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Nowcasting, Business Cycle Dating and the Interpretation of New Information when Real Time Data are Available

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  • Kevin Lee
  • Nilss Olekalns
  • Kalvinder Shields

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Abstract

A canonical model is described which reflects the real time informational context of decision-making. Comparisons are drawn with ‘conventional’ models that incorrectly omit market-informed insights on future macroeconomic conditions and inappropriately incorporate information that was not available at the time. It is argued that conventional models are misspecified and misinterpret news. However, neither diagnostic tests applied to the conventional models nor typical impulse response analysis will be able to expose these deficiencies clearly. This is demonstrated through an analysis of quarterly US data 1968q4-2006q1. However, estimated real time models considerably improve out-of- sample forecasting performance, provide more accurate ‘nowcasts’ of the current state of the macroeconomy and provide more timely indicators of the business cycle. The point is illustrated through an analysis of the US recessions of 1990q3—1991q2 and 2001q1— 2001q4.

Suggested Citation

  • Kevin Lee & Nilss Olekalns & Kalvinder Shields, 2008. "Nowcasting, Business Cycle Dating and the Interpretation of New Information when Real Time Data are Available," Discussion Papers in Economics 08/17, Department of Economics, University of Leicester.
  • Handle: RePEc:lec:leecon:08/17
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    File URL: http://www.le.ac.uk/economics/research/RePEc/lec/leecon/dp08-17.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Evan F. Koenig & Sheila Dolmas & Jeremy Piger, 2003. "The Use and Abuse of Real-Time Data in Economic Forecasting," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(3), pages 618-628, August.
    2. Giannone, Domenico & Reichlin, Lucrezia & Small, David, 2008. "Nowcasting: The real-time informational content of macroeconomic data," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 665-676, May.
    3. Athanasios Orphanides & Simon van Norden, 2002. "The Unreliability of Output-Gap Estimates in Real Time," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(4), pages 569-583, November.
    4. Clark, Todd E. & McCracken, Michael W., 2001. "Tests of equal forecast accuracy and encompassing for nested models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 105(1), pages 85-110, November.
    5. Pesaran, M. Hashem & Weale, Martin, 2006. "Survey Expectations," Handbook of Economic Forecasting, Elsevier.
    6. Ang, Andrew & Bekaert, Geert & Wei, Min, 2007. "Do macro variables, asset markets, or surveys forecast inflation better?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(4), pages 1163-1212, May.
    7. Anthony Garratt & Kevin Lee & M. Hashem Pesaran & Yongcheol Shin, 2003. "A Long run structural macroeconometric model of the UK," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(487), pages 412-455, April.
    8. Jacobs, Jan P.A.M. & van Norden, Simon, 2011. "Modeling data revisions: Measurement error and dynamics of "true" values," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 161(2), pages 101-109, April.
    9. N. Kundan Kishor & Evan F. Koenig, 2009. "VAR Estimation and Forecasting When Data Are Subject to Revision," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(2), pages 181-190, July.
    10. Garratt, Anthony & Lee, Kevin & Pesaran, M. Hashem & Shin, Yongcheol, 2012. "Global and National Macroeconometric Modelling: A Long-Run Structural Approach," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199650460, June.
    11. Anthony Garratt & Kevin Lee & Emi Mise & Kalvinder Shields, 2008. "Real-Time Representations of the Output Gap," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(4), pages 792-804, November.
    12. Giannone, Domenico & Reichlin, Lucrezia & Small, David, 2005. "Nowcasting GDP and Inflation: The Real Time Informational Content of Macroeconomic Data Releases," CEPR Discussion Papers 5178, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    13. Brunner, Allan D, 2000. "On the Derivation of Monetary Policy Shocks: Should We Throw the VAR Out with the Bath Water?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 32(2), pages 254-279, May.
    14. Athony Garratt & Kevin Lee & Mohammad Hashem Pesaran & Yongcheol Shin, 2001. "Forecast Uncertainties in Macroeconomics Modelling: An Application to the UK Economy," ESE Discussion Papers 64, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
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    Cited by:

    1. Lee, Kevin & Shields, Kalvinder K., 2011. "Decision-making in hard times: What is a recession, why do we care and how do we know when we are in one?," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 43-60, January.
    2. Kirdan Lees, 2009. "Overview of a recent Reserve Bank workshop: nowcasting with model combination," Reserve Bank of New Zealand Bulletin, Reserve Bank of New Zealand, vol. 72, pages 31-33, March.
    3. Jennifer L. Castle & David F. Hendry, 2010. "Nowcasting from disaggregates in the face of location shifts," Journal of Forecasting, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(1-2), pages 200-214.
    4. Kevin Lee & James Morley & Kalvinder Shields, 2015. "The Meta Taylor Rule," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 47(1), pages 73-98, February.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Structural Modelling; Real Time Data; Nowcasting; Business Cycles;

    JEL classification:

    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies

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