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Adapting the Hodrick-Prescott Filter for Very Small Open Economies

Grech, Aaron George (2013): Adapting the Hodrick-Prescott Filter for Very Small Open Economies. Published in: International Journal of Economics and Finance , Vol. 5, No. 8 (August 2013): pp. 39-53.

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The Hodrick-Prescott (HP) filter is a commonly used method, particularly in potential output studies. However its suitability depends on a number of conditions. Very small open economies do not satisfy these as their macroeconomic series exhibit pronounced trends, large fluctuations and recurrent breaks. Consequently the use of the filter results in random changes in the output gap that are out of line with the concept of equilibrium. Two suggestions are put forward. The first involves defining the upper and lower bounds of a series and determining equilibrium as a weighted average of the filter applied separately on these bounds. The second involves an integration of structural features into the standard filter to allow researchers to set limits on the impact of structural/temporary shocks and allow for lengthy periods of disequilibria. This paper shows that these methods can result in a smoother output gap series for the smallest Euro Area economies.

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