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Forecasting the World Economy in the Short Term


  • Audrone Jakaitiene
  • Stephane Dees


Forecasting the world economy is a difficult task given the complex interrelationships within and across countries. This paper proposes a number of approaches to forecast short-term changes in selected world economic variables and aims, first, at ranking various forecasting methods in terms of forecast accuracy and, second, at checking whether methods forecasting di- rectly aggregate variables (direct approaches)out-perform methods based on the aggregation of country- specific forecasts (bottom-up approaches). Overall, all methods perform better than a simple benchmark for short horizons (up to three months ahead). Among the forecasting approaches used, factor models appear to perform the best. Moreover, direct approaches out-perform bottom-up ones for real variables, but not for prices. Finally, when country-specific forecasts are adjusted to match direct forecasts at the aggregate levels (top-down approaches), the forecast accuracy is neither improved nor deteriorated (i.e. top-down and bottom-up approaches are broadly equivalent in terms of country-specific forecast accuracy). JEL Classification: C53, C32, E37, F17
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Suggested Citation

  • Audrone Jakaitiene & Stephane Dees, 2012. "Forecasting the World Economy in the Short Term," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(3), pages 331-350, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:worlde:v:35:y:2012:i:3:p:331-350 DOI: j.1467-9701.2011.01433.x

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Matthias Burgert & Stephane Dees, 2009. "Forecasting World Trade: Direct Versus “Bottom-Up” Approaches," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 20(3), pages 385-402, July.
    2. K. Barhoumi & S. Benk & R. Cristadoro & A. Den Reijer & A. Jakaitiene & P. Jelonek & A. Rua & K. Ruth & C. Van Nieuwenhuyze & G. Rünstler, 2008. "Short-term forecasting of GDP using large monthly datasets – A pseudo real-time forecast evaluation exercise," Working Paper Research 133, National Bank of Belgium.
    3. Canova, Fabio & Ciccarelli, Matteo & Ortega, Eva, 2007. "Similarities and convergence in G-7 cycles," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(3), pages 850-878, April.
    4. Giannone, Domenico & Reichlin, Lucrezia & Small, David, 2008. "Nowcasting: The real-time informational content of macroeconomic data," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 665-676, May.
    5. M. Ayhan Kose & Christopher Otrok & Charles H. Whiteman, 2003. "International Business Cycles: World, Region, and Country-Specific Factors," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1216-1239, September.
    6. Matteo Ciccarelli & Benoît Mojon, 2010. "Global Inflation," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(3), pages 524-535, August.
    7. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 2007. "Why Has U.S. Inflation Become Harder to Forecast?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 39(s1), pages 3-33, February.
    8. Banbura, Marta & Rünstler, Gerhard, 2011. "A look into the factor model black box: Publication lags and the role of hard and soft data in forecasting GDP," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 333-346, April.
    9. Pesaran, M. Hashem & Schuermann, Til & Smith, L. Vanessa, 2009. "Forecasting economic and financial variables with global VARs," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 25(4), pages 642-675, October.
    10. Doz, Catherine & Giannone, Domenico & Reichlin, Lucrezia, 2011. "A two-step estimator for large approximate dynamic factor models based on Kalman filtering," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 164(1), pages 188-205, September.
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    13. Gerard van Welzenis & Wim Suyker, 2005. "Explanatory note on the CPB world trade series," CPB Memorandum 116, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
    14. Moriguchi, C, 1973. "Forecasting and Simulation Analysis of the World Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 63(2), pages 402-409, May.
    15. K. Barhoumi & S. Benk & R. Cristadoro & A. Den Reijer & A. Jakaitiene & P. Jelonek & A. Rua & K. Ruth & C. Van Nieuwenhuyze & G. Rünstler, 2008. "Short-term forecasting of GDP using large monthly datasets – A pseudo real-time forecast evaluation exercise," Working Paper Research 133, National Bank of Belgium.
    16. Boivin, Jean & Ng, Serena, 2006. "Are more data always better for factor analysis?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 132(1), pages 169-194, May.
    17. McKibbin, W.J., 1999. "Forecasting the World Economy Using Dynamic Intertemporal General Equilibrium Multi-Country Models," Papers 145, Brookings Institution - Working Papers.
    18. Domenico Giannone & Lucrezia Reichlin & David H. Small, 2005. "Nowcasting GDP and inflation: the real-time informational content of macroeconomic data releases," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2005-42, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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    Cited by:

    1. Drechsel, Katja & Giesen, Sebastian & Lindner, Axel, 2014. "Outperforming IMF Forecasts by the Use of Leading Indicators," Annual Conference 2014 (Hamburg): Evidence-based Economic Policy 100393, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    2. Lombardi, Marco J. & Godbout, Claudia, 2012. "Short-term forecasting of the Japanese economy using factor models," Working Paper Series 1428, European Central Bank.
    3. Antonello D’Agostino & Michele Modugno & Chiara Osbat, 2017. "A Global Trade Model for the Euro Area," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 13(4), pages 1-34, December.
    4. Schnatz, Bernd & D'Agostino, Antonello, 2012. "Survey-based nowcasting of US growth: a real-time forecast comparison over more than 40 years," Working Paper Series 1455, European Central Bank.
    5. Emilian Dobrescu, 2014. "Attempting to Quantify the Accuracy of Complex Macroeconomic Forecasts," Journal for Economic Forecasting, Institute for Economic Forecasting, vol. 0(4), pages 5-21, December.
    6. repec:ecb:ecbwps:20111428 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Golinelli, Roberto & Parigi, Giuseppe, 2014. "Tracking world trade and GDP in real time," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 847-862.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C53 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Forecasting and Prediction Models; Simulation Methods
    • C32 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes; State Space Models
    • E37 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications
    • F17 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Forecasting and Simulation


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