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Measuring Uncertainty

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  • Kyle Jurado
  • Sydney C. Ludvigson
  • Serena Ng

Abstract

This paper exploits a data rich environment to provide direct econometric estimates of time-varying macroeconomic uncertainty, defined as the common volatility in the unforecastable component of a large number of economic indicators. Our estimates display significant independent variations from popular uncertainty proxies, suggesting that much of the variation in the proxies is not driven by uncertainty. Quantitatively important uncertainty episodes appear far more infrequently than indicated by popular uncertainty proxies, but when they do occur, they are larger, more persistent, and are more correlated with real activity. Our estimates provide a benchmark to evaluate theories for which uncertainty shocks play a role in business cycles.

Suggested Citation

  • Kyle Jurado & Sydney C. Ludvigson & Serena Ng, 2013. "Measuring Uncertainty," NBER Working Papers 19456, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19456
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E0 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General
    • E27 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications
    • E3 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles
    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy

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