[Yes, it’s the excellent mainly Canadian economics blog that gave me the idea for this blog post title… take a look at A Worthwhile Canadian Initiative… but don’t get too distracted! We are onto Australia today]
A dear friend just emailed me asking about the “Australian version of Fred” I mentioned a few weeks ago, and so I finally get a chance to write my first blog post about “data.” Australian macro data in this occasion.
Everybody working in macroeconomics in Australia is aware that the country doesn’t compare too well – as far as macro data go – to the United States (monthly CPI anyone?). Though we certainly fare well relative to several other advanced economies, take my motherland Italy, for example. An honorable second best, I would argue.
Here’s where this particular Australian initiative is seriously worthwhile, though it really is a Monash Business School initiative, or to be more precise an initiative in the Department of Econometrics and Business Statistics at the Monash Business School (my employer, different department).
A team of four prominent econometricians has developed an “Australian version of Fred,” if you wish, under the auspices of an Australian Research Council Discovery Grant carrying the glamorous title of “Macroeconomic forecasting in a ‘Big Data’ world.”
The team is composed by Anastasios Panagiotelis, George Athanasopoulos, Rob Hyndman, and Farshid Vahid-Araghi. [Edit:] Prof. Hyndman has a more professional description of this work as a blog post @ Hyndsight, that I just became aware of. See also the background paper here.
- National Accounts, Flow of Funds & International Trade
- Labour Statistics
- Money, Credit, Interest rates and Exchange Rates
- Prices & Inflation
My advice is to spend a few minutes navigating the website to appreciate how elegant and accessible this precious resource is. It’s worth your time.
If you want a quick glimpse, I’m including a couple of screenshots, namely the front page and a not-so-randomly chosen price index (Housing Prices in Melbourne, sigh).
Everyone who has worked a bit with Fred is aware that one of the major advantages of the product of the Federal Reserve of St. Louis – it’s utter humongousness (“469,000 US and international time series from 83 sources” as of 24 February 2017) – can turn quickly into a weakness (a nightmare? Forgive me, Christian and Katrina…) when one is trying to work with country-specific data. Well, Australian Macro Database makes it easy for us mortals who are occasionally working with Australian data. Plus – and I may be wrong here – I conjecture that the Australian Macro Database may actually be more complete than Fred when it comes to Australian data. Either way, a perfect choice of colors to match my blog palette.