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A General to Specific Approach for Constructing Composite Business Cycle Indicators

Combining economic time series with the aim to obtain an indicator for business cycle analyses is an important issue for policy makers. In this area, econometric techniques usually rely on systems with either a small number of series, N, (VAR or VECM) or, at the other extreme, a very large N (factor models). In this paper we propose tools to select the relevant business cycle indicators in a "medium" N framework, a situation that is likely to be the most frequent in empirical works. An example is provided by our empirical application, in which we study jointly the short-run co-movements of 24 European countries. We show, under not too restrictive conditions, that parsimonious single-equation models can be used to split a set of N countries in three groups. The first group comprises countries that share a synchronous common cycle, a non-synchronous common cycle is present among the countries of the second group, and the third group collects countries that exhibit idiosyncratic cycles. Moreover, we offer a method for constructing a composite coincident indicator that explicitly takes into account the existence of these various forms of short-run co-movements among variables.

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Paper provided by Tor Vergata University, CEIS in its series CEIS Research Paper with number 224.

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Length: 19 pages
Date of creation: 27 Feb 2012
Date of revision: 27 Feb 2012
Handle: RePEc:rtv:ceisrp:224
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  1. Issler, João Victor & Vahid, Farshid, 2001. "The Missing Link: Using the NBER Recession Indicator to Construct Coincident and Leading Indices of Economic Activity," Economics Working Papers (Ensaios Economicos da EPGE) 429, FGV/EPGE Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
  2. Centoni, Marco & Cubadda, Gianluca & Hecq, Alain, 2003. "Common Shocks, Common Dynamics, and the International Business Cycle," Economics & Statistics Discussion Papers esdp03007, University of Molise, Dept. EGSeI.
  3. Vahid, F & Engle, Robert F, 1993. "Common Trends and Common Cycles," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 8(4), pages 341-60, Oct.-Dec..
  4. Cubadda, Gianluca & Guardabascio, Barbara, 2012. "A medium-N approach to macroeconomic forecasting," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 1099-1105.
  5. Stock, J.H. & Watson, M.W., 1989. "New Indexes Of Coincident And Leading Economic Indicators," Papers 178d, Harvard - J.F. Kennedy School of Government.
  6. Alain Hecq, 2005. "Should we really care about building business cycle coincident indexes!," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(3), pages 141-144.
  7. ZELLNER, Arnold & PALM, Franz, . "Time series analysis and simultaneous equation econometric models," CORE Discussion Papers RP -173, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  8. Harding, Don & Pagan, Adrian, 2002. "Dissecting the cycle: a methodological investigation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 365-381, March.
  9. Carlos Santos & David Hendry & Soren Johansen, 2008. "Automatic selection of indicators in a fully saturated regression," Computational Statistics, Springer, vol. 23(2), pages 317-335, April.
  10. Cubadda, Gianluca, 2007. "A unifying framework for analysing common cyclical features in cointegrated time series," Computational Statistics & Data Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 896-906, October.
  11. repec:fgv:epgrbe:v:47:n:2:a:1 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. Gianluca Cubadda & Alain Hecq, 2011. "Testing for common autocorrelation in data‐rich environments," Journal of Forecasting, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 30(3), pages 325-335, April.
  13. Cubadda, Gianluca & Hecq, Alain, 2001. "On non-contemporaneous short-run co-movements," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 73(3), pages 389-397, December.
  14. Cubadda, Gianluca, 2004. "A Reduced Rank Regression Approach to Coincident and Leading Indexes Building," Economics & Statistics Discussion Papers esdp04022, University of Molise, Dept. EGSeI.
  15. Julia Campos & Neil R. Ericsson & David F. Hendry, 2005. "General-to-specific modeling: an overview and selected bibliography," International Finance Discussion Papers 838, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  16. Haan, Jakob de & Inklaar, Robert & Jong-A-Pin, Richard, 2005. "Will business cycles in the Euro Area converge : a critical survey of empirical research," CCSO Working Papers 200508, University of Groningen, CCSO Centre for Economic Research.
  17. Lucrezia Reichlin & Mario Forni & Marc Hallin & Marco Lippi, 2001. "Coincident and leading indicators for the Euro area," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/10137, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  18. Mario Forno & Marco Lippi & Lucrezia Reichlin & Filippo Altissimo & Antonio Bassanetti, 2003. "Eurocoin: A Real Time Coincident Indicator Of The Euro Area Business Cycle," Computing in Economics and Finance 2003 242, Society for Computational Economics.
  19. Stock J.H. & Watson M.W., 2002. "Forecasting Using Principal Components From a Large Number of Predictors," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 97, pages 1167-1179, December.
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