Revisions to GDP announcements are known to be quite large in all G-7 countries: many revisions in quarterly GDP growth are over a full percentage point at an annualized rate. In this paper, we examine the predictability of these data
revisions. Previous work suggests that U.S. GDP revisions are largely unpredictable, as would be the case if the revisions reflect news not available at the time that the preliminary number is produced. We find that the degree of predictability varies throughout the G-7. For the U.S., the revisions are very slightly predictable, but for Italy, Japan and the UK, about half the variability of subsequent revisions can be accounted for by information available at the time of the preliminary announcement. For these countries, it appears that revisions reflect, to a significant degree, the removal of noise from the preliminary numbers, rather than the arrival of news.
Full paper (123 KB PDF)
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Last update: July 19, 2001