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Measuring the NAIRU with Reduced Uncertainty: A Multiple Indicator-Common Component Approach

  • Arabinda Basistha
  • Richard Startz

Standard estimates of the NAIRU or natural rate of unemployment are subject to considerable uncertainty. We show in this paper that using multiple indicators to extract an estimated NAIRU cuts in half uncertainty as measured by variance. The inclusion of an Okun’s Law relation is particularly valuable. We estimate the NAIRU as an unobserved component in a state-space model and show that using multiple indicators reduces both parametric uncertainty and filtering uncertainty. Additionally, our multivariate approach overcomes the “pile-up” problem observed by other investigators.

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Paper provided by University of Washington, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number UWEC-2004-22.

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Date of creation: Sep 2004
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Handle: RePEc:udb:wpaper:uwec-2004-22
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  1. 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.
  2. Laurence Ball & N. Gregory Mankiw, 2002. "The NAIRU in Theory and Practice," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1963, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  3. Robert G. King & Mark W. Watson, 1994. "The post-war U.S. Phillips curve: a revisionist econometric history," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues 94-14, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  4. Apel, Mikael & Jansson, Per, 1998. "A Theory-Consistent System Approach for Estimating Potential Output and the NAIRU," Working Paper Series 74, Sveriges Riksbank (Central Bank of Sweden).
  5. Athanasios Orphanides & Richard D. Porter & David Reifschneider & Robert Tetlow & Frederico Finan, 1999. "Errors in the measurement of the output gap and the design of monetary policy," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1999-45, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  6. Thomas Laubach, 1997. "Measuring the NAIRU : evidence from seven economies," Research Working Paper 97-13, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
  7. Lawrence H. Summers, 1986. "Why is the Unemployment Rate So Very High near Full Employment," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 17(2), pages 339-396.
  8. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1973. "Some International Evidence on Output-Inflation Tradeoffs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 63(3), pages 326-34, June.
  9. Thomas Laubach & John C. Williams, 2001. "Measuring the natural rate of interest," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2001-56, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  10. Giannoni, Marc P., 2002. "Does Model Uncertainty Justify Caution? Robust Optimal Monetary Policy In A Forward-Looking Model," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 6(01), pages 111-144, February.
  11. Alexei Onatski & James H. Stock, 2000. "Robust Monetary Policy Under Model Uncertainty in a Small Model of the U.S. Economy," NBER Working Papers 7490, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Robert J. Gordon, 1998. "Foundations of the Goldilocks Economy: Supply Shocks and the Time-Varying NAIRU," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(2), pages 297-346.
  13. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 1996. "How Precise are Estimates of the Natural Rate of Unemployment?," NBER Working Papers 5477, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Robert J. Gordon, 1996. "The Time-Varying NAIRU and its Implications for Economic Policy," NBER Working Papers 5735, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Arturo Estrella & Frederic Mishkin, 1998. "Rethinking the role of NAIRU in monetary policy: implications of model formulation and uncertainty," Research Paper 9806, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  16. Laurence H. Meyer & Eric T. Swanson & Volker W. Wieland, 2001. "NAIRU uncertainty and nonlinear policy rules," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2001-01, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  17. Kuttner, Kenneth N, 1994. "Estimating Potential Output as a Latent Variable," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 12(3), pages 361-68, July.
  18. Glenn D. Rudebusch, 2001. "Is The Fed Too Timid? Monetary Policy In An Uncertain World," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(2), pages 203-217, May.
  19. Hamilton, James D., 1986. "A standard error for the estimated state vector of a state-space model," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 387-397, December.
  20. Athanasios Orphanides & John C. Williams, 2003. "Robust monetary policy rules with unknown natural rates," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2003-11, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  21. Chinhui Juhn & Kevin M. Murphy & Robert H. Topel, 1991. "Why Has the Natural Rate of Unemployment Increased over Time?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 22(2), pages 75-142.
  22. Chang-Jin Kim & Charles R. Nelson, 1999. "State-Space Models with Regime Switching: Classical and Gibbs-Sampling Approaches with Applications," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262112388, June.
  23. James C. Morley & Charles R. Nelson & Eric Zivot, 2003. "Why Are the Beveridge-Nelson and Unobserved-Components Decompositions of GDP So Different?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(2), pages 235-243, May.
  24. Clark, Peter K, 1987. "The Cyclical Component of U.S. Economic Activity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 102(4), pages 797-814, November.
  25. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 1997. "The NAIRU, Unemployment and Monetary Policy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(1), pages 33-49, Winter.
  26. Laurence Ball, 1999. "Aggregate demand and Long-Run Unemployment," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 30(2), pages 189-252.
  27. repec:cup:macdyn:v:6:y:2002:i:1:p:111-44 is not listed on IDEAS
  28. Clark, Peter K., 1989. "Trend reversion in real output and unemployment," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 15-32, January.
  29. repec:cup:macdyn:v:6:y:2002:i:1:p:85-110 is not listed on IDEAS
  30. Salemi, Michael K, 1999. "Estimating the Natural Rate of Unemployment and Testing the Natural Rate Hypothesis," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(1), pages 1-25, Jan.-Feb..
  31. Gordon, Robert J, 1990. "What Is New-Keynesian Economics?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 28(3), pages 1115-71, September.
  32. Avery, Robert B., 1979. "Modeling monetary policy as an unobserved variable," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 291-311, August.
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