series: EI 2007-08
Do leading indicators lead peaks more than troughs?
View PDF Version
We develop a formal statistical approach to investigate the possibility that leading indicator variables have different lead times at business cycle peaks and troughs. For this purpose, we propose a novel Markov switching vector autoregressive model, where economic growth and leading indicators share a common Markov process determining the state, but such that their cycles are non-synchronous with the non-synchronicity varying across the different regimes. An empirical application to monthly US industrial production (IP) and The Conference Board's Composite Index of Leading Indicators (CLI) for the period 1959-2004 shows that on average the CLI leads IP by more than seven months at peaks, but only by three and a half months at troughs. In terms of timeliness, the CLI is therefore most useful for signalling oncoming recessions. Furthermore, we find that allowing for asymmetric lead times leads to improved real-time dating of business cycle peaks and troughs and more accurate forecasts of turning points and IP growth.
- C51 : Model Construction and Estimation
- C32 : Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions
- C11 : Bayesian Analysis
- E32 : Business Fluctuations; Cycles
- business cycle
- recession probabilities
- growth rates