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Filling the gap: open economy considerations for more reliable potential output estimates

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  • Zsolt Darvas

Abstract

This paper argues that the Phillips curve relationship is not sufficient to trace back the output gap, because the effect of excess demand is not symmetric across tradeable and non-tradeable sectors. In the non-tradeable sector, excess demand creates excess employment and inflation via the Phillips curve, while in the tradeable sector much of the excess demand is absorbed by the trade balance. We set up an unobserved-components model including both a Phillips curve and a current account equation to estimate ‘sustainable output’ for 45 countries. Our estimates for many countries differ substantially from the potential output estimates of the European Commission, IMF and OECD. We assemble a comprehensive real-time dataset to estimate our model on data which was available in each year from 2004-15. Our model was able to identify correctly the sign of pre-crisis output gaps using real time data for countries such as the United States, Spain and Ireland, in contrast to the estimates of the three institutions, which estimated negative output gaps real-time, while their current estimates for the pre-crisis period suggest positive gaps. In the past five years the annual output gap estimate revisions of our model, the European Commission, IMF, OECD and the Hodrick-Prescott filter were broadly similar in the range of 0.5-1.0 percent of GDP for advanced countries. Such large revisions are worrisome, because the European fiscal framework can translate the imprecision in output gap estimates into poorly grounded fiscal policymaking in the EU.

Suggested Citation

  • Zsolt Darvas, 2015. "Filling the gap: open economy considerations for more reliable potential output estimates," Working Papers 1501, Department of Mathematical Economics and Economic Analysis, Corvinus University of Budapest.
  • Handle: RePEc:mkg:wpaper:1501
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    File URL: http://web.uni-corvinus.hu/matkg/working_papers/wp_2015_1_darvas_simon.pdf
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    Cited by:

    1. Roberta De Santis & Piero Esposito & Elena Masi, 2017. "Are there common structural determinants of potential output growth in Europe? An empirical exercise for 11 EMU countries," Working Papers 4, Department of the Treasury, Ministry of the Economy and of Finance.
    2. Silvia Fabiani & Stefano Federico & Alberto Felettigh, 2016. "Adjusting the external adjustment: cyclical factors and the Italian current account," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 346, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    3. Lorenzo Burlon & Paolo D'Imperio, 2019. "The euro-area output gap through the lens of a DSGE model," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 477, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    4. Karsten Staehr, 2017. "Capital flows and growth dynamics in Central and Eastern Europe," Bank of Estonia Working Papers wp2016-10, Bank of Estonia, revised 06 Feb 2017.
    5. repec:wfo:monber:y:2018:i:10:p:713-731 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Grégory Claeys & Zsolt Darvas & Alvaro Leandro, 2016. "A proposal to revive the European Fiscal Framework," Policy Contributions 13490, Bruegel.
    7. repec:taf:pocoec:v:30:y:2018:i:1:p:1-18 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    equilibrium current account; international trade; Kalman-filter; open economy; Phillips-curve; potential output; real-time data; sustainable output; state-space models;

    JEL classification:

    • C32 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes; State Space Models
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • F41 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Open Economy Macroeconomics

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