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Estimating a large‐scale factor‐augmented vector autoregressive model for 18 Organisation for Economic Co‐operation and Development member countries, we quantify the global effects of economic policy uncertainty shocks. More specifically, we check whether the signs, the magnitude, and the persistence profile are consistent with the literature on the real and financial sector effects of uncertainty. In that respect, we compare the impacts of a U.S. and a Euro area policy uncertainty shock. According to our results, an increase in economic policy uncertainty has a strong negative impact on economic activity (gross domestic product), consumer prices, equity prices, and interest rates. Uncertainty shocks cause deeper recessions in Continental Europe (except Germany) than in Anglo‐Saxon countries. U.S. uncertainty shocks have a bigger impact than those for the Euro area. Economic policy uncertainty does not only affect that country where the shock originates but also has large cross‐border effects. We also find a high degree of synchronization among the responses of national variables to a (foreign) uncertainty shock, indicating evidence of an international business cycle. With respect to the responses of national long‐term interest rates to an economic policy uncertainty shock, our results reveal a strong “North‐South” divide within the Euro area with rates decreasing less significantly in the South. Moreover, economic policy uncertainty shocks emerging in one region quickly raise uncertainty outside the region of origin. (JEL C32, F42, D80)
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2019

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