Modeling and Forecasting Macroeconomic Downside Risk
100 Pages Posted: 25 May 2021
Date Written: March 16, 2021
We document a substantial increase in downside risk to US economic growth over the last 30 years. By modelling secular trends and cyclical changes of the predictive density of GDP growth, we find an accelerating decline in the skewness of the conditional distributions, with significant, procyclical variations. Decreasing trend-skewness, which turned negative in the aftermath of the Great Recession, is associated with the long-run growth slowdown started in the early 2000s. Short-run skewness fluctuations imply negatively skewed predictive densities ahead of and during recessions, often anticipated by deteriorating financial conditions, while positively skewed distributions characterize expansions. The model delivers competitive out-of-sample (point, density and tail) forecasts, improving upon standard benchmarks, due to the strong signals of increasing downside risk provided by current financial conditions.
Keywords: business cycle, financial conditions, downside risk, skewness, score driven models
JEL Classification: C12, C22, C51, C53, E37, E44
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