Mr. Ales Bulir, Jaromír Hurník, and Katerina Smidkova
We offer a novel methodology for assessing the quality of inflation reports. In contrast to the existing literature, which mostly evaluates the formal quality of these reports, we evaluate their economic content by comparing inflation factors reported by the central banks with ex-post model-identified factors. Regarding the former, we use verbal analysis and coding of inflation reports to describe inflation factors communicated by central banks in real time. Regarding the latter, we use reduced-form, new Keynesian models and revised data to approximate the true inflation factors. Positive correlations indicate that the reported inflation factors were similar to the true, model-identified ones and hence mark high-quality inflation reports. Although central bank reports on average identify inflation factors correctly, the degree of forward-looking reporting varies across factors, time, and countries.
This 2014 Article IV Consultation highlights that Croatia remains stuck in an unusually drawn out recession. In 2013, real GDP contracted for the 5th consecutive year, and stands now at less than 90 percent of the end-2008 level. Unemployment has risen to 17 percent. Domestic demand remains depressed as corporations and households focus on reducing excessive debts accumulated in the 2000s. Exports and foreign direct investment are also feeble. The outlook is for an additional contraction in 2014 of almost 1 percent. Real domestic demand would remain feeble, reflecting both weak private sector demand and fiscal consolidation.
This paper introduces methods that allow analysts to (i) decompose the estimates of unobserved quantities into observed data, (ii) to better understand revision properties of the model, and (iii) to impose subjective prior constraints on path estimates of unobserved shocks in structural economic models. For instance, a decomposition of the flexible-price output gap, or a technology shock, into contributions of output, inflation, interest rates, and other observed variables' contribution is feasible. The intuitive nature and analytical clarity of the suggested procedures are appealing for policy-related and forecasting models.
Jonas Dovern, Mr. Ulrich Fritsche, Mr. Prakash Loungani, and Ms. Natalia T. Tamirisa
We examine the behavior of forecasts for real GDP growth using a large panel of individual forecasts from 30 advanced and emerging economies during 1989–2010. Our main findings are as follows. First, our evidence does not support the validity of the sticky information model (Mankiw and Reis, 2002) for describing the dynamics of professional growth forecasts. Instead, the empirical evidence is more in line with implications of "noisy" information models (Woodford, 2002; Sims, 2003). Second, we find that information rigidities are more pronounced in emerging economies than advanced economies. Third, there is evidence of nonlinearities in forecast smoothing. It is less pronounced in the tails of the distribution of individual forecast revisions than in the central part of the distribution.
We propose a new approach to test the full-information rational expectations hypothesis which can identify whether rejections of the arise from information rigidities. This approach quantifies the economic significance of departures from the and the underlying degree of information rigidity. Applying this approach to U.S. and international data of professional forecasters and other agents yields pervasive evidence consistent with the presence of information rigidities. These results therefore provide a set of stylized facts which can be used to calibrate imperfect information models. Finally, we document evidence of state-dependence in the expectations formation process.