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Modelling and Forecasting Fiscal Variables for the euro Area

  • Favero, Carlo A.
  • Marcellino, Massimiliano

In this paper we assess the possibility of producing unbiased forecasts for fiscal variables in the euro area by comparing a set of procedures that rely on different information sets and econometric techniques. In particular, we consider ARMA models, VARs, small scale semi-structural models at the national and euro area level, institutional forecasts (OECD), and pooling. Our small scale models are characterized by the joint modelling of fiscal and monetary policy using simple rules, combined with equations for the evolution of all the relevant fundamentals for the Maastricht Treaty and the Stability and Growth Pact. We rank models on the basis of their forecasting performance using the mean square and mean absolute error criteria at different horizons. Overall, simple time series methods and pooling work well and are able to deliver unbiased forecasts, or slightly upward biased forecast for the debt-GDP dynamics. This result is mostly due to the short sample available, the robustness of simple methods to structural breaks, and to the difficulty of modelling the joint behaviour of several variables in a period of substantial institutional and economic changes. A bootstrap experiment highlights that, even when the data are generated using the estimated small scale multi country model, simple time series models can produce more accurate forecasts, due to their parsimonious specification.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 5294.

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Date of creation: Oct 2005
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5294
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  1. Glenn Rudebusch & Lars E.O. Svensson, 1999. "Policy Rules for Inflation Targeting," NBER Chapters, in: Monetary Policy Rules, pages 203-262 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Francis X. Diebold & Robert S. Mariano, 1994. "Comparing Predictive Accuracy," NBER Technical Working Papers 0169, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. David Hendry & Michael P. Clements, 2001. "Pooling of Forecasts," Economics Papers 2002-W9, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  4. Marcellino, Massimiliano, 2002. "Instability and Non-Linearity in the EMU," CEPR Discussion Papers 3312, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Michael Artis & Massimiliano Marcellino & Tommaso Proietti, 2003. "Dating the Euro Area Business Cycle," Working Papers 237, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  6. Richard Clarida & Jordi Gali & Mark Gertler, 1998. "Monetary Policy Rules and Macroeconomic Stability: Evidence and Some Theory," NBER Working Papers 6442, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Anindya Banerjee & Massimiliano Marcellino & Igor Masten, 2003. "Leading Indicators for Euro-area Inflation and GDP Growth," Working Papers 235, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  8. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521634809 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Roberto Perotti, 2002. "Estimating the effects of fiscal policy in OECD countries," Economics Working Papers 015, European Network of Economic Policy Research Institutes.
  10. Todd E. Clark & Michael W. McCracken, 2000. "Tests of Equal Forecast Accuracy and Encompassing for Nested Models," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0319, Econometric Society.
  11. Massimiliano Marcellino, . "Forecasting EMU macroeconomic variables," Working Papers 216, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  12. Artis, M. & Marcellino, M., 1999. "Fiscal Forecasting: the Track Record of the IMF, OECD and EC," Economics Working Papers eco99/22, European University Institute.
  13. Marcellino, Massimiliano & Stock, James H & Watson, Mark W, 2005. "A Comparison of Direct and Iterated Multistep AR Methods for Forecasting Macroeconomic Time Series," CEPR Discussion Papers 4976, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. Carlo A. Favero, . "How do European monetary and fiscal authorities behave?," Working Papers 214, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  15. Lars Jonung & Martin Larch, 2004. "Improving fiscal policy in the EU: the case for independent forecasts," European Economy - Economic Papers 210, Directorate General Economic and Monetary Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
  16. Marcellino, Massimiliano, 2002. "Forecast Pooling for Short Time Series of Macroeconomic Variables," CEPR Discussion Papers 3313, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. Marcellino, Massimiliano & Stock, James H. & Watson, Mark W., 2003. "Macroeconomic forecasting in the Euro area: Country specific versus area-wide information," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 1-18, February.
  18. Perotti, Roberto, 2002. "Estimating the effects of fiscal policy in OECD countries," Working Paper Series 0168, European Central Bank.
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