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A Bayesian evaluation of alternative models of trend inflation

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  • Todd E. Clark
  • Taeyoung Doh

Abstract

With the concept of trend inflation now widely understood as to be important as a measure of the public's perception of the inflation goal of the central bank and important to the accuracy of longer-term inflation forecasts, this paper uses Bayesian methods to assess alternative models of trend inflation. Reflecting models common in reduced-form inflation modeling and forecasting, we specify a range of models of inflation, including: AR with constant trend; AR with trend equal to last period's inflation rate; local level model; AR with random walk trend; AR with trend equal to the long-run expectation from the Survey of Professional Forecasters; and AR with time-varying parameters. We consider versions of the models with constant shock variances and with stochastic volatility. We first use Bayesian metrics to compare the fits of the alternative models. We then use Bayesian methods of model averaging to account for uncertainty surrounding the model of trend inflation, to obtain an alternative estimate of trend inflation in the U.S. and to generate medium-term, model-average forecasts of inflation. Our analysis yields two broad results. First, in model fit and density forecast accuracy, models with stochastic volatility consistently dominate those with constant volatility. Second, for the specification of trend inflation, it is difficult to say that one model of trend inflation is the best. Among alternative models of the trend in core PCE inflation, the local level specification of Stock and Watson (2007) and the survey-based trend specification are about equally good. Among competing models of trend GDP inflation, several trend specifications seem to be about equally good.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland in its series Working Paper with number 1134.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedcwp:1134

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Keywords: Bayesian statistical decision theory ; Inflation (Finance) - Mathematical models ; Forecasting;

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References

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  1. Bauwens, Luc & Koop, Gary & Korobilis, Dimitris & Rombouts, Jeroen V.K., 2011. "A Comparison Of Forecasting Procedures For Macroeconomic Series: The Contribution Of Structural Break Models," SIRE Discussion Papers 2011-33, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
  2. Peter N. Ireland, 2005. "Changes in the Federal Reserve's inflation target: causes and consequences," Working Papers 05-13, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  3. Todd E. Clark & Michael W. McCracken, 2010. "Testing for unconditional predictive ability," Working Papers 2010-031, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  4. Harvey, David & Leybourne, Stephen & Newbold, Paul, 1997. "Testing the equality of prediction mean squared errors," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 281-291, June.
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  14. Todd E. Clark & Michael W. McCracken, 2009. "Nested forecast model comparisons: a new approach to testing equal accuracy," Research Working Paper RWP 09-11, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
  15. Amisano, Gianni & Giacomini, Raffaella, 2007. "Comparing Density Forecasts via Weighted Likelihood Ratio Tests," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 25, pages 177-190, April.
  16. John Geweke, 1998. "Using simulation methods for Bayesian econometric models: inference, development, and communication," Staff Report 249, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  17. Todd Clark & Michael W. McCracken, 2011. "Advances in forecast evaluation," Working Paper 1120, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  18. 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.
  19. Watson, Mark W., 1986. "Univariate detrending methods with stochastic trends," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 49-75, July.
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Cited by:
  1. Joshua C C Chan, 2012. "Moving Average Stochastic Volatility Models with Application to Inflation Forecast," ANU Working Papers in Economics and Econometrics 2012-591, Australian National University, College of Business and Economics, School of Economics.
  2. Gefang, Deborah & Koop, Gary & Potter, Simon M., 2011. "The Dynamics of UK and US Inflation Expectations," SIRE Discussion Papers 2011-47, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
  3. Chan, Joshua & Koop, Gary & Potter, Simon, 2012. "A New Model Of Trend Inflation," SIRE Discussion Papers 2012-12, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
  4. Taeyoung Doh, 2011. "Is unemployment helpful in understanding inflation?," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Q IV, pages 5-26.

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