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Forecast Pooling for Short Time Series of Macroeconomic Variables

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  • Marcellino, Massimiliano

Abstract

It is rather common to have several competing forecasts for the same variable, and many methods have been suggested to pick up the best, on the basis of their past forecasting performance. As an alternative, the forecasts can be combined to obtain a pooled forecast, and several options are available to select what forecasts should be pooled, and how to determine their relative weights. In this Paper we compare the relative performance of alternative pooling methods, using a very large dataset of about 500 macroeconomic variables for the countries in the European Monetary Union. In this case the forecasting exercise is further complicated by the short time span available, due to the need of collecting a homogeneous dataset. For each variable in the dataset, we consider 58 forecasts produced by a range of linear, time-varying and non-linear models, plus 16 pooled forecasts. Our results indicate that on average combination methods work well. Yet, a more disaggregate analysis reveals that single non-linear models can outperform combination forecasts for several series, even though they perform rather badly for other series so that on average their performance is not as good as that of pooled forecasts. Similar results are obtained for a subset of unstable series, the pooled forecasts behave only slightly better, and for three key macroeconomic variables, namely, industrial production, unemployment and inflation.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 3313.

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Date of creation: Apr 2002
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3313

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Keywords: european monetary union; forecast pooling; non-linear models; time-varying models;

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References

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  1. David Hendry & Michael P. Clements, 2001. "Pooling of Forecasts," Economics Papers 2002-W9, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  2. Francis X. Diebold & Lutz Kilian, 1999. "Unit Root Tests Are Useful for Selecting Forecasting Models," NBER Working Papers 6928, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 1998. "A Comparison of Linear and Nonlinear Univariate Models for Forecasting Macroeconomic Time Series," NBER Working Papers 6607, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Elliott, Graham & Rothenberg, Thomas J & Stock, James H, 1996. "Efficient Tests for an Autoregressive Unit Root," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(4), pages 813-36, July.
  5. Clements, Michael P. & Hendry, David F., 1996. "Multi-Step Estimation for Forecasting," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 447, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  6. Marcellino, Massimiliano, 2002. "Instability and Non-Linearity in the EMU," CEPR Discussion Papers 3312, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Norman R. Swanson & Halbert White, 1997. "A Model Selection Approach To Real-Time Macroeconomic Forecasting Using Linear Models And Artificial Neural Networks," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 79(4), pages 540-550, November.
  8. Massimiliano Marcellino & James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, . "Macroeconomic Forecasting in the Euro Area: Country Specific versus Area-Wide Information," Working Papers 201, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  9. Stock, James H & Watson, Mark W, 1996. "Evidence on Structural Instability in Macroeconomic Time Series Relations," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 14(1), pages 11-30, January.
  10. Stock, James H, 1996. "VAR, Error Correction and Pretest Forecasts at Long Horizons," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 58(4), pages 685-701, November.
  11. Meese, Richard & Geweke, John, 1984. "A Comparison of Autoregressive Univariate Forecasting Procedures for Macroeconomic Time Series," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 2(3), pages 191-200, July.
  12. Donald W.K. Andrews & Werner Ploberger, 1992. "Optimal Tests When a Nuisance Parameter Is Present Only Under the Alternative," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1015, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. Timmermann, Allan, 2006. "Forecast Combinations," Handbook of Economic Forecasting, Elsevier.
  3. Marco Aiolfi & Carlo Ambrogio Favero, . "Model Uncertainty, Thick Modelling and the predictability of Stock Returns," Working Papers 221, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  4. Favero, Carlo A & Marcellino, Massimiliano, 2005. "Modelling and Forecasting Fiscal Variables for the euro Area," CEPR Discussion Papers 5294, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Marcellino, Massimiliano, 2002. "Forecasting EMU Macroeconomic Variables," CEPR Discussion Papers 3529, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Elliott, Graham & Timmermann, Allan, 2004. "Optimal forecast combinations under general loss functions and forecast error distributions," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 122(1), pages 47-79, September.
  7. Costas Milas & Phil Rothman, 2005. "Multivariate STAR Unemployment Rate Forecasts," Econometrics 0502010, EconWPA.

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