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Superior Forecasts of the U.S. Unemployment Rate Using a Nonparametric Method

  • Amos Golan

    (American University, Berkeley)

  • Jeffrey M. Perloff

    (University of California, Berkeley)

We use a nonlinear, nonparametric method to forecast unemployment rates. This method is an extension of the nearest-neighbor method but uses a higher-dimensional simplex approach. We compare these forecasts with several linear and nonlinear parametric methods based on the work of Montgomery et al. (1998) and Carruth et al. (1998). Our main result is that, due to the nonlinearity in the data-generating process, the nonparametric method outperforms many other well-known models, even when these models use more information. This result holds for forecasts based on quarterly and on monthly data. © 2004 President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Review of Economics and Statistics.

Volume (Year): 86 (2004)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 433-438

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:86:y:2004:i:1:p:433-438
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  1. Mulhern, Francis J. & Caprara, Robert J., 1994. "A nearest neighbor model for forecasting market response," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 191-207, September.
  2. Fernandez-Rodriguez, Fernando & Sosvilla-Rivero, Simon, 1998. "Testing nonlinear forecastability in time series: Theory and evidence from the EMS," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 49-63, April.
  3. Hamilton, James D, 1989. "A New Approach to the Economic Analysis of Nonstationary Time Series and the Business Cycle," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 357-84, March.
  4. Hamilton, James D., 1990. "Analysis of time series subject to changes in regime," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 45(1-2), pages 39-70.
  5. Christopher A. Sims, 1989. "A nine variable probabilistic macroeconomic forecasting model," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 14, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  6. Carruth, A.A. & Hooker, M.A. & Oswald, A.J., 1998. "Unemployment Equilibria and Input Prices: Theory and Evidence from the United States," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 496, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  7. Fernandez-Rodriguez, Fernando & Sosvilla-Rivero, Simon & Andrada-Felix, Julian, 1999. "Exchange-rate forecasts with simultaneous nearest-neighbour methods: evidence from the EMS," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 383-392, October.
  8. Ramsey James B., 1996. "If Nonlinear Models Cannot Forecast, What Use Are They?," Studies in Nonlinear Dynamics & Econometrics, De Gruyter, vol. 1(2), pages 1-24, July.
  9. Agnon, Yehuda & Golan, Amos & Shearer, Matthew, 1999. "Nonparametric, nonlinear, short-term forecasting: theory and evidence for nonlinearities in the commodity markets," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 65(3), pages 293-299, December.
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