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Forecast Combination and Bayesian Model Averaging: A Prior Sensitivity Analysis


  • Martin Feldkircher


In this study the forecast performance of model averaged forecasts is compared to that of alternative single models. Following Eklund and Karlsson (2007) we form posterior model probabilities - the weights for the combined forecast - based on the predictive likelihood. Extending the work of Fernández et al. (2001a) we carry out a prior sensitivity analysis for a key parameter in Bayesian model averaging (BMA): Zellner's g. The main results based on a simulation study are fourfold: First the predictive likelihood does always better than the traditionally employed 'marginal' likelihood in settings where the true model is not part of the model space. Secondly, and more striking, forecast accuracy as measured by the root mean square error (rmse) is maximized for the median probability model put forward by Barbieri and Berger (2003). On the other hand, model averaging excels in predicting direction of changes, a finding that is in line with Crespo Cuaresma (2007). Lastly, our recommendation concerning the prior on g is to choose the prior proposed by Laud and Ibrahim (1995) with a hold-out sample size of 25% to minimize the rmse (median model) and 75% to optimize direction of change forecasts (model averaging). We finally forecast the monthly industrial production output of six Central Eastern and South Eastern European (CESEE) economies for a one step ahead forecasting horizon. Following the aforementioned forecasting recommendations improves the out-of-sample statistics over a 30-period horizon beating for almost all countries the first order autoregressive benchmark model.
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Suggested Citation

  • Martin Feldkircher, 2012. "Forecast Combination and Bayesian Model Averaging: A Prior Sensitivity Analysis," Journal of Forecasting, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 31(4), pages 361-376, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:jforec:v:31:y:2012:i:4:p:361-376

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Carmen Fernandez & Eduardo Ley & Mark F. J. Steel, 2001. "Model uncertainty in cross-country growth regressions," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(5), pages 563-576.
    2. Fernandez, Carmen & Ley, Eduardo & Steel, Mark F. J., 2001. "Benchmark priors for Bayesian model averaging," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 100(2), pages 381-427, February.
    3. Jesus Crespo Cuaresma, "undated". "Forecasting euro exchange rates: How much does model averaging help?," Working Papers 2007-24, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
    4. Xavier Sala-I-Martin & Gernot Doppelhofer & Ronald I. Miller, 2004. "Determinants of Long-Term Growth: A Bayesian Averaging of Classical Estimates (BACE) Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 813-835, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Costantini, Mauro & Cuaresma, Jesus Crespo & Hlouskova, Jaroslava, 2014. "Can Macroeconomists Get Rich Forecasting Exchange Rates?," Economics Series 305, Institute for Advanced Studies.
    2. Njindan Iyke, Bernard, 2015. "Macro Determinants of the Real Exchange Rate in a Small Open Small Island Economy: Evidence from Mauritius via BMA," MPRA Paper 68968, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Mehmet Balcilar & Rangan Gupta & Clement Kyei & Mark E. Wohar, 2016. "Does Economic Policy Uncertainty Predict Exchange Rate Returns and Volatility? Evidence from a Nonparametric Causality-in-Quantiles Test," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 27(2), pages 229-250, April.
    4. Roman Horvath, 2012. "Do Confidence Indicators Help Predict Economic Activity? The Case of the Czech Republic," Czech Journal of Economics and Finance (Finance a uver), Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, vol. 62(5), pages 398-412, November.
    5. Riane de Bruyn & Rangan Gupta & Renee van Eyden, 2013. "Forecasting The Rand-Dollar And Rand-Pound Exchange Rates Using Dynamic Model Averaging," Working Papers 201307, University of Pretoria, Department of Economics.
    6. Tomas Havranek & Anna Sokolova, 2016. "Do Consumers Really Follow a Rule of Thumb? Three Thousand Estimates from 130 Studies Say “Probably Not”," Working Papers IES 2016/15, Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Economic Studies, revised Jul 2016.
    7. repec:mes:emfitr:v:51:y:2015:i:3:p:502-524 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Hyeyoen Kim & Doojin Ryu, 2013. "Forecasting Exchange Rate from Combination Taylor Rule Fundamental," Emerging Markets Finance and Trade, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 49(S4), pages 81-92, September.
    9. Danglun Luo & Qianwei Ying, 2014. "Political Connections and Bank Lines of Credit," Emerging Markets Finance and Trade, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 50(03), pages 5-21, May.
    10. Martin Feldkircher & Florian Huber & Josef Schreiner & Marcel Tirpák & Peter Tóth & Julia Wörz, 2015. "Bridging the information gap: small-scale nowcasting models of GDP growth for selected CESEE countries," Focus on European Economic Integration, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank), issue 2, pages 56-75.
    11. Crespo Cuaresma, Jesus & Fortin, Ines & Hlouskova, Jaroslava, 2017. "Exchange rate forecasting and the performance of currency portfolios," Economics Series 326, Institute for Advanced Studies.
    12. Riané de Bruyn & Rangan Gupta & Reneé van Eyden, 2015. "Can We Beat the Random-Walk Model for the South African Rand--U.S. Dollar and South African Rand--UK Pound Exchange Rates? Evidence from Dynamic Model Averaging," Emerging Markets Finance and Trade, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 51(3), pages 502-524, May.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C11 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Bayesian Analysis: General
    • C15 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Statistical Simulation Methods: General
    • C53 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Forecasting and Prediction Models; Simulation Methods


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