05 jan 2012
A Cyclical Analysis of Economic Activity in Serbia
The paper presents the results of the first application of cyclical analysis to economic activity in Serbia. The analysis refers to the period 2001-07, which marked the start of democratic and economic reforms, since short term fluctuations in economic activity prior to 2001 were the result of various exogenous shocks like hyperinflation, wars and international economic sanctions. In the post-reform period, the Serbian economy exhibits characteristics of a small, open, marketoriented economy. Economic activity shows an upward trend, and with special regard to growth dynamics and their cyclical properties, cyclical analysis is relevant. In analysing cyclical fluctuations in economic activity, a deviation-from-trend approach is applied. For dating turning points in economic activity, the monthly gross domestic product (GDP) is used since the coincident properties of the index of industrial production could not be statistically verified for Serbia as there were a small number of quarterly observations available for GDP.
05 jan 2012
Energy Prices and Business Cycles
Despite energy price hikes in recent years, growth rates turned out to be high in most industrialised countries. This pattern starkly contrasts the adverse effects that energy price shocks exerted on growth in the 1970s and 1980s. This study investigates whether a reduction in the energy cost share or different sources of energy price hikes are responsible for this divergence. By adding an exogenous twovariable VAR to a new open economy model for Germany, both energy prices and global economic activity are specified to be independent from domestic variables but assumed to influence each other. We show that it is sensible to calibrate the model in accordance with long-run fluctuations in important, observable, structural parameters and VAR coefficients on a period by period basis. Increases in energy prices and in global output serve as supply side and demand side shocks respectively. Our results suggest that the effects of recent energy price hikes have been different from past experiences because they were demand driven. Therefore, supply driven energy price increases could still be an important source of business cycle fluctuations. JEL Classifications: E31, E32, F41 Keywords: Oil prices, new Keynesian open economy model
05 jan 2012
Are the New Member States Converging on the Euro Area?
The Optimal Currency Area theory stresses the importance of co-movement of the business cycles of member states in order for the common currency to be successful. Yet, the identification of (European) business cycles has been inconclusive and is complicated by the enlargement to the new member states in 2004 and their transition to market economies. In this paper, we show how to decompose a business cycle into a time-frequency framework in a way that allows us to compare the growth rate spectra and coherences for the Hungarian, Polish, Czech, German and French economies. We find that, since joining the EU, there has been convergence on the euro area economy at short cycle lengths, but little convergence in long cycles. We argue that this shows evidence of nominal convergence, but little real convergence. The standard Maastricht convergence criteria for membership of the euro therefore need to be adapted to test for real convergence. JEL Classification: C22, C29, C49, F43, O49 Keywords: Time-Frequency Analysis, Coherence, Growth Rates, Business Cycles
05 jan 2012
Measuring Uncertainty and Disagreement in the European Survey of Professional Forecasters
Survey data on expectations and economic forecasts play an important role in providing better insights into how economic agents make their own forecasts and why agents disagree in making them. Using data from the European Survey of Professional Forecasters (SPF), we consider measures of uncertainty and disagreement at both aggregate and individual level. We overcome the problem associated with distributional assumptions of probability density forecasts by using an approach that does not assume any functional form for the individual probability densities but just approximates the histogram by a piecewise linear function. We extend earlier works to the European context for the three macroeconomic variables – GDP, inflation and unemployment – and we analyse how these measures perform with respect to different forecasting horizons. There are two main results. First, uncertainty and disagreement are higher for GDP and unemployment than inflation, in particular for the short and medium forecast horizons. Second, the results do not support the evidence that, if uncertainty or disagreement are relatively high for one variable, then it is the same for the others. JEL classification: C53, E37, C83. Keywords: Survey professional forecast, uncertainty, disagreement, probability distribution.
05 jan 2012
A Note on Band-Pass Filters Based on the Hodrick-Prescott Filter and the OECD System of Composite Leading Indicators
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) began to use a band-pass filter, based on the Hodrick-Prescott filter (HPband-pass filter), to calculate the composite leading indicators (CLIs) in December2008. Other than the filter adopted by the OECD, there is an alternative HPband-pass filter. This note examines whether the application of these two alternative HPband-pass filters in the calculations of the OECD’s CLIs lead to negligible differences. JEL Classification: E32; C22 Keywords: Hodrick-Prescott band-pass filter; Composite leading indicators.© beawolf - Fotolia.com