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Real-time inflation forecasting in a changing world

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  • Jan J. J. Groen
  • Richard Paap
  • Francesco Ravazzolo

Abstract

This paper revisits inflation forecasting using reduced-form Phillips curve forecasts, that is, inflation forecasts that use activity and expectations variables. We propose a Phillips-curve-type model that results from averaging across different regression specifications selected from a set of potential predictors. The set of predictors includes lagged values of inflation, a host of real-activity data, term structure data, nominal data, and surveys. In each individual specification, we allow for stochastic breaks in regression parameters, where the breaks are described as occasional shocks of random magnitude. As such, our framework simultaneously addresses structural change and model uncertainty that unavoidably affect Phillips-curve-based predictions. We use this framework to describe personal consumption expenditure (PCE) deflator and GDP deflator inflation rates for the United States in the post-World War II period. Over the full 1960-2008 sample, the framework indicates several structural breaks across different combinations of activity measures. These breaks often coincide with policy regime changes and oil price shocks, among other important events. In contrast to many previous studies, we find less evidence of autonomous variance breaks and inflation gap persistence. Through a real-time out-of-sample forecasting exercise, we show that our model specification generally provides superior one-quarter-ahead and one-year-ahead forecasts for quarterly inflation relative to an extended range of forecasting models that are typically used in the literature.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of New York in its series Staff Reports with number 388.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:388

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Keywords: Inflation (Finance) ; Forecasting ; Phillips curve ; Regression analysis;

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  1. Estrella, Arturo & Hardouvelis, Gikas A, 1991. " The Term Structure as a Predictor of Real Economic Activity," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 46(2), pages 555-76, June.
  2. Luca Benati, 2003. "Evolving Post-World War II U.K. Economic Performance," Computing in Economics and Finance 2003 171, Society for Computational Economics.
  3. Robert J. Gordon, 1997. "The Time-Varying NAIRU and Its Implications for Economic Policy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(1), pages 11-32, Winter.
  4. Christopher A. Sims & Tao Zha, 2006. "Were There Regime Switches in U.S. Monetary Policy?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 54-81, March.
  5. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Charles L. Evans, 2005. "Nominal Rigidities and the Dynamic Effects of a Shock to Monetary Policy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(1), pages 1-45, February.
  6. Sbordone, Argia M., 2002. "Prices and unit labor costs: a new test of price stickiness," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 265-292, March.
  7. Richard Clarida & Jordi Gali & Mark Gertler, 1998. "Monetary Policy Rules and Macroeconomic Stability: Evidence and Some Theory," NBER Working Papers 6442, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Francis X. Diebold & Glenn D. Rudebusch & S. Boragan Aruoba, 2004. "The Macroeconomy and the Yield Curve: A Dynamic Latent Factor Approach," NBER Working Papers 10616, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Marianne Sensier & Dick van Dijk, 2004. "Testing for Volatility Changes in U.S. Macroeconomic Time Series," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(3), pages 833-839, August.
  10. 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.
  11. M. Hashem Pesaran & Davide Pettenuzzo & Allan Timmermann, 2006. "Forecasting Time Series Subject to Multiple Structural Breaks," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(4), pages 1057-1084.
  12. De Mol, Christine & Giannone, Domenico & Reichlin, Lucrezia, 2008. "Forecasting using a large number of predictors: Is Bayesian shrinkage a valid alternative to principal components?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 146(2), pages 318-328, October.
  13. Andrew Ang & Monika Piazzesi & Min Wei, 2003. "What does the yield curve tell us about GDP growth?," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Mar.
  14. Gary Koop & Simon M. Potter, 2007. "Estimation and Forecasting in Models with Multiple Breaks," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(3), pages 763-789.
  15. Sangjoon Kim & Neil Shephard, 1994. "Stochastic volatility: likelihood inference and comparison with ARCH models," Economics Papers 3., Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  16. Fama, Eugene F & Bliss, Robert R, 1987. "The Information in Long-Maturity Forward Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 680-92, September.
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