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Testing for Volatility Changes in US Macroeconomic Time Series

  • M Sensier
  • D van Dijk

We test for a change in the volatility of 214 US macroeconomic time series over the period 1959-1999. We find that about 80% of these series have experienced a break in unconditional volatility during this period. Even though more than half of the series experienced a break in conditional mean, most of the reduction in volatility appears to be due to changes in conditional volatility. Our results are robust to controlling for business cycle nonlinearity in both mean and variance. Volatility changes are more appropriately characterized as an instantaneous break rather than gradual change. Nominal variables such as inflation and interest rates experienced multiple volatility breaks and witnessed temporary increases in volatility during the 1970s. Based upon this evidence, we conclude that the increased stability of economic fluctuations in a wide-spread phenomenon.

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File URL: http://www.socialsciences.manchester.ac.uk/medialibrary/cgbcr/discussionpapers/dpcgbcr36.pdf
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Paper provided by Economics, The Univeristy of Manchester in its series Centre for Growth and Business Cycle Research Discussion Paper Series with number 36.

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Length: 18 pages
Date of creation: 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:man:cgbcrp:36
Contact details of provider: Postal: Manchester M13 9PL
Phone: (0)161 275 4868
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Web page: http://www.socialsciences.manchester.ac.uk/subjects/economics/our-research/centre-for-growth-and-business-cycle-research/

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  1. Jushan Bai, 1995. "Estimating Multiple Breaks One at a Time," Working papers 95-18, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  2. Clarida, R. & Gali, J. & Gertler, M., 1998. "Monetary Policy Rules and Macroeconomic Stability: Evidence and some Theory," Working Papers 98-01, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  3. Scott, A. & Acemoglu, D., 1995. "Asymmetric Business Cycles: Theory and Time-series Evidence," Economics Series Working Papers 99173, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  4. M. V. Cacdac Warnock & Francis E. Warnock, 2000. "The declining volatility of U.S. employment: was Arthur Burns right?," International Finance Discussion Papers 677, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  5. Gabriel Perez-Quiros & Margaret M. McConnell, 2000. "Output Fluctuations in the United States: What Has Changed since the Early 1980's?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1464-1476, December.
  6. Donald W.K. Andrews, 1990. "Tests for Parameter Instability and Structural Change with Unknown Change Point," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 943, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  7. Chang-Jin Kim & Charles R. Nelson, 1999. "Has The U.S. Economy Become More Stable? A Bayesian Approach Based On A Markov-Switching Model Of The Business Cycle," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(4), pages 608-616, November.
  8. Perron, P. & Bai, J., 1995. "Estimating and Testing Linear Models with Multiple Structural Changes," Cahiers de recherche 9552, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
  9. Marcelle Chauvet & Simon Potter, 2001. "Recent changes in the U.S. business cycle," Staff Reports 126, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  10. Kim, Chang-Jin & Nelson, Charles R & Piger, Jeremy, 2004. "The Less-Volatile U.S. Economy: A Bayesian Investigation of Timing, Breadth, and Potential Explanations," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 22(1), pages 80-93, January.
  11. Margaret M. McConnell & Patricia C. Mosser & Gabriel Perez Quiros, 1999. "A decomposition of the increased stability of GDP growth," Current Issues in Economics and Finance, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, vol. 5(Aug).
  12. Lundbergh, Stefan & Terasvirta, Timo & van Dijk, Dick, 2003. "Time-Varying Smooth Transition Autoregressive Models," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 21(1), pages 104-21, January.
  13. French, Mark W & Sichel, Daniel E, 1993. "Cyclical Patterns in the Variance of Economic Activity," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 11(1), pages 113-19, January.
  14. Olivier Blanchard & John Simon, 2001. "The Long and Large Decline in U.S. Output Volatility," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 32(1), pages 135-174.
  15. Mark W. Watson, 1999. "Explaining the increased variability in long-term interest rates," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Fall, pages 71-96.
  16. Jushan Bai, 1997. "Estimation Of A Change Point In Multiple Regression Models," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 79(4), pages 551-563, November.
  17. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 2003. "Has the Business Cycle Changed and Why?," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2002, Volume 17, pages 159-230 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Bruce E. Hansen, 1995. "Approximate Asymptotic P-Values for Structural Change Tests," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 297., Boston College Department of Economics.
  19. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 1994. "Evidence on structural instability in macroeconomic times series relations," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues 94-13, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  20. Brunner, Allan D, 1992. "Conditional Asymmetries in Real GNP: A Seminonparametric Approach," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 10(1), pages 65-72, January.
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