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Forecasting in Large Macroeconomic Panels using Bayesian Model Averaging

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  • Gary Koop

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  • Simon Potter

Abstract

This paper considers the problem of forecasting in large macroeconomic panels using Bayesian model averaging. Theoretical justifications for averaging across models, as opposed to selecting a single model, are given. Practical methods for implementing Bayesian model averaging with factor models are described. These methods involve algorithms which simulate from the space defined by all possible models. We discuss how these simulation algorithms can also be used to select the model with the highest marginal likelihood (or highest value of an information criterion) in an efficient manner. We apply these methods to the problem of forecasting GDP and inflation using quarterly U.S. data on 162 time series. For both GDP and inflation, we find that the models which contain factors do out-forecast an AR(p), but only by a relatively small amount and only at short horizons. We attribute these findings to the presence of structural instability and the fact that lags of dependent variable seem to contain most of the information relevant for forecasting. Relative to the small forecasting gains provided by including factors, the gains provided by using Bayesian model averaging over forecasting methods based on a single model are appreciable.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Leicester in its series Discussion Papers in Economics with number 04/16.

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Date of creation: Jan 2003
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Handle: RePEc:lec:leecon:04/16

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  1. Raffaella Giacomini & Halbert White, 2006. "Tests of Conditional Predictive Ability," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(6), pages 1545-1578, November.
  2. Carmen Fernandez & E Ley & Mark F J Steel, 2004. "Benchmark priors for Bayesian models averaging," ESE Discussion Papers 66, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
  3. Jean Boivin & Serena Ng, 2003. "Are More Data Always Better for Factor Analysis?," NBER Working Papers 9829, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Ben S. Bernanke & Jean Boivin & Piotr Eliasz, 2004. "Measuring the Effects of Monetary Policy: A Factor-Augmented Vector Autoregressive (FAVAR) Approach," NBER Working Papers 10220, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Stock, James H & Watson, Mark W, 2002. "Macroeconomic Forecasting Using Diffusion Indexes," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(2), pages 147-62, April.
  6. Min, Chung-ki & Zellner, Arnold, 1993. "Bayesian and non-Bayesian methods for combining models and forecasts with applications to forecasting international growth rates," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 56(1-2), pages 89-118, March.
  7. Dale J. Poirier, 1995. "Intermediate Statistics and Econometrics: A Comparative Approach," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262161494, December.
  8. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 2002. "Has the Business Cycle Changed and Why?," NBER Working Papers 9127, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Jushan Bai & Serena Ng, 2000. "Determining the Number of Factors in Approximate Factor Models," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1504, Econometric Society.
  10. Forni, Mario & Hallin, Marc & Lippi, Marco & Reichlin, Lucrezia, 1999. "The Generalized Dynamic Factor Model: Identification and Estimation," CEPR Discussion Papers 2338, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Thomas Knox & James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 2000. "Empirical Bayes Forecasts of One Time Series Using Many Predictors," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1421, Econometric Society.
  12. Giannone, Domenico & Reichlin, Lucrezia & Sala, Luca, 2002. "Tracking Greenspan: Systematic and Unsystematic Monetary Policy Revisited," CEPR Discussion Papers 3550, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Carmen Fernandez & Eduardo Ley & Mark Steel, 2001. "Model uncertainty in cross-country growth regressions," Econometrics 0110002, EconWPA.
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