Nowcasting Business Cycles Using Toll Data

19 Pages Posted: 1 Mar 2011

See all articles by Nikos Askitas

Nikos Askitas

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Klaus F. Zimmermann

Global Labor Organization (GLO); UNU-MERIT; Maastricht University, Department of Economics; Free University Berlin; University of Bonn; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); Journal of Population Economics

Abstract

Nowcasting has been a challenge in the recent economic crisis. We introduce the Toll Index, a new monthly indicator for business cycle forecasting and demonstrate its relevance using German data. The index measures the monthly transportation activity performed by heavy transport vehicles across the country and has highly desirable availability properties (insignificant revisions, short publication lags) as a result of the innovative technology underlying its data collection. It is coincident with production activity due to the prevalence of just-in-time delivery. The Toll Index is a good early indicator of production as measured for instance by the German Production Index, provided by the German Statistical Office, which is a well-known leading indicator of the Gross National Product. The proposed new index is an excellent example of technological, innovation-driven economic telemetry, which we suggest should be established more around the world.

Keywords: production forecasting, transportation, new products, macroeconomic forecasting, evaluating forecasts, data mining, business cycles, nowcasting, telemetry

JEL Classification: C82, E01, E32, E37, L92

Suggested Citation

Askitas, Nikos and Zimmermann, Klaus F., Nowcasting Business Cycles Using Toll Data. IZA Discussion Paper No. 5522, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1771244

Nikos Askitas (Contact Author)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
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+49 228 3894 510 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.iza.org/home/askitas

Klaus F. Zimmermann

Global Labor Organization (GLO) ( email )

Bonn
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://https://glabor.org/

UNU-MERIT ( email )

Keizer Karelplein 19
Maastricht, 6211TC
Netherlands

Maastricht University, Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 616
Maastricht, 6200MD
Netherlands

University of Bonn

Postfach 2220
Bonn, D-53012
Germany

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Journal of Population Economics

Tiergartenstr. 17
D-69121 Heidelberg
Germany

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