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News, Noise, and Fluctuations: An Empirical Exploration

  • Olivier J. Blanchard
  • Jean-Paul L'Huillier
  • Guido Lorenzoni

We explore empirically models of aggregate fluctuations with two basic ingredients: agents form anticipations about the future based on noisy sources of information; these anticipations affect spending and output in the short run. Our objective is to separate fluctuations due to actual changes in fundamentals (news) from those due to temporary errors in the private sector's estimates of these fundamentals (noise). Using a simple model where the consumption random walk hypothesis holds exactly, we address some basic methodological issues and take a first pass at the data. First, we show that if the econometrician has no informational advantage over the agents in the model, structural VARs cannot be used to identify news and noise shocks. Next, we develop a structural Maximum Likelihood approach which allows us to identify the model's parameters and to evaluate the role of news and noise shocks. Applied to postwar U.S. data, this approach suggests that noise shocks play an important role in short-run fluctuations.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15015.

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Date of creation: May 2009
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Publication status: published as Olivier J. Blanchard & Jean-Paul L'Huillier & Guido Lorenzoni, 2013. "News, Noise, and Fluctuations: An Empirical Exploration," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(7), pages 3045-70, December.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15015
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  1. Olivier J. Blanchard & Jean-Paul L'Huillier & Guido Lorenzoni, 2009. "News, Noise, and Fluctuations: An Empirical Exploration," NBER Working Papers 15015, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  7. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Charles Evans, 2001. "Nominal Rigidities and the Dynamic Effects of a Shock to Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 8403, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Christopher A. Sims & Tao Zha, 1998. "Does monetary policy generate recessions?," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 98-12, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  9. Calvo, Guillermo A., 1983. "Staggered prices in a utility-maximizing framework," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 383-398, September.
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  12. Beaudry, Paul & Portier, Franck, 2003. "Stock Prices, News and Economic Fluctuations," CEPR Discussion Papers 3844, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Jordi Gali, 1999. "Technology, Employment, and the Business Cycle: Do Technology Shocks Explain Aggregate Fluctuations?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 249-271, March.
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  15. Anderson, Evan W. & McGrattan, Ellen R. & Hansen, Lars Peter & Sargent, Thomas J., 1996. "Mechanics of forming and estimating dynamic linear economies," Handbook of Computational Economics, in: H. M. Amman & D. A. Kendrick & J. Rust (ed.), Handbook of Computational Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 4, pages 171-252 Elsevier.
  16. Mark Aguiar & Gita Gopinath, 2004. "Emerging Market Business Cycles: The Cycle is the Trend," NBER Working Papers 10734, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Harald Uhlig, 1995. "A toolkit for analyzing nonlinear dynamic stochastic models easily," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 101, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  18. Eric M. Leeper & Todd B. Walker & Shu-Chun Susan Yang, 2011. "Foresight and Information Flows," NBER Working Papers 16951, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Lippi, Francesco & Neri, Stefano, 2007. "Information variables for monetary policy in an estimated structural model of the euro area," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(4), pages 1256-1270, May.
  20. Quah, Danny, 1992. "The Relative Importance of Permanent and Transitory Components: Identification and Some Theoretical Bounds," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(1), pages 107-18, January.
  21. Quah, D., 1989. "Permanent And Transitory Movements In Labor Income: An Explanation For "Excess Smoothness" In Consumption," Working papers 535, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  22. Aguiar, Mark & Gopinath, Gita, 2007. "Emerging Market Business Cycles: The Cycle is the Trend," Scholarly Articles 11988098, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  23. 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.
  24. Guido Lorenzoni, 2006. "A Theory of Demand Shocks," NBER Working Papers 12477, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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