Using symmetric data sets of 92 weekly return observations before and after the introduction of the euro, the paper analyzes the impact of the new currency on the return structure of equity markets in the European Monetary Union. Variance decompositions, cluster analyses, and principle component analyses are used to explore the changes in the structural relations. European industry factors are found to have dramatically increased in importance with the launch of the single currency, and a new 'country-size' factor in European stock returns is detected. Furthermore, inner-European correlations are documented to have been reduced sharply with the start of the monetary union.
This paper develops an aggregation procedure using time-varying weights for constructing the common component of international economic fluctuations. The methodology for deriving time-varying weights is based on some stylized features of the data documented in the paper. The model allows for a unified treatment of cyclical and seasonal fluctuations and also captures the dynamic propagation of shocks across countries. Correlations of individual country fluctuations with the common component provide evidence of a “world business cycle” and a distinct European common component. The results suggest that macroeconomic fluctuations have become more closely linked across industrial economies in the post–Bretton Woods period.
A simple criterion based on the properties of the forecast error is presented to evaluate the accuracy of forecasts. The efficiency conditions of an optimization problem are used to show that under rational expectations the standard statistical conditions are necessary, but not sufficient to ensure efficiency. This criterion is used to examine the accuracy of the World Economic Outlook projections of growth and inflation for the seven major industrial countries. Time series models are then estimated and the efficiency of the World Economic Outlook projections relative to a benchmark time series model is examined. A number of empirical tests suggest that the year ahead projections of growth and inflation in the World Economic Outlook are unbiased after 1982.