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Working Papers

April 2019, No. 19-10

Assessing Macroeconomic Tail Risk

Francesca Loria, Christian Matthes and Donghai Zhang

What drives macroeconomic tail risk? To answer this question, we borrow a definition of macroeconomic risk from Adrian et al. (2019) by studying (left-tail) percentiles of the forecast distribution of GDP growth. We use local projections (Jordà, 2005) to assess how this measure of risk moves in response to economic shocks to the level of technology, monetary policy, and financial conditions. Furthermore, by studying various percentiles jointly, we study how the overall economic outlook—as characterized by the entire forecast distribution of GDP growth—shifts in response to shocks. We find that contractionary shocks disproportionately increase downside risk, independently of what shock we look at.

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