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Forecasting economic time series using targeted predictors

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Author Info

  • Bai, Jushan
  • Ng, Serena

Abstract

This paper studies two refinements to the method of factor forecasting. First, we consider the method of quadratic principal components that allows the link function between the predictors and the factors to be non-linear. Second, the factors used in the forecasting equation are estimated in a way to take into account that the goal is to forecast a specific series. This is accomplished by applying the method of principal components to 'targeted predictors' selected using hard and soft thresholding rules. Our three main findings can be summarized as follows. First, we find improvements at all forecast horizons over the current diffusion index forecasts by estimating the factors using fewer but informative predictors. Allowing for non-linearity often leads to additional gains. Second, forecasting the volatile one month ahead inflation warrants a high degree of targeting to screen out the noisy predictors. A handful of variables, notably relating to housing starts and interest rates, are found to have systematic predictive power for inflation at all horizons. Third, the targeted predictors selected by both soft and hard thresholding changes with the forecast horizon and the sample period. Holding the set of predictors fixed as is the current practice of factor forecasting is unnecessarily restrictive.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Econometrics.

Volume (Year): 146 (2008)
Issue (Month): 2 (October)
Pages: 304-317

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Handle: RePEc:eee:econom:v:146:y:2008:i:2:p:304-317

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jeconom

Related research

Keywords: Diffusion index Factor models LASSO LARS Hard thresholding;

References

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  1. Ludvigson, Sydney C. & Ng, Serena, 2007. "The empirical risk-return relation: A factor analysis approach," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 171-222, January.
  2. Stock, James H. & Watson, Mark W., 2006. "Forecasting with Many Predictors," Handbook of Economic Forecasting, Elsevier.
  3. Boivin, Jean & Ng, Serena, 2006. "Are more data always better for factor analysis?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 132(1), pages 169-194, May.
  4. Forni, Mario & Hallin, Marc & Lippi, Marco & Reichlin, Lucrezia, 2005. "The Generalized Dynamic Factor Model: One-Sided Estimation and Forecasting," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 100, pages 830-840, September.
  5. Beveridge, Stephen & Nelson, Charles R., 1981. "A new approach to decomposition of economic time series into permanent and transitory components with particular attention to measurement of the `business cycle'," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 151-174.
  6. De Mol, Christine & Giannone, Domenico & Reichlin, Lucrezia, 2006. "Forecasting using a large number of predictors: Is Bayesian regression a valid alternative to principal components?," Working Paper Series 0700, European Central Bank.
  7. Fan J. & Li R., 2001. "Variable Selection via Nonconcave Penalized Likelihood and its Oracle Properties," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 96, pages 1348-1360, December.
  8. Hui Zou & Trevor Hastie, 2005. "Addendum: Regularization and variable selection via the elastic net," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series B, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 67(5), pages 768-768.
  9. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 1999. "Forecasting Inflation," NBER Working Papers 7023, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Bair, Eric & Hastie, Trevor & Paul, Debashis & Tibshirani, Robert, 2006. "Prediction by Supervised Principal Components," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 101, pages 119-137, March.
  11. Hui Zou & Trevor Hastie, 2005. "Regularization and variable selection via the elastic net," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series B, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 67(2), pages 301-320.
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