Bank of Lithuania

Unemployment or credit: Who holds the potential? Results from a small-open economy


This paper investigates the importance of unemployment and credit in determining the potential level of real activity for a small-open economy with a low degree of financialization. We estimate a multivariate unobserved component model (MUC) to derive the potential output and its associated output gap for the Lithuanian economy. The model is estimated via Bayesian methods and the time-paths of unobserved variables are extracted via the Kalman filter. We find that the inclusion of unemployment into the MUC model substantially improves the estimates of output gap in real-time. Once information about unemployment is accounted for, adding information about credit does not substantially alter either the estimates of output gap or its performance in real time. We uncover a strong negative correlation between the model-implied unemployment gap (without credit) and real credit growth. This explains the relatively muted impact of the financial variable on the level and dynamics of the output gap. Data revisions appear not to be the primary source of revisions on output gaps estimates.

JEL Codes: C11, C32, E24, E32.

The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of the Bank of Lithuania.

output gap, potential output, Multivariate Unobserved Component, Kalman Filter, NAIRU, Real-Financial Cycle, Small-Open Economy