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Forecasting and Conditional Projection Using Realistic Prior Distributions

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  • Thomas Doan
  • Robert B. Litterman
  • Christopher A. Sims

Abstract

This paper develops a forecasting procedure based on a Bayesian method for estimating vector autoregressions. The procedure is applied to ten macroeconomic variables and is shown to improve out-of-sample forecasts relative to univariate equations. Although cross-variables responses are damped by the prior, considerable interaction among the variables is shown to be captured by the estimates.We provide unconditional forecasts as of 1982:12 and 1983:3.We also describe how a model such as this can be used to make conditional projections and to analyze policy alternatives. As an example, we analyze a Congressional Budget Office forecast made in 1982:12.While no automatic causal interpretations arise from models like ours, they provide a detailed characterization of the dynamic statistical interdependence of a set of economic variables, which may help inevaluating causal hypotheses, without containing any such hypotheses themselves.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 1202.

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Date of creation: Sep 1983
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Publication status: published as Doan, Thomas, Robert B. Litterman and Christopher A. Sims. "Forecasting and Conditional Projection Using Realistic Prior Distributions," Econometric Reviews, Vol. 3, No. 1 Jan. 1984, pp. 1-100.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1202

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  1. Shiller, Robert J, 1973. "A Distributed Lag Estimator Derived from Smoothness Priors," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 41(4), pages 775-88, July.
  2. Sims, Christopher A, 1980. "Macroeconomics and Reality," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(1), pages 1-48, January.
  3. John Geweke, 1979. "The Temporal and Sectoral Aggregation of Seasonally Adjusted Time Series," NBER Chapters, in: Seasonal Analysis of Economic Time Series, pages 411-432 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Kloek, Tuen & van Dijk, Herman K, 1978. "Bayesian Estimates of Equation System Parameters: An Application of Integration by Monte Carlo," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(1), pages 1-19, January.
  5. Sims, Christopher A, 1983. "Is There a Monetary Business Cycle?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(2), pages 228-33, May.
  6. Chow, Gregory C & Lin, An-loh, 1971. "Best Linear Unbiased Interpolation, Distribution, and Extrapolation of Time Series by Related Series," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 53(4), pages 372-75, November.
  7. Christopher A. Sims, 1982. "Policy Analysis with Econometric Models," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 13(1), pages 107-164.
  8. Robert B. Litterman, 1979. "Techniques of forecasting using vector autoregressions," Working Papers 115, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  9. Leamer, Edward E, 1972. "A Class of Informative Priors and Distributed Lag Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 40(6), pages 1059-81, November.
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