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An Empirical Investigation of Direct and Iterated Multistep Conditional Forecasts

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  • Michael W. McCracken
  • Joseph McGillicuddy

Abstract

When constructing unconditional point forecasts, both direct- and iterated-multistep (DMS and IMS) approaches are common. However, in the context of producing conditional forecasts, IMS approaches based on vector autoregressions (VAR) are far more common than simpler DMS models. This is despite the fact that there are theoretical reasons to believe that DMS models are more robust to misspecification than are IMS models. In the context of unconditional forecasts, Marcellino, Stock, and Watson (MSW, 2006) investigate the empirical relevance of these theories. In this paper, we extend that work to conditional forecasts. We do so based on linear bivariate and trivariate models estimated using a large dataset of macroeconomic time series. Over comparable samples, our results reinforce those in MSW: the IMS approach is typically a bit better than DMS with significant improvements only at longer horizons. In contrast, when we focus on the Great Moderation sample we find a marked improvement in the DMS approach relative to IMS. The distinction is particularly clear when we forecast nominal rather than real variables where the relative gains can be substantial.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael W. McCracken & Joseph McGillicuddy, 2017. "An Empirical Investigation of Direct and Iterated Multistep Conditional Forecasts," Working Papers 2017-40, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, revised 01 Nov 2017.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2017-040
    DOI: 10.20955/wp.2017.040
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Michael W. McCracken & Joseph McGillicuddy & Michael T. Owyang, 2019. "Binary Conditional Forecasts," Working Papers 2019-29, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    out-of-sample; forecasting; Prediction;

    JEL classification:

    • C52 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Model Evaluation, Validation, and Selection
    • C53 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Forecasting and Prediction Models; Simulation Methods
    • C12 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Hypothesis Testing: General
    • 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

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