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Assessing the quality of “Furfine-based” algorithms

  • Olivier Armantier
  • Adam Copeland

To conduct academic research on the federal funds (fed funds) market, historically one of the most important financial markets in the U.S., some empirical economists have used market level measures published by the Markets Group at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY). To obtain more disaggregate data, some researchers have relied on a separate source of information: individual transactions inferred indirectly from an algorithm based on the work of Furfine (1999). To date, however, the accuracy of this algorithm has not been formally established. In this paper, we conduct a test aimed at assessing the ability of the algorithm to identify correctly individual overnight fed funds transactions conducted by two banks, which are among the most active in the fed funds market. The results are discouraging. We estimate the average type I and type II errors from 2007 to 2011 to be 81% and 23%, respectively. Furthermore, we argue that these errors i) apply to almost half of the algorithm's output, ii) introduce systematic biases, and iii) may not subside when the algorithm's output is aggregated. Our results therefore raise serious concerns about the appropriateness of using the algorithm's output to study the fed funds market. Because the FRBNY Markets Group relies on a different source of data than the algorithm output, our results have no bearing on their understanding of the fed funds market and their calculation of market level measures, including the effective fed funds rate.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of New York in its series Staff Reports with number 575.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:575
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  1. Adam Ashcraft & James McAndrews & David Skeie, 2009. "Precautionary reserves and the interbank market," Staff Reports 370, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  2. Viral V. Acharya & Ouarda Merrouche, 2013. "Precautionary Hoarding of Liquidity and Interbank Markets: Evidence from the Subprime Crisis," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 17(1), pages 107-160.
  3. Demiralp, Selva & Preslopsky, Brian & Whitesell, William, 2006. "Overnight interbank loan markets," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 67-83.
  4. Scott Hendry & Nadja Kamhi, 2007. "Uncollateralized Overnight Loans Settled in LVTS," Working Papers 07-11, Bank of Canada.
  5. Viral V. Acharya & David Skeie, 2011. "A model of liquidity hoarding and term premia in inter-bank markets," Staff Reports 498, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  6. Todd Keister & Antoine Martin & James McAndrews, 2008. "Divorcing money from monetary policy," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Sep, pages 41-56.
  7. Morten L. Bech & Carl T. Bergstrom & Rodney J. Garratt & Martin Rosvall, 2011. "Mapping change in the federal funds market," Staff Reports 507, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  8. Olivier Armantier & Eric Ghysels & Asani Sarkar & Jeffrey Shrader, 2011. "Stigma in financial markets: evidence from liquidity auctions and discount window borrowing during the crisis," Staff Reports 483, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  9. Gara Afonso & Anna Kovner & Antoinette Schoar, 2010. "Stressed not Frozen: The Fed Funds Market in the Financial Crisis," NBER Working Papers 15806, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Gara Afonso & Anna Kovner & Antoinette Schoar, 2011. "Stressed, Not Frozen: The Federal Funds Market in the Financial Crisis," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 66(4), pages 1109-1139, 08.
  11. Jason Allen & James Chapman & Federico Echenique & Matthew Shum, 2012. "Efficiency and Bargaining Power in the Interbank Loan Market," Working Papers 12-29, Bank of Canada.
  12. Jason Allen & Ali Hortaçsu & Jakub Kastl, 2011. "Analyzing Default Risk and Liquidity Demand during a Financial Crisis: The Case of Canada," Working Papers 11-17, Bank of Canada.
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