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News or Noise? An Analysis of GNP Revisions

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  • N. Gregory Mankiw
  • Matthew D. Shapiro

Abstract

This paper studies the nature of the errors in preliminary GNP data, It first documents that these errors are large. For example, suppose the prelimimary estimate indicates that real GNP did not change over the recent quarter; then one can be only 80 percent confident that the final estimate (annual rate) will be in the range from -2.8 percent to +2.8 percent. The paper also documents that the revisions in GNP data are not forecastable, This finding implies that the preliminary estimates are the efficient given available information. Hence, the Bureau of Economic Analysis appears to follow efficient statistical procedures, in making its preliminary estimates.

Suggested Citation

  • N. Gregory Mankiw & Matthew D. Shapiro, 1986. "News or Noise? An Analysis of GNP Revisions," NBER Working Papers 1939, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1939 Note: EFG
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    1. repec:fth:prinin:163 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Crawford, Vincent P, 1979. "On Compulsory-Arbitration Schemes," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(1), pages 131-159, February.
    3. Henry S. Farber, 1980. "An Analysis of Final-Offer Arbitration," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 24(4), pages 683-705, December.
    4. Orley Ashenfelter & David Bloom, 1983. "The Pitfalls in Judging Arbitrator Impartiality by Win-Loss Tallies Under Final-Offer Arbitration," Working Papers 543, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    5. Arthur Roth & Joseph B. Kadane & Morris H. Degroot, 1977. "Optimal Peremptory Challenges in Trials by Juries: A Bilateral Sequential Process," Operations Research, INFORMS, vol. 25(6), pages 901-919, December.
    6. Orley Ashenfelter, 1985. "Evidence on US Experiences with Dispute Resolution Systems," Working Papers 565, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    7. Orley Ashenfelter & David Bloom, 1983. "The Pitfalls in Judging Arbitrator Impartiality by Win-Loss Tallies Under Final-Offer Arbitration," Working Papers 543, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
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