Jointly Estimating Macroeconomic News and Surprise Shocks
Abstract: This paper clarifies the conditions under which the state-of-the-art approach to identifying TFP news shocks in Kurmann and Sims (2021, KS) identifies not only news shocks but also surprise shocks. We examine the ability of the KS procedure to recover responses to these shocks from data generated by a conventional New Keynesian DSGE model. Our analysis shows that the KS response estimator tends to be strongly biased even in the absence of measurement error. This bias worsens in realistically small samples, and the estimator becomes highly variable. Incorporating a direct measure of TFP news into the model and adapting the identification strategy accordingly removes this asymptotic bias and greatly reduces the RMSE when TFP news are correctly measured. However, the high variability of this alternative estimator in small samples suggests caution in interpreting empirical estimates. We examine to what extent empirical estimates of the responses to news and surprise shocks from a range of VAR models based on alternative measures of TFP news are economically plausible.