IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Real-Time Nowcasting Nominal GDP Under Structural Break

  • Barnett, William A.
  • Chauvet, Marcelle
  • Leiva-Leon, Danilo

This paper provides early assessments of current U.S. Nominal GDP growth, which has been considered as a potential new monetary policy target. The nowcasts are computed using the exact amount of information that policy makers have available at the time predictions are made. However, real time information arrives at different frequencies and asynchronously, which poses the challenge of mixed frequencies, missing data, and ragged edges. This paper proposes a multivariate state space model that not only takes into account asynchronous information inflow it also allows for potential parameter instability. We use small scale confirmatory factor analysis in which the candidate variables are selected based on their ability to forecast GDP nominal. The model is fully estimated in one step using a nonlinear Kalman filter, which is applied to obtain simultaneously both optimal inferences on the dynamic factor and parameters. Differently from principal component analysis, the proposed factor model captures the comovement rather than the variance underlying the variables. We compare the predictive ability of the model with other univariate and multivariate specifications. The results indicate that the proposed model containing information on real economic activity, inflation, interest rates, and Divisia monetary aggregates produces the most accurate real time nowcasts of nominal GDP growth.

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:
File Function: original version
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 53699.

in new window

Date of creation: 14 Feb 2014
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:53699
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Ludwigstraße 33, D-80539 Munich, Germany

Phone: +49-(0)89-2180-2459
Fax: +49-(0)89-2180-992459
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. Barnett, William A., 2012. "Getting it Wrong: How Faulty Monetary Statistics Undermine the Fed, the Financial System, and the Economy," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262016915, December.
  2. Martin D.D. Evans, 2005. "Where Are We Now? Real-Time Estimates of the Macro Economy," NBER Working Papers 11064, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Todd E. Clark & Michael W. McCracken, 1999. "Tests of equal forecast accuracy and encompassing for nested models," Research Working Paper 99-11, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
  4. Margaret M. McConnell & Gabriel Perez-Quiros, 2000. "Output fluctuations in the United States: what has changed since the early 1980s?," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Mar.
  5. Maximo Camacho & Jaime Martinez-Martin, 2014. "Real-time forecasting US GDP from small-scale factor models," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 47(1), pages 347-364, August.
  6. Jean Boivin & Serena Ng, 2003. "Are More Data Always Better for Factor Analysis?," NBER Working Papers 9829, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Domenico Giannone & Lucrezia Reichlin & David H Small, 2007. "Nowcasting GDP and Inflation: The Real-Time Informational Content of Macroeconomic Data Releases," Money Macro and Finance (MMF) Research Group Conference 2006 164, Money Macro and Finance Research Group.
  8. S. Boragan Aruoba & Francis X. Diebold & Chiara Scotti, 2007. "Real-Time Measurement of Business Conditions," PIER Working Paper Archive 07-028, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  9. Chauvet, Marcelle, 1998. "An Econometric Characterization of Business Cycle Dynamics with Factor Structure and Regime Switching," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(4), pages 969-96, November.
  10. Leiva-Leon Danilo, 2014. "Real vs. nominal cycles: a multistate Markov-switching bi-factor approach," Studies in Nonlinear Dynamics & Econometrics, De Gruyter, vol. 18(5), pages 24, December.
  11. Martha Banbura & Domenico Giannone & Michèle Modugno & Lucrezia Reichlin, 2012. "Now-Casting and the Real-Time Data Flow," Working Papers ECARES ECARES 2012-026, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  12. Diebold, Francis X & Mariano, Roberto S, 1995. "Comparing Predictive Accuracy," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 13(3), pages 253-63, July.
  13. Bańbura, Marta & Modugno, Michele, 2010. "Maximum likelihood estimation of factor models on data sets with arbitrary pattern of missing data," Working Paper Series 1189, European Central Bank.
  14. Michael T. Belongia & Peter N. Ireland, 2012. "A "Working" Solution to the Question of Nominal GDP Targeting," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 802, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 04 Jan 2013.
  15. Elena Angelini & Gonzalo Camba‐Mendez & Domenico Giannone & Lucrezia Reichlin & Gerhard Rünstler, 2011. "Short‐term forecasts of euro area GDP growth," Econometrics Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 14, pages C25-C44, 02.
  16. Hamilton, James D, 1989. "A New Approach to the Economic Analysis of Nonstationary Time Series and the Business Cycle," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 357-84, March.
  17. Alvarez, Rocio & Camacho, Maximo & Pérez-Quirós, Gabriel, 2012. "Finite sample performance of small versus large scale dynamic factor models," CEPR Discussion Papers 8867, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  18. Catherine Doz & Domenico Giannone & Lucrezia Reichlin, 2012. "A Quasi Maximum Likelihood Approach for Large, Approximate Dynamic Factor Models," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) hal-00638440, HAL.
  19. Kuzin, Vladimir & Marcellino, Massimiliano & Schumacher, Christian, 2011. "MIDAS vs. mixed-frequency VAR: Nowcasting GDP in the euro area," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 529-542, April.
  20. Maximo Camacho & Gabriel Perez-Quiros, 2008. "Introducing the EURO-STING: Short Term INdicator of Euro Area Growth," Working Papers 0807, Banco de España;Working Papers Homepage.
  21. William Barnett & Jia Liu & Ryan Mattson & Jeff van den Noort, 2012. "The New CFS Divisia Monetary Aggregates: Design, Construction, and Data Sources," WORKING PAPERS SERIES IN THEORETICAL AND APPLIED ECONOMICS 201208, University of Kansas, Department of Economics, revised May 2012.
  22. Roberto S. Mariano & Yasutomo Murasawa, 2003. "A new coincident index of business cycles based on monthly and quarterly series," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(4), pages 427-443.
  23. Marcelle Chauvet & James D. Hamilton, 2005. "Dating Business Cycle Turning Points," NBER Working Papers 11422, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Chauvet, Marcelle & Piger, Jeremy, 2008. "A Comparison of the Real-Time Performance of Business Cycle Dating Methods," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 26, pages 42-49, January.
  25. Kim, Chang-Jin, 1994. "Dynamic linear models with Markov-switching," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1-2), pages 1-22.
  26. Stock, J.H. & Watson, M.W., 1989. "New Indexes Of Coincident And Leading Economic Indicators," Papers 178d, Harvard - J.F. Kennedy School of Government.
  27. Tommaso Proietti & Filippo Moauro, 2006. "Dynamic factor analysis with non-linear temporal aggregation constraints," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series C, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 55(2), pages 281-300.
  28. Tom Stark and Dean Croushore, 2001. "Forecasting with a Real-Time Data Set for Macroeconomists," Computing in Economics and Finance 2001 258, Society for Computational Economics.
  29. Chang-Jin Kim & Charles R. Nelson, 1999. "Has The U.S. Economy Become More Stable? A Bayesian Approach Based On A Markov-Switching Model Of The Business Cycle," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(4), pages 608-616, November.
  30. Marcelle Chauvet & Simon M. Potter, 2001. "Recent changes in the U.S. business cycle," Staff Reports 126, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  31. Frank Schorfheide & Dongho Song, 2013. "Real-Time Forecasting with a Mixed-Frequency VAR," NBER Working Papers 19712, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  32. Götz T.B. & Hecq A.W., 2013. "Nowcasting causality in mixed frequency vector autoregressive models," Research Memorandum 050, Maastricht University, Graduate School of Business and Economics (GSBE).
  33. Domenico Giannone & Lucrezia Reichlin & David Small, 2008. "Nowcasting: the real time informational content of macroeconomic data releases," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/6409, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  34. Chib, Siddhartha, 1998. "Estimation and comparison of multiple change-point models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 86(2), pages 221-241, June.
  35. Croushore, Dean & Stark, Tom, 2001. "A real-time data set for macroeconomists," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 105(1), pages 111-130, November.
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:pra:mprapa:53699. 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: (Joachim Winter)

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.