1991. "A Multi-Country Comparison of Term Structure Forecasts at Long Horizons," NBER Working Papers 3574, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Harvey, Campbell R., 1988. "The real term structure and consumption growth," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 305-333, December.
  19. Zuliu Hu, 1993. "The Yield Curve and Real Activity," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 40(4), pages 781-806, December.
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