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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
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/ijforecast

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  1. 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.
  2. Raffaella Giacomini & Halbert White, 2006. "Tests of Conditional Predictive Ability," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(6), pages 1545-1578, November.
  3. Giannone, Domenico & Henry, Jérôme & Lalik, Magdalena & Modugno, Michele, 2010. "An Area-Wide Real-Time Database for the Euro Area," CEPR Discussion Papers 7673, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Aiolfi, Marco & Timmermann, Allan, 2006. "Persistence in forecasting performance and conditional combination strategies," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 135(1-2), pages 31-53.
  5. 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.
  6. Dean Croushore & Tom Stark, 1999. "A real-time data set for marcoeconomists: does the data vintage matter?," Working Papers 99-21, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  7. 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.
  8. Marco Aiolfi & Carlos Capistrán & Allan Timmermann, 2010. "Forecast Combinations," Working Papers 2010-04, Banco de México.
  9. Clemen, Robert T., 1989. "Combining forecasts: A review and annotated bibliography," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 5(4), pages 559-583.
  10. Giannone, Domenico & Lenza, Michele & Momferatou, Daphne & Onorante, Luca, 2014. "Short-term inflation projections: A Bayesian vector autoregressive approach," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 635-644.
  11. Francis X. Diebold & Peter Pauly, 1987. "The use of prior information in forecast combination," Special Studies Papers 218, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. David Hendry & Michael Clements, 2001. "Pooling of Forecasts," Economics Series Working Papers 2002-W09, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  15. 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.
  16. Halbert White, 2000. "A Reality Check for Data Snooping," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(5), pages 1097-1126, September.
  17. 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.
  18. Juan Angel Garcia, 2003. "An introduction to the ECB’s survey of professional forecasters," Occasional Paper Series 08, European Central Bank.
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