DP2400 Reference Cycles: The NBER Methodology Revisited
This paper proposes a new way to compute a coincident and a leading index of economic activity. The method provides a unified approach for the selection of the coincident and the leading variables, for averaging them into coincident and leading indexes and for the identification of turning points. The statistical framework we propose reconciles dynamic principal components analysis wit dynamic factor analysis. We use our procedure to estimate coincident and leading indexes for the EMU area as well as country-specific indexes. Unlike other methods used in the literature, the country indexes take into consideration the cross-country as well as the within-country correlation structure.