Recent Reserve Bank discussion papers (with abstracts) for 2009
Reserve Bank discussion and research papers present the detailed scholarly research of staff economists and visiting scholars. The papers are published throughout the year mainly for academic and professional economists.
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By Emmanuel De Veirman and Andrew Levin, December 2009 (PDF 247KB)
This paper develops a new technique for estimating earnings and employment volatility at the firm level, and applies it to Japanese firms. Unlike earlier studies for the United States, we estimate instantaneous volatility for every year, rather than a rolling ten-year average of volatility. In addition, our technique allows us to estimate the firm-specific component of firm volatility separately, by controlling for variation in firms’ earnings and employment growth induced by aggregate and sectoral factors. We find that firm-specific sales volatility was substantially higher before the 1990 stock market crash than in the following fifteen years. The conditional variance of earnings and employment growth stayed relatively constant until the late 1990s, but increased substantially from 1999 onwards.
By Richard Fabling, Arthur Grimes, and Lynda Sanderson, December 2009 (PDF 338KB)
We examine product and market entry choices of New Zealand exporters, using an enterprise level dataset which links firm performance measures with detailed data on merchandise trade. We focus our enquiry not on the broad question of what determines a firm's ability to export, but on the subsequent question: given that a firm has the ability to export, what determines the choices they make about what and where to export? We simultaneously consider firm and market level determinants of export market entry. At the firm level we find that measures of general and specific prior trade experience play an important role in determining the firm's future export activities. That is, we find evidence of path dependence within firms. We also find evidence of path dependence across firms, with entry into new export relationships reflecting demonstration effects from the export activities of other firms in the local area. These results are robust to the inclusion of other determinants of exporting, including the macroeconomic performance of destination countries, exchange rate movements, and the past performance of the exporting firm.
By Leo Krippner, and Leif Anders Thorsrud, November 2009 (PDF 827KB)
We forecast economic growth in New Zealand using yield curve data within simple statistical models; i.e. typical OLS relationships that have been well-established for other countries, and related VAR specification. We find that the yield curve data has significant forecasting power in absolute terms and performs well relative to various benchmarks. Specifications including measures of the yield curve slope produce the best forecasts overall. Our results also highlight the benefits of fully exploiting the timeliness of yield curve information (i.e it is always available and up to date).
By Michael D. Bordo, David Hargreaves, and Mizuho Kida, December 2009 (401KB)
We identify the timing of currency, banking crises and sudden stops in New Zealand from 1880 to 2008 using methodologies from the international literature and consider the extent to which the empirical models in that literature can explain New Zealand’s crisis history. We find that the cross country evidence on the determinants of crises fits New Zealand experience reasonably well. A number of the risk factors that correlate with crises internationally – such as domestic imbalances, external debt, and currency mismatches – were elevated for New Zealand when the country had more frequent crises and have improved in the recent (more stable) period. However, a time-series analysis of New Zealand growth over 120 years shows that global factors – such as the US growth rate and terms of trade – explain New Zealand growth fairly well, and that crisis dummy variables do not have significant additional explanatory power. This suggests that having sound institutions and policies may help avoid severe domestic crises, but will not be sufficient to avoid the domestic economic impact of the global business cycle.
By Martin Fukac and Adrian Pagan, December 2009 (PDF 275KB)
In this paper we review the evolution of macroeconomic modelling in a policy environment that took place over the past sixty years. We identify and characterise four generations of macro models. Particular attention is paid to the fourth generation – dynamic stochastic general equilibrium models. We discuss some of the problems in how these models are implemented and quantified.
By Anthony Garratt, James Mitchell, and Shaun P. Vahey, December 2009 (PDF 293KB)
We propose a methodology for producing density forecasts for the output gap in real time using a large number of vector autoregessions in inflation and output gap measures. Density combination utilizes a linear mixture of experts framework to produce potentially non-Gaussian ensemble densities for the unobserved output gap. In our application, we show that data revisions alter substantially our probabilistic assessments of the output gap using a variety of output gap measures derived from univariate detrending filters. The resulting ensemble produces well-calibrated forecast densities for US inflation in real time, in contrast to those from simple univariate autoregressions which ignore the contribution of the output gap. Combining evidence from both linear trends and more flexible univariate detrending filters induces strong multi-modality in the predictive densities for the unobserved output gap. The peaks associated with these two detrending methodologies indicate output gaps of opposite sign for some bservations, reflecting the pervasive nature of model uncertainty in our US data.
By Martin Fukac, December 2009 (PDF 270KB)
DSGE models have become a widely used tool for policymakers. This paper takes the global identification theory used for structural vectorautoregressions, and applies it to dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) models. We use this modified theory to check whether a DSGE model structure allows for unique estimates of structural shocks and their dynamic effects. The potential cost of a lack of identification for policy oriented models along that specific dimension is huge, as the same model can generate a number of contrasting yet theoretically and empirically justifiable recommendations. The problem and methodology are illustrated using a simple New Keynesian business cycle model.
By Richard Fabling and Arthur Grimes, December 2009 (PDF 275KB)
How do personnel practices affect firm performance? To examine this issue we use a panel of over 1,500 New Zealand firms, drawn from a diverse range of industries. The panel comprises respondents to official surveys of management practices in 2001 and 2005. These surveys ask a wide range of comparable qualitative questions covering organisational practices including human resource management (HRM). To this panel, we link longitudinal firm performance data from Statistics New Zealand's Longitudinal Business Database. We find that suites of complementary HRM-related practices impact positively on firm productivity and wages; effects on employee turnover depend on the practices considered.
There are no official quarterly real GDP estimates for New Zealand, for the period prior to 1977. We report the development of a seasonally adjusted series for a period of more than 60 years from mid-1947, and evaluate statistical properties. The series were developed by linking quarterly observations from two recent official series to temporally disaggregated observations for an earlier time period. Annual real GDP series are disaggregated, using the information from two quarterly diffusion indexes, developed by Haywood and Campbell (1976). Three econometric models are used: the Chow and Lin (1971) model that disaggregates the level of GDP; and the Fernández (1981) and Litterman (1983) models that disaggregate changes in GDP. Our preferred quarterly series is based on results generated from the Chow-Lin model. We assess movements in the new series against qualitative findings from New Zealand’s post-WWII economic history.
Supporting Documents - Spreadsheet for DP 2009/12
Financial turbulence over the past two years has generated increased interest in the analysis of financial stability. However, such analysis often suffers from conceptual difficulties and a lack of measurability. This paper develops a ‘cobweb model’ for analysing financial stability in New Zealand. A key objective of this cobweb model is to depict the Reserve Bank of New Zealand’s assessment of financial stability in a single diagram that will enable better communication of the main risks facing New Zealand’s financial system. The results of this model are displayed using a cobweb-style diagram, with five dimensions constructed using a wide range of quantitative indicators, supplemented by expert judgement where necessary. It is anticipated that this cobweb diagram will become the focal point of the Reserve Bank’s Financial Stability Report.
This article establishes that most models within the popular and widely used Nelson and Siegel (1987, hereafter NS) class, with one notable exception being the Svensson (1995) variant, are effectively reduced-form representations of the generic Gaussian affine term structure model outlined in Dai and Singleton (2002). That fundamental theoretical foundation provides a compelling case for applying certain NS models as standard tools for yield curve analysis in economics and finance: users get the well-established pragmatic benefits of NS models along with an assurance that they correspond to a well-accepted set of principles and assumptions for modelling the yield curve and its dynamics.
We present a descriptive analysis of firm-level merchandise trade, focussing on the role of entrepreneurial exporting behaviour. We document two aspects of the dynamics of trade – the contribution of novel export activity to aggregate trade growth and, conversely, the substantial exit rates of new trade relationships. The unique contribution of this paper lies in the detailed and comprehensive data we have available on market and product choices. Specifically, we make use of shipment-level goods trade data, linked to information for the universe of economically active New Zealand manufacturers,to examine trade at the firm-level and at the product-country-firm nexus. Our growth decomposition and survival analysis suggest several themes: (a) novel market entry is a significant contributor to aggregate export growth; (b) the study of international entrepreneurial behaviour should encompass not just de novo entrants, but the broad range of trade innovations initiated by incumbent exporters; (c) much expansion in trade appears to be incremental in nature; (d) despite this, such innovations appear to be inherently risky; and (e) experience and scale appear to be key factors in overcoming these risks (or at least proxies for such factors).
This paper estimates a medium-scale DSGE model with search unemployment by matching model and data spectra. Price markup shocks emerge as the main source of business-cycle fluctuations in the euro area. Key for the propagation of these disturbances are a high degree of inflation ndexation and a persistent response of monetary policy to deviations of inflation from the target.
Widely used measures of growth in mean or median housing prices will reflect changes in the composition of dwellings sold as well as changes in demand and supply conditions. Using a suburb-level dataset from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand we use stratification techniques to adjust for compositional change and derive a timely and robust measure of housing prices for New Zealand. Results suggest this stratified measure produces estimates of housing price inflation that accord closely with the accurate but less timely figures obtained from the QV Quarterly House Price Index.
This paper examines the relationship between wages and consumer prices in New Zealand over the last 15 years. Reflecting the open nature of the New Zealand economy, the headline CPI is disaggregated into non-tradable and tradable prices. We find that there is a joint causality between wages and disaggregate inflation. An increase in wage inflation forecasts an increase in non-tradable inflation. However, it is tradable inflation that drives wage inflation. While exogenous shocks to wages do not help to forecast inflation, the leading relationship from wages to non-tradable inflation implies that monitoring wages may prove useful for projecting the impact of other shocks on future inflation.
This paper uses wavelets to develop a core inflation measure for inflation targeting central banks. The analysis is applied to the case of New Zealand – the country with the longest history of explicit inflation targeting. We compare the performance of our proposed measure against some popular alternatives. Our measure does well at identifying a reliable medium-term trend in inflation. It also has comparable forecasting performance to standard benchmarks.
We apply “data-rich” factor and shrinkage methods to understand how large international datasets can be used to improve forecasts of New Zealand GDP. We find that exploiting a large number of international predictors can improve forecasts compared to more traditional models based on small datasets. This is in spite of New Zealand survey data capturing a substantial proportion of the predictive information in the international data. The largest forecasting accuracy gains from including international predictors are at longer forecast horizons. The forecasting performance achievable with the data-rich methods differs widely, with shrinkage methods and partial least squares performing best. We also assess the type of international data that contains the most predictive information for New Zealand growth over our sample.
In this paper, we apply a series of empirical microstructure tests to the NZD/USD and AUD/USD. In contrast to a more traditional macro approach to explaining exchange rate changes, microstructure studies focus on the role that transactions play in helping the market aggregate information on individual market participants expectations of economic fundamentals and risk preferences. Our data comes from the Reuters Spot Matching service, the main interbank trading platform in both currency pairs, and covers almost five and a half years of transactions from January 2001 to March 2006, a much longer and more representative time series than many empirical microstructure applications to date. We find that there is a strong contemporaneous relationship between net order flow (the net of buyerinitiated and seller-initiated transactions) and changes in the NZD/USD and AUD/USD at frequencies from one minute to one week, similar to studies on other currencies. We also find that cross-currency order flow has a positive association with changes in the other exchange rate (ie AUD/USD order flow has a positive contemporaneous relationship with changes in the NZD/USD). Finally, we examine a wide range of New Zealand, Australian and US data releases and central bank interest rate decisions and find that order flow plays an important role in communicating different interpretations of macroeconomic news.
We develop a large Bayesian VAR (BVAR) model of the New Zealand economy that incorporates the conditional forecasting estimation techniques of Waggoner and Zha (1999). We examine the real-time forecasting performance as the size of the model increases using an unbalanced data panel. In a realtime out-of-sample forecasting exercise, we find that our BVAR methodology outperforms univariate and VAR benchmarks, and produces comparable forecast accuracy to the judgementally-adjusted forecasts produced internally at the Reserve Bank of New Zealand. We analyse forecast performance and find that, while there are trade offs across different variables, a 35 variable BVAR generally performs better than 8, 13, or 50 variable specifications for our dataset. Finally, we demonstrate techniques for imposing judgement and for forming a semi-structural interpretation of the BVAR forecasts.
This paper uses multiple criteria decision making, also termed conjoint analysis,to reveal the preferences of central bank policy-makers at the Reserve Bank of New Zealand. Guided by the Policy Targets Agreement between the Governor of the Reserve Bank and the Minister of Finance, we identify policy-makers’ willingness to trade off inflation outcomes for reductions in volatility in GDP, the exchange rate, and interest rates. Using 1000Minds software, policy-makers are presented with a sequence of pairwise choices that ultimately quantify which macroeconomic attributes are most important to them. The paper also distinguishes between the preferences of senior management, and a broader cross-section of economists and other staff.
Discussion paper correspondence can be directed to:
Reserve Bank of New Zealand
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