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Economic uncertainty before and during the COVID-19 pandemic

Dave Altig, Scott Baker, Jose Maria Barrero, Nicholas Bloom (), Philip Bunn, Scarlet Chen, Steven Davis (), Julia Leather, Brent Meyer, Emil Mihaylov, Paul Mizen (), Nicholas Parker, Thomas Renault, Pawel Smietanka and Gregory Thwaites
Additional contact information
Dave Altig: Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank
Scott Baker: Northwestern University [Evanston]
Philip Bunn: Bank of England - Bank of England
Scarlet Chen: Stanford University
Julia Leather: UON - University of Nottingham, UK
Brent Meyer: Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank
Emil Mihaylov: Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank
Nicholas Parker: Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank
Thomas Renault: CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique
Pawel Smietanka: Bank of England - Bank of England
Gregory Thwaites: UON - University of Nottingham, UK

Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) from HAL

Abstract: We consider several economic uncertainty indicators for the US and UK before and during the COVID-19 pandemic: implied stock market volatility, newspaper-based policy uncertainty, Twitter chatter about economic uncertainty, subjective uncertainty about business growth, forecaster disagreement about future GDP growth, and a model-based measure of macro uncertainty. Four results emerge. First, all indicators show huge uncertainty jumps in reaction to the pandemic and its economic fallout. Indeed, most indicators reach their highest values on record. Second, peak amplitudes differ greatly – from a 35% rise for the model-based measure of US economic uncertainty (relative to January 2020) to a 20-fold rise in forecaster disagreement about UK growth. Third, time paths also differ: Implied volatility rose rapidly from late February, peaked in mid-March, and fell back by late March as stock prices began to recover. In contrast, broader measures of uncertainty peaked later and then plateaued, as job losses mounted, highlighting differences between Wall Street and Main Street uncertainty measures. Fourth, in Cholesky-identified VAR models fit to monthly U.S. data, a COVID-size uncertainty shock foreshadows peak drops in industrial production of 12–19%.

Keywords: Forward-looking uncertainty measures; Volatility; COVID-19; Coronavirus (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020-11
Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-03205118
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Published in Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, 2020, 191, pp.104274. ⟨10.1016/j.jpubeco.2020.104274⟩

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Related works:
Journal Article: Economic uncertainty before and during the COVID-19 pandemic (2020) Downloads
Working Paper: Economic Uncertainty Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic (2020) Downloads
Working Paper: Economic uncertainty before and during the Covid-19 pandemic (2020) Downloads
Working Paper: Economic Uncertainty before and during the COVID-19 Pandemic (2020) Downloads
Working Paper: Economic uncertainty before and during the COVID-19 pandemic (2020)
Working Paper: Economic Uncertainty Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic (2020) Downloads
Working Paper: Economic uncertainty before and during the COVID-19 pandemic (2020) Downloads
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:hal:cesptp:hal-03205118

DOI: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2020.104274

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