Median unbiased forecasts for highly persistent autoregressive processes
This paper considers the construction of median unbiased forecasts for near-integrated AR( p ) processes. It is well known that the OLS estimation in AR models produces downward biased parameter estimates. When the largest AR root is near unity, the multi-step forecast iteration leads to severe underprediction of the future value of the conditional mean. The paper derives the appropriately scaled limiting representation of the deviation of the forecast value from the true conditional mean. The asymmetry of this asymptotic representation suggests that the median unbiasedness would be a better criterion in evaluating the properties of the forecast point estimates. Furthermore, the dependence of the limiting distribution on the local-to-unity parameter precludes the use of the standard asymptotic and bootstrap methods for correcting for the bias. For this purpose, we develop a computationally convenient method that generates bootstrap samples backward in time (conditional on the last p observations) and approximates the median function of the predictive distribution on a grid of strategically chosen points around the OLS forecast. Inverting this median function yields median unbiased forecasts. The numerical results demonstrate the impartiality property of the grid MU forecasts and their good accuracy in comparison to several widely used forecasting techniques.
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