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Miss Stephanie Denis and Mr. Prakash Kannan
This paper quantifies the economic impact of uncertainty shocks in the UK using data that span the recent Great Recession. We find that uncertainty shocks have a significant impact on economic activity in the UK, depressing industrial production and GDP. The peak impact is felt fairly quickly at around 6-12 months after the shock, and becomes statistically negligible after 18 months. Interestingly, the impact of uncertainty shocks on industrial production in the UK is strikingly similar to that of the US both in terms of the shape and magnitude of the response. However, unemployment in the UK is less affected by uncertainty shocks. Finally, we find that uncertainty shocks can account for about a quarter of the decline in industrial production during the Great Recession.
Mr. Matteo Iacoviello
This paper presents a "bridge model" for short-run (one or two quarters ahead) forecasting of Italian GDP, relying on industrial production and survey indicators as key variables that can help in providing a real-time first GDP estimate. For a one- to two-year horizon, it formulates and estimates a Bayesian VAR (BVAR) model of the Italian economy. Both the "bridge" and the BVAR model can be of great help in supplementing traditional judgmental or structural econometric forecasts. Given their simplicity and their good forecasting power, the framework may be usefully extended to other variables as well as to other countries
Mr. Sam Ouliaris and Ms. Celine Rochon
This paper develops a time series model for aggregate consumption to predict the U.S. personal saving rate. It then uses the model to test whether there has been a structural break in consumption behavior because of the 2008 financial crisis. Before the crisis, the personal saving rate was trending downwards. However, in 2008 there was a significant rise in the saving rate that continued until the end of 2012, suggesting a permanent change in household behavior. To assess this issue formally, the unknown parameters of the model are estimated using data for 1961Q1-2007Q4, a period which precedes the crisis. The model is then used to predict the saving rate from 2008Q1 onwards and to assess whether the rise in the saving rate after 2008 was due to sizable, but transitory, income/wealth shocks or to changes in the underlying elasticities between saving and its determinants (hence structural). The statistical evidence suggests there was no structural break in the household saving behavior, implying that the rise in the saving rate during 2008-2012 was caused by the negative shocks to income, employment and wealth. This result explains why the saving rate resumed its decline in 2013, as real disposable income, employment and net worth recovered. Assuming that the real growth in these determinants remains strong, the estimated model predicts continued negative pressures on the current account deficit and further external imbalances attributable to the U.S. household sector.

A small macroeconomic model based on familiar theoretical considerations is developed and estimated using data from 31 developing countries. Efficient estimation techniques are used to control for country heterogeneity under the assumption of rational expectations. The estimates and the test statistics suggest that the model could serve well as a framework for macroeconomic analysis of developing countries. The specification of the model allows the hypothesis of capital mobility to be explicitly tested, and the empirical analysis suggests that, on average, developing countries have exhibited a high degree of capital mobility.

Mr. Kwangwon Lee


The Quarterly National Accounts Manual (the Manual) provides conceptual and practical guidance for compiling quarterly national accounts (QNA) statistics. The Manual offers a comprehensive review of data sources, statistical methods, and compilation techniques to derive official estimates of quarterly GDP. The new edition—which upgrades the first edition, published in 2001—improves and expands the previous content based on recent methodological advances, best country practices, and suggestions received from QNA compilers and experts.

Timothy D. Sweeney

THE MAINTENANCE of a satisfactory dollar balance in world trade depends to an important extent on a continued high level of U.S. imports. Therefore, fluctuations in U.S. imports are viewed with the greatest interest all over the world. In planning economic policy, on both the national and the international level, it would clearly be of value if the magnitude of U.S. imports could be known with reasonable accuracy a certain time in advance.

International Monetary Fund

The note delves on the U.S. housing market outlook, the potential benefits of mitigating distressed sales household deleveraging, and the recovery. Policies to facilitate labor market adjustment to reduce the large employment volatility without affecting efficient labor allocation could prevent problems. U.S. firms are hoarding money but it is likely to be spent to boost firms’ capital expenditure, rather than kept as precautionary balances. The note discusses commodity price shocks affecting Treasury inflation protected securities (TIPS), budget institutions for federal fiscal consolidation, and mortgage delinquencies in the United States.