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Optimal Forecast Combination Under General Loss Functions and Forecast Error Distributions

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  • Elliott, Graham
  • Timmermann, Allan

Abstract

Existing results on the properties and performance of forecast combinations have been derived in the context of mean squared error loss. Under this loss function empirical studies have generally found that estimates of optimal forecast combination weights lead to higher losses than equally-weighted combined forecasts which in turn outperform the best individual predictions. We show that this and other results can be overturned when asymmetries are introduced in the loss function and the forecast error distribution is skewed. We characterize the optimal combination weights for the most commonly used alternatives to mean squared error loss and demonstrate how the degree of asymmetry in the loss function and skews in the underlying forecast error distribution can significantly change the optimal combination weights. We also propose estimation methods and investigate their small sample properties in simulations and in an inflation forecasting exercise.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, UC San Diego in its series University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series with number qt15r9t2q2.

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Date of creation: 29 Apr 2002
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Handle: RePEc:cdl:ucsdec:qt15r9t2q2

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Keywords: Forecast Error Distributions;

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References

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  1. Pérez Quirós, Gabriel & Timmermann, Allan, 2001. "Business cycle asymmetries in stock returns: evidence from higher order moments and conditional densities," Working Paper Series 0058, European Central Bank.
  2. Stock, James H. & Watson, Mark W., 1999. "Forecasting inflation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 293-335, October.
  3. Christoffersen, Peter F. & Diebold, Francis X., 1997. "Optimal Prediction Under Asymmetric Loss," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(06), pages 808-817, December.
  4. Diebold, Francis X & Mariano, Roberto S, 2002. "Comparing Predictive Accuracy," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(1), pages 134-44, January.
  5. Min, C.K. & Zellner, A., 1992. ""Bayesian and Non-Bayesian Methods for Combining Models and Forecasts with Applications to Forecasting International Growth Rates"," Papers 90-92-23, California Irvine - School of Social Sciences.
  6. Koenker, Roger W & Bassett, Gilbert, Jr, 1978. "Regression Quantiles," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(1), pages 33-50, January.
  7. Kenneth D. West & Hali J. Edison & Dongchul Cho, 1992. "A Utility Based Comparison of Some Models of Exchange Rate Volatility," NBER Technical Working Papers 0128, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Weiss, Andrew A, 1996. "Estimating Time Series Models Using the Relevant Cost Function," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(5), pages 539-60, Sept.-Oct.
  9. Newey, Whitney K & Powell, James L, 1987. "Asymmetric Least Squares Estimation and Testing," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(4), pages 819-47, July.
  10. Massimiliano Marcellino, . "Forecast pooling for short time series of macroeconomic variables," Working Papers 212, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  11. A. Robert Nobay & David A. Peel, 1998. "Optimal Monetary Policy in a Model of Asymmetric Central Bank Preferences," FMG Discussion Papers dp306, Financial Markets Group.
  12. Yeung Lewis Chan & James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 1999. "A dynamic factor model framework for forecast combination," Spanish Economic Review, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 91-121.
  13. Diebold, Francis X & Gunther, Todd A & Tay, Anthony S, 1998. "Evaluating Density Forecasts with Applications to Financial Risk Management," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(4), pages 863-83, November.
  14. Francis X. Diebold & Jose A. Lopez, 1996. "Forecast Evaluation and Combination," NBER Technical Working Papers 0192, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. David Laster & Paul Bennett & In Sun Geoum, 1999. "Rational Bias In Macroeconomic Forecasts," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(1), pages 293-318, February.
  16. Diebold, Francis X, 1988. "Serial Correlation and the Combination of Forecasts," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 6(1), pages 105-11, January.
  17. Anthony Tay & Kenneth F. Wallis, 2000. "Density Forecasting: A Survey," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0370, Econometric Society.
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