Almost nine years ago, the Research Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia began a project to investigate the importance of revisions to economic data. In its early stages, the project consisted of collecting economic data as they existed at various points of time in the past. We assembled an initial data set of key macroeconomic variables called the real-time data set for macroeconomists and made the data available on our web site.1
As part of its research program, the department hosted a two-day conference in October 2001 on the use of real-time data in economics. Economists from the Federal Reserve System and academia presented nine papers, many of which relied on the Philadelphia Fed's data set, illustrating the importance of data revisions in economic analysis. This article summarizes the research presented at the conference.
This article appeared in the First Quarter 2002 edition of Business Review.