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Modelling and Forecasting Fiscal Variables for the Euro Area

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  • Carlo A. Favero
  • Massimiliano Marcellino

Abstract

In this paper, we assess the possibility of producing unbiased forecasts for fiscal variables in the Euro area by comparing a set of procedures that rely on different information sets and econometric techniques. In particular, we consider autoregressive moving average models, Vector autoregressions, small-scale semistructural models at the national and Euro area level, institutional forecasts (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development), and pooling. Our small-scale models are characterized by the joint modelling of fiscal and monetary policy using simple rules, combined with equations for the evolution of all the relevant fundamentals for the Maastricht Treaty and the Stability and Growth Pact. We rank models on the basis of their forecasting performance using the mean square and mean absolute error criteria at different horizons. Overall, simple time-series methods and pooling work well and are able to deliver unbiased forecasts, or slightly upward-biased forecast for the debt-GDP dynamics. This result is mostly due to the short sample available, the robustness of simple methods to structural breaks, and to the difficulty of modelling the joint behaviour of several variables in a period of substantial institutional and economic changes. A bootstrap experiment highlights that, even when the data are generated using the estimated small-scale multi-country model, simple time-series models can produce more accurate forecasts, because of their parsimonious specification. Copyright 2005 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Department of Economics, University of Oxford in its journal Oxford Bulletin of Economics & Statistics.

Volume (Year): 67 (2005)
Issue (Month): s1 (December)
Pages: 755-783

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Handle: RePEc:bla:obuest:v:67:y:2005:i:s1:p:755-783

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References

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  1. Marcellino, Massimiliano & Stock, James H. & Watson, Mark W., 2003. "Macroeconomic forecasting in the Euro area: Country specific versus area-wide information," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 1-18, February.
  2. Lars Jonung & Martin Larch, 2004. "Improving fiscal policy in the EU: the case for independent forecasts," European Economy - Economic Papers 210, Directorate General Economic and Monetary Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
  3. Michael Artis & Massimiliano Marcellino & Tommaso Proietti, 2003. "Dating the Euro Area Business Cycle," Working Papers 237, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  4. Favero, Carlo A, 2002. "How do European Monetary and Fiscal Authorities Behave?," CEPR Discussion Papers 3426, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Richard Clarida & Jordi Galí & Mark Gertler, 2000. "Monetary Policy Rules And Macroeconomic Stability: Evidence And Some Theory," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(1), pages 147-180, February.
  6. Diebold, Francis X & Mariano, Roberto S, 1995. "Comparing Predictive Accuracy," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 13(3), pages 253-63, July.
  7. David Hendry & Michael P. Clements, 2001. "Pooling of Forecasts," Economics Papers 2002-W9, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  8. Michael Artis & Massimiliano Marcellino, 2001. "Fiscal forecasting: The track record of the IMF, OECD and EC," Econometrics Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 4(1), pages S20-S36.
  9. Marcellino, Massimiliano & Stock, James H. & Watson, Mark W., 2006. "A comparison of direct and iterated multistep AR methods for forecasting macroeconomic time series," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 135(1-2), pages 499-526.
  10. Marcellino, Massimiliano, 2002. "Instability and Non-Linearity in the EMU," CEPR Discussion Papers 3312, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Glenn D. Rudebusch & Lars E. O. Svensson, 1998. "Policy Rules for Inflation Targeting," NBER Working Papers 6512, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Anindya Banerjee & Massimiliano Marcellino & Igor Masten, 2005. "Leading Indicators for Euro-area Inflation and GDP Growth," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 67(s1), pages 785-813, December.
  13. Clark, Todd E. & McCracken, Michael W., 2001. "Tests of equal forecast accuracy and encompassing for nested models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 105(1), pages 85-110, November.
  14. Perotti, Roberto, 2002. "Estimating the effects of fiscal policy in OECD countries," Working Paper Series 0168, European Central Bank.
  15. Massimiliano Marcellino, . "Forecast pooling for short time series of macroeconomic variables," Working Papers 212, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  16. Marcellino, Massimiliano, 2002. "Forecasting EMU Macroeconomic Variables," CEPR Discussion Papers 3529, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. Roberto Perotti, 2002. "Estimating the effects of fiscal policy in OECD countries," Economics Working Papers 015, European Network of Economic Policy Research Institutes.
  18. Clements,Michael & Hendry,David, 1998. "Forecasting Economic Time Series," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521634809, April.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Esposito, Piero & Paradiso, Antonio & Rao, B. Bhaskara, 2011. "The dynamics of Spanish public debt and sustainable paths for fiscal consolidation," MPRA Paper 32563, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Todd E. Clark & Michael W. McCracken, 2006. "Forecasting of small macroeconomic VARs in the presence of instabilities," Research Working Paper RWP 06-09, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
  3. Kumar, Saten & Paradiso, Antonio, 2011. "Assessing Sustainability of the Irish Public Debt," MPRA Paper 35295, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Hasko, Harri, 2007. "‘Some unpleasant fiscal arithmetic’: the role of monetary and fiscal policy in public debt dynamics since the 1970s," Research Discussion Papers 28/2007, Bank of Finland.
  5. Todd E. Clark & Michael W. McCracken, 2006. "Averaging forecasts from VARs with uncertain instabilities," Research Working Paper RWP 06-12, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
  6. Esposito, Piero & Paradiso, Antonio & Rao, B. Bhaskara, 2011. "The dynamics of French public debt: Paths for fiscal consolidations," MPRA Paper 32564, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Teresa Leal & Javier J. Pérez & Mika Tujula & Jean-Pierre Vidal, 2008. "Fiscal Forecasting: Lessons from the Literature and Challenges," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 29(3), pages 347-386, 09.
  8. Marcellino, Massimiliano, 2006. "A Simple Benchmark for Forecasts of Growth and Inflation," CEPR Discussion Papers 6012, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Fildes, Robert & Wei, Yingqi & Ismail, Suzilah, 2011. "Evaluating the forecasting performance of econometric models of air passenger traffic flows using multiple error measures," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 902-922, July.
  10. Henzel, Steffen R. & Mayr, Johannes, 2013. "The mechanics of VAR forecast pooling—A DSGE model based Monte Carlo study," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 1-24.
  11. Mayr, Johannes, 2010. "Forecasting Macroeconomic Aggregates," Munich Dissertations in Economics 11140, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  12. Casadio, Paolo & Paradiso, Antonio & Rao, B. Bhaskara, 2011. "The dynamics of Italian public debt: Alternative paths for fiscal consolidation," MPRA Paper 30646, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  13. Nicholas Apergis & Arusha Cooray, 2013. "Forecasting fiscal variables: Only a strong growth plan can sustain the Greek austerity programs-Evidence from simultaneous and structural models," CAMA Working Papers 2013-25, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
  14. Steffen Henzel & Johannes Mayr, 2009. "The Virtues of VAR Forecast Pooling – A DSGE Model Based Monte Carlo Study," Ifo Working Paper Series Ifo Working Paper No. 65, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.

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