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Evaluating ensemble density combination - forecasting GDP and inflation

  • Karsten R. Gerdrup


    (Norges Bank (Central Bank of Norway))

  • Anne Sofie Jore


    (Norges Bank (Central Bank of Norway))

  • Christie Smith

    (Reserve Bank of New Zealand)

  • Leif Anders Thorsrud


    (Norges Bank (Central Bank of Norway))

Forecast combination has become popular in central banks as a means to improve forecasts and to alleviate the risk of selecting poor models. However, if a model suite is populated with many similar models, then the weight attached to other independent models may be lower than warranted by their performance. One way to mitigate this problem is to group similar models into distinct `ensembles'. Using the original suite of models in Norges Bank's system for averaging models (SAM), we evaluate whether forecast performance can be improved by combining ensemble densities, rather than combining individual model densities directly. We evaluate performance both in terms of point forecasts and density forecasts, and test whether the densities are well-calibrated. We find encouraging results for combining ensembles.

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Paper provided by Norges Bank in its series Working Paper with number 2009/19.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: 11 Nov 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bno:worpap:2009_19
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  1. Timmermann, Allan, 2006. "Forecast Combinations," Handbook of Economic Forecasting, Elsevier.
  2. Aiolfi, Marco & Timmermann, Allan, 2006. "Persistence in forecasting performance and conditional combination strategies," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 135(1-2), pages 31-53.
  3. Hilde C. Bjørnland & Karsten R. Gerdrup & Anne Sofie Jore & Leif Anders Thorsrud & Christie Smith, 2010. "Does forecast combination improve Norges Bank inflation forecasts?," Working Papers 0002, Centre for Applied Macro- and Petroleum economics (CAMP), BI Norwegian Business School.
  4. Anne Sofie Jore & James Mitchell & Shaun P. Vahey, 2010. "Combining forecast densities from VARs with uncertain instabilities," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(4), pages 621-634.
  5. James Mitchell & Stephen G. Hall, 2005. "Evaluating, Comparing and Combining Density Forecasts Using the KLIC with an Application to the Bank of England and NIESR 'Fan' Charts of Inflation," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 67(s1), pages 995-1033, December.
  6. Christian Kascha & Francesco Ravazzolo, 2008. "Combining inflation density forecasts," Working Paper 2008/22, Norges Bank.
  7. Jeremy Smith & Kenneth F. Wallis, 2009. "A Simple Explanation of the Forecast Combination Puzzle," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 71(3), pages 331-355, 06.
  8. Andrew Ang & Monika Piazzesi & Min Wei, 2003. "What does the yield curve tell us about GDP growth?," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Mar.
  9. Makridakis, Spyros & Chatfield, Chris & Hibon, Michele & Lawrence, Michael & Mills, Terence & Ord, Keith & Simmons, LeRoy F., 1993. "The M2-competition: A real-time judgmentally based forecasting study," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 5-22, April.
  10. Dr. James Mitchell, 2005. "Evaluating, comparing and combining density forecasts using the KLIC with an application to the Bank of England and NIESR ÔfanÕ charts of inflation," NIESR Discussion Papers 777, National Institute of Economic and Social Research.
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  12. Capistrán, Carlos & Timmermann, Allan, 2009. "Forecast Combination With Entry and Exit of Experts," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 27(4), pages 428-440.
  13. Berkowitz, Jeremy, 2001. "Testing Density Forecasts, with Applications to Risk Management," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 19(4), pages 465-74, October.
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  17. Wallis, Kenneth F., 2002. "Chi-squared tests of interval and density forecasts, and the Bank of England's fan charts," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2002 181, Royal Economic Society.
  18. Mark W. Watson & James H. Stock, 2004. "Combination forecasts of output growth in a seven-country data set," Journal of Forecasting, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(6), pages 405-430.
  19. Ida Wolden Bache & James Mitchell & Francesco Ravazzolo & Shaun P. Vahey, 2009. "Macro modelling with many models," Working Paper 2009/15, Norges Bank.
  20. Geweke, John & Amisano, Gianni, 2010. "Comparing and evaluating Bayesian predictive distributions of asset returns," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 216-230, April.
  21. Dr. James Mitchell, 2009. "Macro Modelling with Many Models," NIESR Discussion Papers 2384, National Institute of Economic and Social Research.
  22. Stock, James H. & Watson, Mark W., 2006. "Forecasting with Many Predictors," Handbook of Economic Forecasting, Elsevier.
  23. Wolden Bache, Ida & Sofie Jore, Anne & Mitchell, James & Vahey, Shaun P., 2011. "Combining VAR and DSGE forecast densities," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 35(10), pages 1659-1670, October.
  24. Robert T. Clemen, 1987. "Combining Overlapping Information," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 33(3), pages 373-380, March.
  25. Todd E. Clark & Michael W. McCracken, 2007. "Forecasting with small macroeconomic VARs in the presence of instabilities," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2007-41, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  26. Robert L. Winkler, 1981. "Combining Probability Distributions from Dependent Information Sources," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 27(4), pages 479-488, April.
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