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Transmission of Uncertainty Shocks: Learning from Heterogeneous Responses on a Panel of EU Countries

Peter Claeys () and Bořek Vašíček ()

Working Papers from Czech National Bank, Research Department

Abstract: Numerous recent studies, starting with Bloom (2009), highlight the impact of varying uncertainty levels on economic activity. These studies mostly focus on individual countries, and cross-country evidence is scarce. In this paper, we use a set of (panel) BVAR models to study the effect of uncertainty shocks on economic developments in EU Member States. We explicitly distinguish between domestic, common and global uncertainty shocks and employ new proxies of uncertainty. The domestic uncertainty indicators are derived from the Business and Consumer Surveys administered by the European Commission. The common EU-wide uncertainty is subsequently derived by means of a factor model. Finally, the global uncertainty indicator - inspired by Jurado et al. (2015) - is extracted as a common factor from a broad set of forecast indicators that are not driven by the business cycle. The results suggest that real output in EU countries drops after spikes in uncertainty, mainly as a result of lower investment. Unlike for the U.S., there is little evidence of activity overshooting following this initial fall. The responses to uncertainty shocks vary across Member States. These differences can be attributed not mainly to different shock sizes, but rather to cross-country structural characteristics. Member States with more flexible labour markets and product markets seem to weather uncertainty shocks better. Likewise, a higher manufacturing share and higher economic diversification help dampen the impact of uncertainty shocks. The role of economic openness is more ambiguous.

Keywords: Bayesian VAR; economic activity; uncertainty (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: E32 G12 G35 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-mac
Date: 2017-12
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