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Forecasting in the Presence of Instabilities: How Do We Know Whether Models Predict Well and How to Improve Them

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  • Barbara Rossi

Abstract

This article provides guidance on how to evaluate and improve the forecasting ability of models in the presence of instabilities, which are widespread in economic time series. Empirically relevant examples include predicting the financial crisis of 2007-2008, as well as, more broadly, fluctuations in asset prices, exchange rates, output growth and inflation. In the context of unstable environments, I discuss how to assess models' forecasting ability; how to robustify models' estimation; and how to correctly report measures of forecast uncertainty. Importantly, and perhaps surprisingly, breaks in models' parameters are neither necessary nor sufficient to generate time variation in models' forecasting performance: thus, one should not test for breaks in models' parameters, but rather evaluate their forecasting ability in a robust way. In addition, local measures of models' forecasting performance are more appropriate than traditional, average measures.

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  • Barbara Rossi, 2019. "Forecasting in the Presence of Instabilities: How Do We Know Whether Models Predict Well and How to Improve Them," Working Papers 1162, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:1162
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    1. Eric Hillebrand & Jakob Mikkelsen & Lars Spreng & Giovanni Urga, 2020. "Exchange Rates and Macroeconomic Fundamentals: Evidence of Instabilities from Time-Varying Factor Loadings," CREATES Research Papers 2020-19, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    forecasting; instabilities; time variation; inflation; structural breaks; density forecasts; great recession; forecast confidence intervals; output growth; Business cycles;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E4 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household
    • I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty
    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior

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