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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. Todd E. Clark & Michael McCracken, 1999. "Tests of Equal Forecast Accuracy and Encompassing for Nested Models," Computing in Economics and Finance 1999 1241, Society for Computational Economics.
  2. Marcellino, Massimiliano, 2002. "Forecasting EMU Macroeconomic Variables," CEPR Discussion Papers 3529, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Massimiliano Marcellino, . "Forecast pooling for short time series of macroeconomic variables," Working Papers 212, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  4. Anindya Banerjee & Massimiliano Marcellino & Igor Masten, 2003. "Leading Indicators for Euro-area Inflation and GDP Growth," Working Papers 235, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  5. Francis X. Diebold & Robert S. Mariano, 1994. "Comparing Predictive Accuracy," NBER Technical Working Papers 0169, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Glenn D. Rudebusch & Lars E. O. Svensson, 1998. "Policy Rules for Inflation Targeting," NBER Working Papers 6512, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Carlo A. Favero, . "How do European monetary and fiscal authorities behave?," Working Papers 214, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  8. Roberto Perotti, 2002. "Estimating the effects of fiscal policy in OECD countries," Economics Working Papers 015, European Network of Economic Policy Research Institutes.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Massimiliano Marcellino, . "Instability and non-linearity in the EMU," Working Papers 211, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  12. Artis, Michael J & Marcellino, Massimiliano, 1999. "Fiscal Forecasting: the Track Record of the IMF, OECD, and EC," CEPR Discussion Papers 2206, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Perotti, Roberto, 2002. "Estimating the effects of fiscal policy in OECD countries," Working Paper Series 0168, European Central Bank.
  14. Clements,Michael & Hendry,David, 1998. "Forecasting Economic Time Series," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521634809, October.
  15. 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.
  16. David Hendry & Michael Clements, 2001. "Pooling of Forecasts," Economics Series Working Papers 2002-W09, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  17. 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.
  18. Lars Jonung & Martin Larch, 2006. "Improving fiscal policy in the EU: the case for independent forecasts," Economic Policy, CEPR & CES & MSH, vol. 21(47), pages 491-534, 07.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Leal, Teresa & Pérez, Javier J. & Tujula, Mika & Vidal, Jean-Pierre, 2007. "Fiscal forecasting: lessons from the literature and challenges," Working Paper Series 0843, European Central Bank.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  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. "Forecasting of small macroeconomic VARs in the presence of instabilities," Research Working Paper RWP 06-09, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
  6. 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.
  7. Marcellino, Massimiliano, 2006. "A Simple Benchmark for Forecasts of Growth and Inflation," CEPR Discussion Papers 6012, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. 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.
  9. Todd E. Clark & Michael W. McCracken, 2008. "Averaging forecasts from VARs with uncertain instabilities," Working Papers 2008-030, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  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. Kumar, Saten & Paradiso, Antonio, 2011. "Assessing Sustainability of the Irish Public Debt," MPRA Paper 35295, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  12. 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.
  13. Mayr, Johannes, 2010. "Forecasting Macroeconomic Aggregates," Munich Dissertations in Economics 11140, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  14. 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.

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