OECD Journal: Journal of Business Cycle Measurement and Analysis

The Journal of Business Cycle Measurement and Analysis has been discontinued as of 24 June 2016. This journal was published jointly with CIRET from 2004 to 2015. For more information see www.ciret.org/jbcy.


Keywords: business tendency, economic measurement, economic statistics, cyclical indicators, business surveys, business cycles, economic research, business investment, consumer surveys, economic indicators, economic cycle, cyclical fluctuations, short-term, economic analysis

Measuring capacity utilisation in the italian manufacturing sector

a comparison between time series and survey estimates

The aim of this paper is to provide an interpretation of the measure of capacity utilisation provided by the European Union harmonised survey on the Italian manufacturing sector. In doing so, we evaluate its ability to correctly track cyclical turning points and its contribution in explaining consumer price index (CPI) inflation. The survey based measure results are a good co-incident indicator of business cycle, however it is generally outperformed by time series models in explaining inflation. We conclude that the standard “output gap” interpretation of the survey results is broadly confirmed by the data, however we cannot rule out at this stage that survey respondents may also consider the alternative “variable capacity utilisation” concept in answering the survey question.

Keywords: Capacity utilisation, co-integration, unobserved component models, VAR.

JEL Classification: E32, C22, E37


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