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Interpolation and Shock Persistence of Prewar U.S. Macroeconomic Time Series: A Reconsideration

Dezhbakhsh, Hashem and Levy, Daniel (2022): Interpolation and Shock Persistence of Prewar U.S. Macroeconomic Time Series: A Reconsideration. Forthcoming in: Economics Letters , Vol. 213, (2022): pp. 1-7.

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Abstract

The U.S. prewar output series exhibit smaller shock-persistence than postwar-series. Some studies suggest that this may be due to linear interpolation used to generate missing prewar data. Monte Carlo simulations that support this view generate large standard-errors, making such inference imprecise. We assess analytically the effect of linear interpolation on a nonstationary process. We find that interpolation indeed reduces shock-persistence, but the interpolated series can still exhibit greater shock-persistence than a pure random walk. Moreover, linear interpolation makes the series periodically nonstationary, with parameters of the data generating process and the length of the interpolation time-segments affecting shock-persistence in conflicting ways.

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