This paper presents a novel framework to estimate the elasticity between nighttime lights and quarterly economic activity. The relationship is identified by accounting for varying degrees of measurement errors in nighttime light data across countries. The estimated elasticity is 1.55 for emerging markets and developing economies, ranging from 1.36 to 1.81 across country groups and robust to different model specifications. The paper uses a light-adjusted measure of quarterly economic activity to show that higher levels of development, statistical capacity, and voice and accountability are associated with more precise national accounts data. The elasticity allows quantification of subnational economic impacts. During the COVID-19 pandemic, regions with higher levels of development and population density experienced larger declines in economic activity.
Metodij Hadzi-Vaskov, Mr. Luca A Ricci, Alejandro Mariano Werner, and Rene Zamarripa
This paper investigates the performance of the IMF WEO growth forecast revisions across different horizons and country groups. We find that: (i) growth revisions in horizons closer to the actual are generally larger, more volatile, and more negative; (ii) on average, growth revisions are in the right direction, becoming progressively more responsive to the forecast error gap as horizons get closer to the actual year; (iii) growth revisions in systemic economies are relevant for growth revisions in all country groups; (iv) WEO and Consensus Forecast growth revisions are highly correlated; (v) fall-to-spring WEO revisions are more correlated with Consensus Forecasts revisions compared to spring-to-fall revisions; and (vi) across vintages, revisions for a given time horizon are not autocorrelated; within vintages, revisions tend to be positively correlated, suggesting perception of persistent short-term shocks.
The yen is an important barometer for the Japanese economy. Depreciations are typically associated with favorable economic developments such as increased corporate profits, rising equity prices, and upward pressure on domestic consumer prices. On the other hand, large and sharp appreciations run the risk of lowering actual and expected inflation, squeezing corporate profits, generating a negative wealth effect through depressed equity prices, and reducing confidence in the Bank of Japan’s efforts to reflate the domestic economy and achieve the inflation target. This paper takes a closer look at underlying drivers of rapid yen appreciations, highlighting the key role of carry-trade and the zero lower bound as important amplifiers.
In late 2015, the Chinese authorities launched a policy to reduce capacity in the coal and steel industries under the wider effort of Supply-Side Structural Reforms. Around the same time, producer price inflation in China started to pick up strongly after being trapped in negative territory for more than fifty consecutive months. So what is behind this strong reflation—capacity cuts in coal and steel, or a strengthening of aggregate demand? Our empirical analyses indicate that a pickup in aggregate demand, possibly due to the government’s stimulus package in 2015-16, was the more important driver. Capacity cuts played a role in propping up coal and steel prices, explaining at most 40 percent of their price increase.