Regional Output Growth in the United Kingdom : More Timely And Higher Frequency Estimates,1970-2017

Koop, Gary and McIntyre, Stuart and Mitchell, James and Poon, Aubrey (2018) Regional Output Growth in the United Kingdom : More Timely And Higher Frequency Estimates,1970-2017. Discussion paper. Economic Statistics Centre of Excellence, London.

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    Output growth estimates for the regions of the UK are currently published at the annual frequency only and are released with a long delay. Regional economists and policymakers would benefit from having higher frequency and more timely estimates. In this paper we develop a mixed frequency Vector Autoregressive (MF-VAR) model and use it to produce estimates of quarterly regional output growth. Temporal and cross-sectional restrictions are imposed in the model to ensure that our quarterly regional estimates are consistent with the annual regional observations and the observed quarterly UK totals. We use a machine learning method based on the hierarchical Dirichlet-Laplace prior to ensure optimal shrinkage and parsimony in our over-parameterised MF-VAR. Thus, this paper presents a new, regional quarterly database of nominal and real Gross Value Added dating back to 1970. We describe how we update and evaluate these estimates on an ongoing, quarterly basis to publish online (at more timely estimates of regional economic growth. We illustrate how the new quarterly data can be used to contribute to our historical understanding of business cycle dynamics and connectedness between regions.