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Measuring output gap uncertainty

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We propose a methodology for producing density forecasts for the output gap in real time using a large number of vector autoregessions in inflation and output gap measures. Density combination utilizes a linear mixture of experts framework to produce potentially non-Gaussian ensemble densities for the unobserved output gap. In our application, we show that data revisions alter substantially our probabilistic assessments of the output gap using a variety of output gap measures derived from univariate detrending filters. The resulting ensemble produces well-calibrated forecast densities for US inflation in real time, in contrast to those from simple univariate autoregressions which ignore the contribution of the output gap. Combining evidence from both linear trends and more flexible univariate detrending filters induces strong multi-modality in the predictive densities for the unobserved output gap. The peaks associated with these two detrending methodologies indicate output gaps of opposite sign for some bservations, reflecting the pervasive nature of model uncertainty in our US data.

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Paper provided by Reserve Bank of New Zealand in its series Reserve Bank of New Zealand Discussion Paper Series with number DP2009/15.

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Length: 22 p
Date of creation: Dec 2009
Handle: RePEc:nzb:nzbdps:2009/15
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  1. Timmermann, Allan, 2006. "Forecast Combinations," Handbook of Economic Forecasting, Elsevier.
  2. Athanasios Orphanides & Simon van Norden, 1999. "The reliability of output gap estimates in real time," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1999-38, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  3. Croushore, Dean & Stark, Tom, 2001. "A real-time data set for macroeconomists," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 105(1), pages 111-130, November.
  4. Todd E. Clark & Michael W. McCracken, 2006. "Averaging forecasts from VARs with uncertain instabilities," Research Working Paper RWP 06-12, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
  5. Christian Kascha & Francesco Ravazzolo, 2010. "Combining inflation density forecasts," Journal of Forecasting, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(1-2), pages 231-250.
  6. John C. Williams, 2003. "The natural rate of interest," FRBSF Economic Letter, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue oct31.
  7. Tae-Hwy Lee & Yong Bao & Burak Saltoğlu, 2007. "Comparing density forecast models Previous versions of this paper have been circulated with the title, 'A Test for Density Forecast Comparison with Applications to Risk Management' since October 2003;," Journal of Forecasting, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(3), pages 203-225.
  8. Peter A. Morris, 1974. "Decision Analysis Expert Use," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 20(9), pages 1233-1241, May.
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  11. Garratt, Anthony & Koop, Gary & Mise, Emi & Vahey, Shaun P., 2009. "Real-Time Prediction With U.K. Monetary Aggregates in the Presence of Model Uncertainty," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 27(4), pages 480-491.
  12. Wallis, Kenneth F., 2002. "Chi-squared tests of interval and density forecasts, and the Bank of England's fan charts," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2002 181, Royal Economic Society.
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  19. Athanasios Orphanides & Simon van Norden, 2003. "The Reliability of Inflation Forecasts Based on Output Gap Estimates in Real Time," CIRANO Working Papers 2003s-01, CIRANO.
  20. Anne Sofie Jore & James Mitchell & Shaun Vahey, 2008. "Combining Forecast Densities from VARs with Uncertain Instabilities," Reserve Bank of New Zealand Discussion Paper Series DP2008/18, Reserve Bank of New Zealand.
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  25. Valentina Corradi & Norman Swanson, 2004. "Predictive Density Evaluation," Departmental Working Papers 200419, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
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  28. Berkowitz, Jeremy, 2001. "Testing Density Forecasts, with Applications to Risk Management," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 19(4), pages 465-474, October.
  29. James Morley & Charles Nelson & Eric Zivot, 2003. "Why are Beveridge-Nelson and Unobserved-component decompositions of GDP so Different?," Working Papers UWEC-2002-18-P, University of Washington, Department of Economics.
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  33. James Morley & Jeremy Piger, 2012. "The Asymmetric Business Cycle," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(1), pages 208-221, February.
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  35. Kenneth F. Wallis, 2005. "Combining Density and Interval Forecasts: A Modest Proposal," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 67(s1), pages 983-994, December.
  36. Peter A. Morris, 1977. "Combining Expert Judgments: A Bayesian Approach," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 23(7), pages 679-693, March.
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