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Combining expert forecasts: Can anything beat the simple average?

  • Genre, Véronique
  • Kenny, Geoff
  • Meyler, Aidan
  • Timmermann, Allan

This paper explores the gains from combining expert forecasts from the ECB Survey of Professional Forecasters (SPF). The analysis encompasses combinations based on principal components and trimmed means, performance-based weighting, and least squares estimates of optimal weights, as well as Bayesian shrinkage. For GDP growth and the unemployment rate, only few of the individual forecast combination schemes outperform the simple equally weighted average forecast in a pseudo-out-of-sample analysis, while there is stronger evidence of improvement over this benchmark for the inflation rate. Nonetheless, when we account for the effect of multiple model comparisons through White’s reality check, the results caution against any assumption that the improvements identified would persist in the future.

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

Volume (Year): 29 (2013)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 108-121

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Handle: RePEc:eee:intfor:v:29:y:2013:i:1:p:108-121
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  1. David Hendry & Michael Clements, 2001. "Pooling of Forecasts," Economics Series Working Papers 2002-W09, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  2. Raffaella Giacomini & Halbert White, 2003. "Tests of conditional predictive ability," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 572, Boston College Department of Economics.
  3. Carlos Bowles & Roberta Friz & Veronique Genre & Geoff Kenny & Aidan Meyler & Tuomas Rautanen, 2007. "The ECB survey of professional forecasters (SPF) – A review after eight years’ experience," Occasional Paper Series 59, European Central Bank.
  4. Domenico Giannone & Michèle Lenza & Daphné Momferatu & Luca Onorante, 2010. "Short-term inflation projections: a Bayesian vector autoregressive approach," Working Papers ECARES ECARES 2010-011, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  5. Domenico Giannone & Jérôme Henry & Magdalena Lalik & Michele Modugno, 2012. "An Area-Wide Real-Time Database for the Euro Area," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(4), pages 1000-1013, November.
  6. Timmermann, Allan, 2006. "Forecast Combinations," Handbook of Economic Forecasting, Elsevier.
  7. Carlos Capistrán & Allan Timmermann, 2008. "Forecast Combination With Entry and Exit of Experts," CREATES Research Papers 2008-55, School of Economics and Management, University of Aarhus.
  8. Aiolfi, Marco & Timmermann, Allan, 2006. "Persistence in forecasting performance and conditional combination strategies," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 135(1-2), pages 31-53.
  9. Carlos Bowles & Roberta Friz & Veronique Genre & Geoff Kenny & Aidan Meyler & Tuomas Rautanen, 2010. "An Evaluation of the Growth and Unemployment Forecasts in the ECB Survey of Professional Forecasters," OECD Journal: Journal of Business Cycle Measurement and Analysis, OECD Publishing,Centre for International Research on Economic Tendency Surveys, vol. 2010(2), pages 1-28.
  10. Clemen, Robert T., 1989. "Combining forecasts: A review and annotated bibliography," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 5(4), pages 559-583.
  11. Dean Croushore & Tom Stark, 2003. "A Real-Time Data Set for Macroeconomists: Does the Data Vintage Matter?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(3), pages 605-617, August.
  12. Clemon, Robert T & Winkler, Robert L, 1986. "Combining Economic Forecasts," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 4(1), pages 39-46, January.
  13. Benalal, Nicholai & Diaz del Hoyo, Juan Luis & Landau, Bettina & Roma, Moreno & Skudelny, Frauke, 2004. "To aggregate or not to aggregate? Euro area inflation forecasting," Working Paper Series 0374, European Central Bank.
  14. Diebold, Francis X. & Pauly, Peter, 1990. "The use of prior information in forecast combination," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 6(4), pages 503-508, December.
  15. Halbert White, 2000. "A Reality Check for Data Snooping," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(5), pages 1097-1126, September.
  16. Juan Angel Garcia, 2003. "An introduction to the ECB’s survey of professional forecasters," Occasional Paper Series 08, European Central Bank.
  17. Mark W. Watson & James H. Stock, 2004. "Combination forecasts of output growth in a seven-country data set," Journal of Forecasting, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(6), pages 405-430.
  18. Jeremy Smith & Kenneth F. Wallis, 2009. "A Simple Explanation of the Forecast Combination Puzzle," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 71(3), pages 331-355, 06.
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