Global Economic Policy Uncertainty Index

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We are pleased to release a monthly index of Global Economic Policy Uncertainty (GEPU) that runs from January 1997 to the present. The GEPU Index is a GDP-weighted average of national EPU indices for 18 countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Each national EPU index reflects the relative frequency of own-country newspaper articles that contain a trio of terms pertaining to the economy (E), policy (P) and uncertainty (U). In other words, each monthly national EPU index value is proportional to the share of own-country newspaper articles that discuss economic policy uncertainty in that month. For a detailed discussion of how we construct the country-level EPU indices, see Measuring Economic Policy Uncertainty.

To construct a Global Economic Policy Uncertainty (GEPU) Index, we proceed as follows: First, we re-normalize each national EPU index to a mean of 100 from 1997 (or first year) to 2015. Second, we impute missing values for Australia, India, the Netherlands and Spain using a regression-based method. This step yields a balanced panel of monthly EPU index values for 18 countries from January 1997 onwards. Third, we compute the GEPU Index value for each month as the GDP-weighted average of the 18 national EPU index values, using GDP data from the IMF's World Economic Outlook Database.

We construct two versions of the GEPU Index - one based on current-price GDP measures, and one based on PPP-adjusted GDP. The 18 countries that enter into the GEPU Index account for two-thirds of global output on a PPP-adjusted basis and roughly three-quarters of global output at current prices. For additional discussion of our GEPU Index, see An Index of Global Economic Policy Uncertainty.

We thank Hannah Ni for assistance in constructing the Global Economic Policy Uncertainty Index.