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Forecasting economic activity with higher frequency targeted predictors

  • Guido Bulligan


    (Bank of Italy)

  • Massimiliano Marcellino


    (European University Institute, Bocconi University)

  • Fabrizio Venditti


    (Bank of Italy)

In this paper we explore the performance of bridge and factor models in forecasting quarterly aggregates in the very short-term subject to a pre-selection of monthly indicators. Starting from a large information set, we select a subset of targeted predictors using data reduction techniques as in Bai and Ng (2008). We then compare a Diffusion Index forecasting model as in Stock and Watson (2002), with a Bridge model specified with an automated General-To-Specific routine. We apply these techniques to forecasting Italian GDP growth and its main components from the demand side and find that Bridge models outperform naive forecasts and compare favorably against factor models. Results for France, Germany, Spain and the euro area confirm these findings.

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Paper provided by Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area in its series Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) with number 847.

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Date of creation: Jan 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bdi:wptemi:td_847_12
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  1. Massimiliano Marcellino & Christian Schumacher, 2008. "Factor-MIDAS for Now- and Forecasting with Ragged-Edge Data: A Model Comparison for German GDP," Economics Working Papers ECO2008/16, European University Institute.
  2. Angelini, Elena & Camba-Mendez, Gonzalo & Giannone, Domenico & Reichlin, Lucrezia & Rünstler, Gerhard, 2008. "Short-term Forecasts of Euro Area GDP Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 6746, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Kevin Hoover & Stephen J. Perez, 2003. "Data Mining Reconsidered: Encompassing And The General-To-Specific Approach To Specification Search," Working Papers 9727, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  4. Banbura, Marta & Rünstler, Gerhard, 2011. "A look into the factor model black box: Publication lags and the role of hard and soft data in forecasting GDP," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 333-346, April.
  5. Riccardo Cristadoro & Fabrizio Venditti & Giuseppe Saporito, 2008. "Forecasting inflation and tracking monetary policy in the euro area: does national information help?," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 677, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  6. Boivin, Jean & Ng, Serena, 2006. "Are more data always better for factor analysis?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 132(1), pages 169-194, May.
  7. Bańbura, Marta & Modugno, Michele, 2010. "Maximum likelihood estimation of factor models on data sets with arbitrary pattern of missing data," Working Paper Series 1189, European Central Bank.
  8. Marie Diron, 2008. "Short-term forecasts of euro area real GDP growth: an assessment of real-time performance based on vintage data," Journal of Forecasting, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(5), pages 371-390.
  9. Guido Bulligan & Roberto Golinelli & Giuseppe Parigi, 2010. "Forecasting monthly industrial production in real-time: from single equations to factor-based models," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 39(2), pages 303-336, October.
  10. Antonello D’ Agostino & Domenico Giannone, 2012. "Comparing Alternative Predictors Based on Large‐Panel Factor Models," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 74(2), pages 306-326, 04.
  11. Barhoumi, K. & Brunhes-Lesage, V. & Darné, O. & Ferrara, L. & Pluyaud, B. & Rouvreau, B., 2008. "Monthly forecasting of French GDP: A revised version of the OPTIM model," Working papers 222, Banque de France.
  12. Michael Artis & Massimiliano Marcellino & Tommaso Proietti, 2004. "Dating Business Cycles: A Methodological Contribution with an Application to the Euro Area," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 66(4), pages 537-565, 09.
  13. Bai, Jushan & Ng, Serena, 2008. "Forecasting economic time series using targeted predictors," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 146(2), pages 304-317, October.
  14. Baffigi, Alberto & Golinelli, Roberto & Parigi, Giuseppe, 2004. "Bridge models to forecast the euro area GDP," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 447-460.
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