NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Measuring Global Economic Activity

James D. Hamilton

NBER Working Paper No. 25778
Issued in April 2019
NBER Program(s):Environment and Energy Economics, Economic Fluctuations and Growth

A number of economic studies have used a proxy for world real economic activity derived from shipping costs. This measure turns out to depend on a normalization that has substantive consequences of which users of the index had been unaware prior to this paper. This paper further evaluates this and alternative measures in terms of treatment of trends, coherence with world output, and ability to predict commodity prices. I conclude that measures derived from world industrial production offer a better indicator of global real economic activity.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w25778

 
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