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Predicting recession probabilities with financial variables over multiple horizons

Author

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  • Fornari, Fabio
  • Lemke, Wolfgang

Abstract

We forecast recession probabilities for the United States, Germany and Japan. The predictions are based on the widely-used probit approach, but the dynamics of regressors are endogenized using a VAR. The combined model is called a ‘ProbVAR’. At any point in time, the ProbVAR allows to generate conditional recession probabilities for any sequence of forecast horizons. At the same time, the ProbVAR is as easy to implement as traditional probit regressions. The slope of the yield curve turns out to be a successful predictor, but forecasts can be markedly improved by adding other financial variables such as the short-term interest rate, stock returns or corporate bond spreads. The forecasting performance is very good for the United States: for the out-of-sample exercise (1995 to 2009), the best ProbVAR specification correctly identifies the ex-post classification of recessions and non-recessions 95% of the time for the one-quarter forecast horizon and 87% of the time for the four-quarter horizon. Moreover, the ProbVAR turns out to significantly improve upon survey forecasts. Relative to the good performance reached for the United States, the ProbVAR forecasts are slightly worse for Germany, but considerably inferior for Japan. JEL Classification: C25, C32, E32, E37

Suggested Citation

  • Fornari, Fabio & Lemke, Wolfgang, 2010. "Predicting recession probabilities with financial variables over multiple horizons," Working Paper Series 1255, European Central Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20101255
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Gross, Marco, 2011. "Corporate bond spreads and real activity in the euro area - Least Angle Regression forecasting and the probability of the recession," Working Paper Series 1286, European Central Bank.
    2. Makram El-Shagi & Gregor von Schweinitz, 2016. "Qual VAR revisited: Good forecast, bad story," Journal of Applied Economics, Universidad del CEMA, vol. 19, pages 293-322, November.
    3. repec:spr:empeco:v:53:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s00181-016-1175-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Rannenberg, Ansgar, 2012. "Asymmetric Information in Credit Markets, Bank Leverage Cycles and Macroeconomic Dynamics," Annual Conference 2012 (Goettingen): New Approaches and Challenges for the Labor Market of the 21st Century 62035, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    5. Babecký, Jan & Havránek, Tomáš & Matějů, Jakub & Rusnák, Marek & Šmídková, Kateřina & Vašíček, Bořek, 2013. "Leading indicators of crisis incidence: Evidence from developed countries," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 1-19.
    6. Pirschel, Inske, 2015. "Forecasting Euro Area Recessions in real-time with a mixed-frequency Bayesian VAR," Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 113031, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    7. Stefan Gebauer, 2017. "The Use of Financial Market Variables in Forecasting," DIW Roundup: Politik im Fokus 115, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    8. Karnizova, Lilia & Li, Jiaxiong (Chris), 2014. "Economic policy uncertainty, financial markets and probability of US recessions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 125(2), pages 261-265.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    forecasting; probit; recessions; VAR;

    JEL classification:

    • C25 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models; Discrete Regressors; Proportions; Probabilities
    • C32 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes; State Space Models
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E37 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications

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