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It’s not just for inflation: The usefulness of the median CPI in BVAR forecasting

  • Brent Meyer
  • Saeed Zaman

In this paper we investigate the forecasting performance of the median CPI in a variety of Bayesian VARs (BVARs) that are often used for monetary policy. Until now, the use of trimmed-mean price statistics in forecasting inflation has often been relegated to simple univariate or “Philips-Curve” approaches, thus limiting their usefulness in applications that require consistent forecasts of multiple macro variables. We find that inclusion of an extreme trimmed-mean measure—the median CPI—significantly improves the forecasts of both headline and core CPI. across our wide-ranging set of BVARs. While the inflation forecasting improvements are perhaps not surprising given the current literature on core inflation statistics, we also find that inclusion of the median CPI improves the forecasting accuracy of the central bank’s primary instrument for monetary policy—the federal funds rate. We conclude with a few illustrative exercises that highlight the usefulness of using the median CPI.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland in its series Working Paper with number 1303.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedcwp:1303
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  1. Litterman, Robert B, 1986. "Forecasting with Bayesian Vector Autoregressions-Five Years of Experience," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 4(1), pages 25-38, January.
  2. Marta Banbura & Domenico Giannone & Lucrezia Reichlin, 2010. "Large Bayesian vector auto regressions," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(1), pages 71-92.
  3. Laurence Ball & Sandeep Mazumder, 2011. "Inflation Dynamics and the Great Recession," Economics Working Paper Archive 580, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
  4. Michael F. Bryan & Stephen G. Cecchetti, 1994. "Measuring Core Inflation," NBER Chapters, in: Monetary Policy, pages 195-219 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Michael F. Bryan & Stephen G. Cecchetti & Rodney L. Wiggins II, 1997. "Efficient Inflation Estimation," NBER Working Papers 6183, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Kadiyala, K Rao & Karlsson, Sune, 1997. "Numerical Methods for Estimation and Inference in Bayesian VAR-Models," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(2), pages 99-132, March-Apr.
  7. Carriero, Andrea & Clark, Todd & Marcellino, Massimiliano, 2011. "Bayesian VARs: Specification Choices and Forecast Accuracy," CEPR Discussion Papers 8273, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Alan K. Detmeister, 2011. "The usefulness of core PCE inflation measures," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2011-56, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  9. Harvey, David I & Leybourne, Stephen J & Newbold, Paul, 1998. "Tests for Forecast Encompassing," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 16(2), pages 254-59, April.
  10. Brent Meyer & Guhan Venkatu, 2012. "Trimmed-mean inflation statistics: just hit the one in the middle," Working Paper 1217, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, revised 01 Feb 2014.
  11. Kenneth Beauchemin & Saeed Zaman, 2011. "A medium scale forecasting model for monetary policy," Working Paper 1128, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  12. Diebold, Francis X & Mariano, Roberto S, 1995. "Comparing Predictive Accuracy," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 13(3), pages 253-63, July.
  13. Sims, Christopher A & Zha, Tao, 1998. "Bayesian Methods for Dynamic Multivariate Models," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(4), pages 949-68, November.
  14. Jim Dolmas, 2005. "Trimmed mean PCE inflation," Working Papers 0506, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
  15. Todd E. Clark & Michael W. McCracken, 2011. "Tests of equal forecast accuracy for overlapping models," Working Papers 2011-024, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  16. Brent Meyer & Mehmet Pasaogullari, 2010. "Simple ways to forecast inflation: what works best?," Economic Commentary, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, issue Dec.
  17. David Norman & Anthony Richards, 2012. "The Forecasting Performance of Single Equation Models of Inflation," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 88(280), pages 64-78, 03.
  18. Smith, Julie K, 2004. "Weighted Median Inflation: Is This Core Inflation?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 36(2), pages 253-63, April.
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