Inflation fan charts and different dimensions of uncertainty. What if macroeconomic uncertainty is high?
The paper discusses problems associated with communicating uncertainty by means of ‘fan charts’, used in many central banks for presenting density forecasts of inflation and other macroeconomic variables. Limitations of fan charts in the case of high macroeconomic uncertainty are shown. Issues related to definition of uncertainty are addressed, stressing the need to distinguish between statistical model errors and uncertainty due to lack of knowledge. Modifications of the standard methods of constructing fan charts are suggested. The proposed approach is based on t wo d istributions, o ne of w hich is s ubjective and describes possible macroeconomic scenarios, while the other describes model errors. Total uncertainty is represented as a mixture distribution or density convolution. The proposed approach, although it is a mix of judgment and statistics, allows preserving information about scenarios and separating in the analysis different types of uncertainties.
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