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The Relative Importance of Permanent and Transitory Components: Identification and Some Theoretical Bounds

  • Danny Quah

Much macroeconometric discussion has recently emphasised the economic significance of the size of the permanent component in GNP. Consequently, a large literature has developed that tries to estimate this magnitude - measured, essentially, as the spectral density of increments in GNP at frequency zero. This paper shows that unless the permanent component is a random walk this attention has been misplaced: in general, that quantity does not identify the magnitude of the permanent component. Further, by developing bounds on reasonable measures of this magnitude, the paper shows that a random walk specification is biased towards establishing the permanent component as important.

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Paper provided by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics in its series Working papers with number 498.

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Date of creation: Jun 1988
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mit:worpap:498
Phone: (617) 253-3361
Fax: (617) 253-1330
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  1. Townsend, Robert M, 1983. "Forecasting the Forecasts of Others," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(4), pages 546-88, August.
  2. Sims, Christopher A, 1980. "Macroeconomics and Reality," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(1), pages 1-48, January.
  3. Matthew D. Shapiro & Mark W. Watson, 1988. "Sources of Business Cycle Fluctuations," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 870, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  4. John Y. Campbell & N. Gregory Mankiw, 1986. "Are Output Fluctuations Transitory?," NBER Working Papers 1916, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Clark, Peter K., 1988. "Nearly redundant parameters and measures of persistence in economic time series," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 12(2-3), pages 447-461.
  6. Francis X. Diebold & Glenn D. Rudebusch, 1988. "Long memory and persistence in aggregate output," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 7, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  7. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum, 1989. "Unit Roots in Real GNP: Do We Know, and Do We Care?," NBER Working Papers 3130, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Nelson, Charles R. & Plosser, Charles I., 1982. "Trends and random walks in macroeconmic time series : Some evidence and implications," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 139-162.
  9. Beveridge, Stephen & Nelson, Charles R., 1981. "A new approach to decomposition of economic time series into permanent and transitory components with particular attention to measurement of the `business cycle'," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 151-174.
  10. Quah, Danny, 1990. "Permanent and Transitory Movements in Labor Income: An Explanation for "Excess Smoothness" in Consumption," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(3), pages 449-75, June.
  11. Marco Lippi & Lucrezia Reichlin, 1993. "The dynamic effects of aggregate demand and supply disturbances: comment," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/10159, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  12. Watson, Mark W., 1986. "Univariate detrending methods with stochastic trends," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 49-75, July.
  13. Kenneth D. West, 1987. "On the Interpretation of Near Random-Walk Behavior in GNP," NBER Working Papers 2364, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Olivier Jean Blanchard & Danny Quah, 1988. "The Dynamic Effects of Aggregate Demand and Supply Disturbance," Working papers 497, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  15. Perron, P, 1988. "The Great Crash, The Oil Price Shock And The Unit Root Hypothesis," Papers 338, Princeton, Department of Economics - Econometric Research Program.
  16. Cochrane, John H, 1988. "How Big Is the Random Walk in GNP?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(5), pages 893-920, October.
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