The role of economic policy uncertainty in predicting US recessions : a mixed-frequency markov-switching vector autoregressive approach

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 1
  • Abstract:

    This paper analyzes the performance of the monthly economic policy uncertainty (EPU) index in predicting recessionary regimes of the (quarterly) U.S. GDP. In this regard, the authors apply a mixed-frequency Markov-switching vector autoregressive (MF-MS-VAR) model, and compare its in-sample and out-of-sample forecasting performances to those of a Markov-switching vector autoregressive model (MS-VAR, where the EPU is averaged over the months to produce quarterly values) and a Markov-switching autoregressive (MS-AR) model. Their results show that the MF-MS-VAR fits the different recession regimes, and provides out-of-sample forecasts of recession probabilities which are more accurate than those derived from the MS-VAR and MS-AR models. The results highlight the importance of using high-frequency values of the EPU, and not averaging them to obtain quarterly values, when forecasting recessionary regimes for the U.S. economy.