Elena Bobeica, Gabriel Pérez-Quirós, Gerhard Rünstler, Georg Strasser, 31 October 2021

The Covid-19 pandemic shock, new shifting economic trends, and revisions in monetary policy by major central banks make macroeconomic forecasting a challenging task. This column reviews advancements in forecasting techniques that were discussed at the ECB’s 11th Conference on Forecasting Techniques, dedicated to “forecasting in abnormal times”. Researchers are currently advancing primarily on two fronts – either by sheltering linear models against extreme events or explicitly modelling the dynamics of the latter. New approaches and methods are rapidly developing, partly inspired by big data and machine learning techniques.

Oriol Aspachs, Ruben Durante, José García-Montalvo, Alberto Graziano, Josep Mestres, Marta Reynal-Querol, 22 September 2020

The economic crisis from the COVID-19 pandemic may disproportionately affect the most vulnerable segments of the population, creating serious challenges for social cohesion and political stability. This column constructs a high-frequency measure of income inequality using anonymised data from bank records on the wages and public transfers of over three million account holders in Spain. Wage inequality increased by almost 30% during the COVID-19 crisis, mainly due to job losses and wage cuts for low-income workers. However, public transfers were very effective at offsetting most, though not all, of this increase.

Alan Auerbach, Yuriy Gorodnichenko, 10 May 2015

The impact of fiscal policy on exchange rates is of key interest to policymakers. This column argues that unexpected government spending instantly affects exchange rates. The finding, based on daily data reporting of the US Defence Department, may suggest that unexpected government spending has broader macroeconomic effects as well. The results, however, do not hold is low-frequency data are used instead.

Nicolas Maystre, David Bicchetti, 05 April 2012

Trade in commodity derivatives – such as oil futures – has grown tremendously over the last few decades. Some believe that the "financialisation" of commodity markets has made them more efficient. Others worry that financialisation has resulted in greater price distortions and volatility. This column presents high-frequency trading data suggesting that the sceptics may have a point.


CEPR Policy Research