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Bench Mark Revisions and the U.S. Personal Saving Rate

  • Leonard I. Nakamura

    ()

    (Federal Reserve Bank of Phildelphia)

  • Tom Stark

Initially published estimates of the personal saving rate from 1965 Q3 to 1999 Q2, which averaged 5.3 percent, have been revised up 2.8 percentage points to 8.1 percent, as we document. We show that much of the initial variations in personal saving rate across time was pure noise. Nominal disposable personal income has been revised upward an average of 8.3 percent: one dollar in twelve was originally missing. We use both conventional and real-time estimates of the personal saving rate to forecast real disposable income, gross domestic product, and personal consumption and show that using the personal saving rate in real-time would have almost invariably made forecasts worse. Thus while the personal saving rate may contain information about later consumption once we know the true saving rate, as Campbell (1987) and Ireland(1995) have shown, as a practical matter, noise in the U.S. personal saving rate makes it uninformative for forecasting purposes

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File URL: http://repec.org/sed2006/up.17805.1138651327.pdf
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Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2006 Meeting Papers with number 123.

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Date of creation: 03 Dec 2006
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Handle: RePEc:red:sed006:123
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Society for Economic Dynamics Marina Azzimonti Department of Economics Stonybrook University 10 Nicolls Road Stonybrook NY 11790 USA

Web page: http://www.EconomicDynamics.org/
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  1. Dean Croushore & Tom Stark, 1999. "A real-time data set for macroeconomists," Working Papers 99-4, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  2. Dean Croushore & Tom Stark, 1999. "A real-time data set for marcoeconomists: does the data vintage matter?," Working Papers 99-21, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  3. 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.
  4. Peter N. Ireland, 1995. "Using the permanent income hypothesis for forecasting," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Win, pages 49-63.
  5. Hall, Robert E, 1978. "Stochastic Implications of the Life Cycle-Permanent Income Hypothesis: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(6), pages 971-87, December.
  6. Campbell, John Y, 1987. "Does Saving Anticipate Declining Labor Income? An Alternative Test of the Permanent Income Hypothesis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(6), pages 1249-73, November.
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