IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Predicting U.S. Recessions: Financial Variables as Leading Indicators

  • Arturo Estrella
  • Frederic S. Mishkin

This article examines the performance of various financial variables as predictors of subsequent U.S. recessions. Series such as interest rates and spreads, stock prices, currencies, and monetary aggregates are evaluated singly and in comparison with other financial and non-financial indicators. The analysis focuses on out-of-sample performance from 1 to 8 quarters ahead. Results show that stock prices are useful with 1-2 quarter horizons, as are some well-known macroeconomic indicators. Beyond 2 quarters, the slope of the yield curve emerges as the clear choice, and typically performs better by itself out of sample than in conjunction with other variables.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 5379.

in new window

Date of creation: Dec 1995
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Review of Economics and Statistics, vol.80, no.1, pp. 45-61, February 1998.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5379
Note: EFG ME
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Phone: 617-868-3900
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Estrella, Arturo & Hardouvelis, Gikas A, 1991. " The Term Structure as a Predictor of Real Economic Activity," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 46(2), pages 555-76, June.
  2. Mishkin, Frederic S., 1990. "What does the term structure tell us about future inflation?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 77-95, January.
  3. F. Barran & V. Coudert & B. Mojon, 1997. "Interest rates, banking spreads and credit supply: the real effects," The European Journal of Finance, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 3(2), pages 107-136.
  4. Stock, J.H. & Watson, M.W., 1989. "New Indexes Of Coincident And Leading Economic Indicators," Papers 178d, Harvard - J.F. Kennedy School of Government.
  5. Chen, Nai-Fu, 1991. " Financial Investment Opportunities and the Macroeconomy," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 46(2), pages 529-54, June.
  6. Arturo Estrella & Frederic S. Mishkin, 1995. "The term structure of interest rates and its role in monetary policy for the European Central Bank," Research Paper 9526, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  7. Zuliu Hu, 1993. "The Yield Curve and Real Activity," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 40(4), pages 781-806, December.
  8. Harvey, Campbell R., 1988. "The real term structure and consumption growth," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 305-333, December.
  9. Plosser, Charles I. & Geert Rouwenhorst, K., 1994. "International term structures and real economic growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 133-155, February.
  10. Mark W. Watson, 1991. "Using econometric models to predict recessions," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Nov, pages 14-25.
  11. Frederic S. Mishkin, 1989. "A Multi-Country Study of the Information in the Term Structure about Future Inflation," NBER Working Papers 3125, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Robert D. Laurent, 1989. "Testing the "spread"," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Jul, pages 22-34.
  13. Zuliu Hu, 1993. "The Yield Curve and Real Activity," IMF Working Papers 93/19, International Monetary Fund.
  14. Boldin, Michael D, 1994. "Dating Turning Points in the Business Cycle," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 67(1), pages 97-131, January.
  15. Reinhart, Carmen & Reinhart, Vincent, 1996. "Forecasting turning points in Canada," MPRA Paper 13884, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  16. E. P. Davis & S. G. B. Henry, 1994. "The Use of Financial Spreads as Indicator Variables: Evidence for the United Kingdom and Germany," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 41(3), pages 517-525, September.
  17. Jorion, Philippe & Mishkin, Frederic, 1991. "A multicountry comparison of term-structure forecasts at long horizons," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 59-80, March.
  18. Robert D. Laurent, 1988. "An interest rate-based indicator of monetary policy," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Jan, pages 3-14.
  19. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 1992. "A procedure for predicting recessions with leading indicators: econometric issues and recent performance," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues 92-7, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5379. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.