Components of Uncertainty International Economic Review (accepted).

Uncertainty is acknowledged to be a source of economic fluctuations. But, does the type of uncertainty matter for the economy’s response to an uncertainty shock? This paper offers a novel identification strategy to disentangle different types of uncertainty. It uses machine learning techniques to classify different types of news instead of specifying a set of keywords. The paper finds that, depending on its source, the effects of uncertainty on a macroeconomic variable may differ. I find that both good (expansionary effect) and bad (contractionary effect) types of uncertainty exist.

Media coverage: CentralBanking.com
Bankplassen blog (in Norwegian)

Narrative monetary policy surprises and the media  Journal of Money, Credit and Banking (accepted).
with Saskia ter Ellen and Leif Anders Thorsrud.

We propose a simple method to quantify narratives from textual data, and identify “narrative monetary policy surprises” as the difference in narrative focus in central bank communication accompanying interest rate meetings and economic media coverage prior to those meetings. Identifying narrative surprises, using Norwegian data, provides surprise measures that are uncorrelated with conventional monetary policy surprises, and, in contrast to such surprises, have a significant effect on subsequent media coverage. Narrative monetary policy surprises lead to macroeconomic responses similar to what recent monetary policy literature associates with the information component of monetary policy communication, highlighting media’s role as information intermediaries.     

News-driven inflation expectations and information rigidities  Journal of Monetary Economics (forthcoming).
with Leif Anders Thorsrud and Julia Zhulanova.

Using a large news corpus and machine learning algorithms we investigate the role played by the media in the expectations formation process of households, and conclude that the news topics media report on are good predictors of both inflation and inflation expectations. In turn, in a noisy information model, augmented with a simple media channel, we document that the time series features of relevant topics help explain time-varying information rigidity among households. As such, we provide a novel estimate of state-dependent information rigidities and present new evidence highlighting the role of the media in understanding inflation expectations and information rigidities.

Supplementary material: Online appendix
Media coverage: Dow Jones
Bankplassen blog (in Norwegian)

 

The Value of News for Economic Developments Journal of Econometrics, 2019, 210, 203-218.
with Leif Anders Thorsrud.

We decompose the textual data in a Norwegian business newspaper into news topics and investigate their role in predicting and explaining economic fluctuations. Separate full- and out-of-sample experiments show that many topics have predictive power for key economic variables, including asset prices. Unexpected innovations to an aggregated news index, derived as a weighted average of the topics with the highest predictive scores, lead to persistent economic fluctuations, and are especially associated with financial markets, credit and borrowing. Unexpected innovations to asset prices, orthogonal to news shocks and labeled as noise, have only temporary positive effects, in line with economic theory.

Supplementary material: Online appendix

Business cycles in an oil economy  Journal of International Money and Finance, 2019, 96, 283-303.
with Drago Bergholt and Martin Seneca.

The recent oil price fall has created concern among policy makers regarding the consequences of terms of trade shocks for resource-rich countries. This concern is not a minor one – the world’s commodity exporters combined are responsible for 15–20% of global value added. We develop and estimate a two-country New Keynesian model in order to quantify the importance of oil price shocks for Norway – a large, prototype petroleum exporter. Domestic supply chains link mainland (non-oil) Norway to the off-shore oil industry, while fiscal authorities accumulate income in a sovereign wealth fund. Oil prices and the international business cycle are jointly determined abroad. These features allow us to disentangle the structural sources of oil price fluctuations, and how they affect mainland Norway. The estimated model provides three key results. First, oil price movements represent an important source of macroeconomic volatility in mainland Norway. Second, while no two shocks cause the same dynamics, conventional trade channels make an economically less significant difference for the transmission of global shocks to the oil exporter than to oil importers. Third, the domestic oil industry’s supply chain is an important transmission mechanism for oil price movements, while the prevailing fiscal regime provides substantial protection against external shocks.

Supplementary material: Online appendix

Oil and Macroeconomic (In)stability  American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, 2018, 10 (4): 128-151.
with Hilde C. Bjørnland and Junior Maih.

We analyze the role of oil price volatility in reducing U.S. macroeconomic instability. Using a Markov Switching Rational Expectation New-Keynesian model we revisit the timing of the Great Moderation and the sources of changes in the volatility of macroeconomic variables. We find that smaller or fewer oil price shocks did not play a major role in explaining the Great Moderation. Instead oil price shocks are recurrent sources of economic fluctuations. The most important factor reducing overall variability is a decline in the volatility of structural macroeconomic shocks. A change to a more responsive (hawkish) monetary policy regime also played a role. 

Supplementary material: Online appendix, Replication files