Working paper

Measuring macroeconomic uncertainty during the euro’s lifetime

We draw out four indicators of macroeconomic uncertainty, measured over the lifetime of the euro.

Publishing date
20 June 2022
ECB in Frankfurt

It is a cliché in official economic institutions’ publications and their leaders’ speeches to lament exceptional uncertainty. The complaint does, however, ring true currently. A solid empirical basis should be given to this view by properly measuring macroeconomic uncertainty.

To measure macroeconomic uncertainty, we start from observable forecasts of macroeconomic variables, which are transformations of underlying economic conditions. By observing how forecasts change over time, we measure the flow of macroeconomic surprises. The more intense the flow of surprises, the greater uncertainty can be said to be. Greater differences among forecasts are also evidence of uncertainty.

We draw out four indicators of macroeconomic uncertainty, measured over the lifetime of the euro:

  1. How the macroeconomic forecasts of a given institution for the same time period change over time;
  2. How the macroeconomic forecasts of a given institution deviate from realised outcomes;
  3. How the macroeconomic forecasts of different institutions deviate from one other;
  4. How dispersed the forecasts of different professionals are.

We also measure whether the ‘stag-‘ or the ‘-flationary’ component is stronger in the overall stagflationary shock caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

About the authors

  • Monika Grzegorczyk

    Monika worked at Bruegel as a Research Analyst until August 2022. Monika is completing her second master’s degree in Models and Methods of Quantitative Economics at Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne and UCLouvain. She holds a BSc in finance and a MA in Political Science. Her research interests include monetary policy, financial regulations, and structural reforms.

    Prior to Bruegel, Monika worked as a Junior Economist at OECD on the qualitative and quantitative assessment of the implementation of structural policies and recommended actions. She was able to apply new machine learning methods such as Natural Language Processing for textual analysis.

    Monika was a trainee at governmental bodies (the Polish Finance Ministry, Ministry of the Interior and Administration, and the Polish delegation to OECD) and worked for non-governmental organisation (Foundation Institute for Strategic Studies). She also gained her experience through research assistance at the Paris School of Economics on Macroeconomic imbalances procedure (published as European Parliament Study).

  • Francesco Papadia

    Francesco Papadia is the chair of the Selection Panel of the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund (HFSF). He was, between 1998 and 2012, Director General for Market Operations at the European Central Bank. He worked previously at the Banca d´Italia, first as Director of the International Section of the Research Department and then as deputy head of the Foreign Department. Mr. Papadia has a degree in law from the University of Rome and attended postgraduate studies in Economics and Business at the Istituto Adriano Olivetti in Ancona and at the London Business School.

    Mr. Papadia is the author of a number of publications in the fields of International Economics and Monetary Policy. While collaborating with Bruegel, the focus of his research will be on European and global macroeconomic issues, including governance questions.

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