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On the Advantages of Disaggregated Data: Insights from Forecasting the U.S. Economy in a Data-Rich Environment

Author

Listed:
  • Nikita Perevalov
  • Philipp Maier

Abstract

The good forecasting performance of factor models has been well documented in the literature. While many studies focus on a very limited set of variables (typically GDP and inflation), this study evaluates forecasting performance at disaggregated levels to examine the source of the improved forecasting accuracy, relative to a simple autoregressive model. We use the latest revision of over 100 U.S. time series over the period 1974-2009 (monthly and quarterly data). We employ restrictions derived from national accounting identities to derive jointly consistent forecasts for the different components of U.S. GDP. In line with previous studies, we find that our factor model yields vastly improved forecasts for U.S. GDP, relative to simple autoregressive benchmark models, but we also conclude that the gains in terms of forecasting accuracy differ substantially between GDP components. As a rule of thumb, the largest improvements in terms of forecasting accuracy are found for relatively more volatile series, with the greatest gains coming from improvements of the forecasts for investment and trade. Consumption forecasts, in contrast, perform only marginally better than a simple AR benchmark model. In addition, we show that for most GDP components, an unrestricted, direct forecast outperforms forecasts subject to national accounting identity restrictions. In contrast, GDP itself is best forecasted as the sum of individual forecasts for GDP components, but the improvement over a direct, unconstrained factor forecast is small.

Suggested Citation

  • Nikita Perevalov & Philipp Maier, 2010. "On the Advantages of Disaggregated Data: Insights from Forecasting the U.S. Economy in a Data-Rich Environment," Staff Working Papers 10-10, Bank of Canada.
  • Handle: RePEc:bca:bocawp:10-10
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Lombardi, Marco J. & Maier, Philipp, 2011. "Forecasting economic growth in the euro area during the Great Moderation and the Great Recession," Working Paper Series 1379, European Central Bank.
    2. Lombardi, Marco J. & Godbout, Claudia, 2012. "Short-term forecasting of the Japanese economy using factor models," Working Paper Series 1428, European Central Bank.
    3. Katarzyna Maciejowska & Rafal Weron, 2013. "Forecasting of daily electricity spot prices by incorporating intra-day relationships: Evidence form the UK power market," HSC Research Reports HSC/13/01, Hugo Steinhaus Center, Wroclaw University of Technology, revised 15 Apr 2013.
    4. Warmedinger, Thomas & Paredes, Joan & Asimakopoulos, Stylianos, 2013. "Forecasting fiscal time series using mixed frequency data," Working Paper Series 1550, European Central Bank.
    5. repec:pal:marecl:v:19:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1057_s41278-016-0050-8 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Esteves, Paulo Soares, 2013. "Direct vs bottom–up approach when forecasting GDP: Reconciling literature results with institutional practice," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 416-420.
    7. Katarzyna Maciejowska & Rafał Weron, 2015. "Forecasting of daily electricity prices with factor models: utilizing intra-day and inter-zone relationships," Computational Statistics, Springer, vol. 30(3), pages 805-819, September.
    8. repec:ecb:ecbwps:20111428 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Marcus Cobb, 2014. "GDP Forecasting Bias due to Aggregation Inaccuracy in a Chain- Linking Framework," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 721, Central Bank of Chile.
    10. Jason Angelopoulos & Costas I. Chlomoudis, 2017. "A Generalized Dynamic Factor Model for the U.S. Port Sector," SPOUDAI Journal of Economics and Business, SPOUDAI Journal of Economics and Business, University of Piraeus, vol. 67(1), pages 22-37, January-M.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Econometric and statistical methods; International topics;

    JEL classification:

    • C50 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - General
    • C53 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Forecasting and Prediction Models; Simulation Methods
    • E37 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications
    • E47 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications

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