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MIDAS vs. mixed-frequency VAR: Nowcasting GDP in the euro area

  • Kuzin, Vladimir
  • Marcellino, Massimiliano
  • Schumacher, Christian

This paper compares the mixed-data sampling (MIDAS) and mixed-frequency VAR (MF-VAR) approaches to model specification in the presence of mixed-frequency data, e.g. monthly and quarterly series. MIDAS leads to parsimonious models which are based on exponential lag polynomials for the coefficients, whereas MF-VAR does not restrict the dynamics and can therefore suffer from the curse of dimensionality. However, if the restrictions imposed by MIDAS are too stringent, the MF-VAR can perform better. Hence, it is difficult to rank MIDAS and MF-VAR a priori, and their relative rankings are better evaluated empirically. In this paper, we compare their performances in a case which is relevant for policy making, namely nowcasting and forecasting quarterly GDP growth in the euro area on a monthly basis, using a set of about 20 monthly indicators. It turns out that the two approaches are more complements than substitutes, since MIDAS tends to perform better for horizons up to four to five months, whereas MF-VAR performs better for longer horizons, up to nine months.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal International Journal of Forecasting.

Volume (Year): 27 (2011)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
Pages: 529-542

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Handle: RePEc:eee:intfor:v:27:y::i:2:p:529-542
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  1. Eric Ghysels & Pedro Santa-Clara & Rossen Valkanov, 2004. "The MIDAS Touch: Mixed Data Sampling Regression Models," CIRANO Working Papers 2004s-20, CIRANO.
  2. Andreou, Elena & Ghysels, Eric & Kourtellos, Andros, 2010. "Regression models with mixed sampling frequencies," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 158(2), pages 246-261, October.
  3. Kuzin, Vladimir & Marcellino, Massimiliano & Schumacher, Christian, 2009. "Pooling versus model selection for nowcasting with many predictors: An application to German GDP," CEPR Discussion Papers 7197, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  7. Eric Ghysels & Andros Kourtellos & Elena Andreou, 2012. "Should macroeconomic forecasters use daily financial data and how?," 2012 Meeting Papers 1196, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  8. Timmermann, Allan, 2006. "Forecast Combinations," Handbook of Economic Forecasting, Elsevier.
  9. Anindya Banerjee & Massimiliano Marcellino & Igor Masten, 2003. "Leading Indicators for Euro-area Inflation and GDP Growth," Working Papers 235, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  10. Michael P. Clements & Ana Beatriz Galvao, 2009. "Forecasting US output growth using leading indicators: an appraisal using MIDAS models," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(7), pages 1187-1206.
  11. Ghysels, Eric & Santa-Clara, Pedro & Valkanov, Rossen, 2006. "Predicting volatility: getting the most out of return data sampled at different frequencies," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 131(1-2), pages 59-95.
  12. Ghysels, Eric & Santa-Clara, Pedro & Valkanov, Rossen, 2004. "The MIDAS Touch: Mixed Data Sampling Regression Models," University of California at Los Angeles, Anderson Graduate School of Management qt9mf223rs, Anderson Graduate School of Management, UCLA.
  13. Ghysels, Eric & Santa-Clara, Pedro & Valkanov, Rossen, 2005. "There is a risk-return trade-off after all," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 509-548, June.
  14. Schumacher, Christian & Breitung, Jörg, 2008. "Real-time forecasting of German GDP based on a large factor model with monthly and quarterly data," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 386-398.
  15. 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.
  16. Eric Ghysels & Arthur Sinko & Rossen Valkanov, 2007. "MIDAS Regressions: Further Results and New Directions," Econometric Reviews, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 26(1), pages 53-90.
  17. Domenico Giannone & Lucrezia Reichlin & David 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.).
  18. Marcellino, Massimiliano & Schumacher, Christian, 2007. "Factor-MIDAS for now- and forecasting with ragged-edge data: a model comparison for German GDP," Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies 2007,34, Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre.
  19. Bernanke, Ben S. & Boivin, Jean, 2003. "Monetary policy in a data-rich environment," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 525-546, April.
  20. Domenico Giannone & Lucrezia Reichlin & David Small, 2008. "Nowcasting: the real time informational content of macroeconomic data releases," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/6409, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  21. Stefan Mittnik & Peter A. Zadrozny, 2004. "Forecasting Quarterly German GDP at Monthly Intervals Using Monthly IFO Business Conditions Data," CESifo Working Paper Series 1203, CESifo Group Munich.
  22. Wohlrabe, Klaus, 2009. "Forecasting with mixed-frequency time series models," Munich Dissertations in Economics 9681, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  23. Marcellino, Massimiliano & Musso, Alberto, 2010. "Real time estimates of the euro area output gap: reliability and forecasting performance," Working Paper Series 1157, European Central Bank.
  24. Ghysels, Eric & Wright, Jonathan H., 2009. "Forecasting Professional Forecasters," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 27(4), pages 504-516.
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