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Testing for time variation in an unobserved components model for the U.S. economy

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  • Tino Berger
  • Gerdie Everaert
  • Hauke Vierke

Abstract

This paper analyzes the amount of time variation in the parameters of a reduced-form empirical macroeconomic model for the U.S. economy. We set up an unobserved components model to decompose output, inflation and unemployment in their stochastic trend and business cycle gap components. The latter are related through the Phillips curve and Okun's Law. Key parameters such as the potential output growth rate, the slope of the Phillips curve and the strength of Okun's Law, are allowed to change over time in order to account for potential structural changes in the U.S. economy. Moreover, stochastic volatility is added to all components to account for shifts in macroeconomic volatility. A Bayesian stochastic model specification search is employed to test which parameters are time-varying and which unobserved components exhibit stochastic volatility. Using quarterly data from 1959Q2 to 2014Q3 we find substantial time variation in Okun's Law, while the Phillips curve slope appears to be stable. The potential output growth rate exhibits a drastic and persistent decline. Stochastic volatility is found to be important for cyclical shocks to the economy, while the volatility of permanent shocks remains stable.

Suggested Citation

  • Tino Berger & Gerdie Everaert & Hauke Vierke, 2015. "Testing for time variation in an unobserved components model for the U.S. economy," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 15/903, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
  • Handle: RePEc:rug:rugwps:15/903
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    Cited by:

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    2. Grant, Angelia L. & Chan, Joshua C.C., 2017. "Reconciling output gaps: Unobserved components model and Hodrick–Prescott filter," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 114-121.
    3. Tino Berger & Julia Richter & Benjamin Wong, 2020. "Financial factors and the business cycle," CAMA Working Papers 2020-44, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
    4. Everaert, Gerdie & Iseringhausen, Martin, 2018. "Measuring the international dimension of output volatility," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 20-39.
    5. James M. Nason & Gregor W. Smith, 2021. "Measuring the slowly evolving trend in US inflation with professional forecasts," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 36(1), pages 1-17, January.
    6. Luís Aguiar-Conraria & Manuel M. F. Martins & Maria Joana Soares, 2019. "The Phillips Curve at 60: time for time and frequency," NIPE Working Papers 04/2019, NIPE - Universidade do Minho.
    7. Fokin, Nikita, 2021. "The importance of modeling structural breaks in forecasting Russian GDP," Applied Econometrics, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA), vol. 63, pages 5-29.
    8. Aguiar-Conraria, Luís & Martins, Manuel M.F. & Soares, Maria Joana, 2020. "Okun’s Law across time and frequencies," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 116(C).
    9. Gehrke, Britta & Weber, Enzo, 2018. "Identifying asymmetric effects of labor market reforms," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 18-40.
    10. Michal Andrle & Miroslav Plašil, 2016. "System Priors for Econometric Time Series," IMF Working Papers 2016/231, International Monetary Fund.
    11. Mengheng Li & Irma Hindrayanto, 2018. "Looking for the stars: Estimating the natural rate of interest," Working Paper Series 51, Economics Discipline Group, UTS Business School, University of Technology, Sydney.
    12. Andrle, Michal & Plašil, Miroslav, 2018. "Econometrics with system priors," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 172(C), pages 134-137.
    13. Huw Dixon & Joshy Easaw & Saeed Heravi, 2020. "Forecasting inflation gap persistence: Do financial sector professionals differ from nonfinancial sector ones?," International Journal of Finance & Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(3), pages 461-474, July.
    14. Fu, Bowen, 2020. "Is the slope of the Phillips curve time-varying? Evidence from unobserved components models," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 320-340.
    15. Michael O’Grady, 2019. "Estimating the Output, Inflation and Unemployment Gaps in Ireland using Bayesian Model Averaging," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 50(1), pages 35-76.
    16. Grant, Angelia L., 2018. "The Great Recession and Okun's law," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 291-300.

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    JEL classification:

    • C32 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes; State Space Models
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation

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