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An Index of Global Economic Policy Uncertainty

Building on Baker, Bloom, and Davis (2016), I construct a monthly index of Global Economic Policy Uncertainty (GEPU) from January 1997. The GEPU Index is a GDP-weighted average of national EPU indices for 16 countries that account for two-thirds of global output. Each national EPU index reflects the relative frequency of own-country newspaper articles that contain a trio of terms pertaining to the economy, uncertainty, and policy-related matters. The GEPU Index rises sharply in reaction to the Asian Financial Crisis, the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, the Global Financial Crisis in 2008-09, the European immigration crisis, concerns about the Chinese economy in late 2015, and the Brexit referendum in June 2016. It fluctuates around consistently high levels from mid-2011 to early 2013, a period characterized by recurring sovereign debt and banking crises in the Eurozone, intense partisan battles over fiscal and healthcare policies in the United States, and a generational leadership transition in China. The average value of the GEPU Index is 60 percent higher from July 2011 to August 2016 than in the previous fourteen and one-half years and 22 percent higher than in 2008-09.

Authors: 
Steven J. Davis, University of Chicago Booth School of Business
Publication Date: 
October, 2016
Publication Type: 
Institution: 
Becker Friedman Institute
Series: 
Becker Friedman Institute Working Paper Series
Document Number: 
2016-24