Data Revisions are Not Well-Behaved
40 Pages Posted: 3 Jan 2005
Date Written: December 22, 2004
We document the empirical properties of revisions to major macroeconomic variables in the United States. Our findings suggest that they do not satisfy simple desirable statistical properties. In particular, we find that these revisions do not have a zero mean, which indicates that the initial announcements by statistical agencies are biased. We also find that the revisions are quite large compared to the original variables and they are predictable using the information set at the time of the initial announcement, which means that the initial announcements of statistical agencies are not rational forecasts. We also provide evidence that professional forecasters ignore this predictability.
Keywords: Forecasting, news and noise, real-time data, NIPA variables
JEL Classification: C22, C53, C82
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation