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Linear models, smooth transition autoregressions, and neural networks for forecasting macroeconomic time series: A re-examination

  • Teräsvirta, Timo


    (Dept. of Economic Statistics, Stockholm School of Economics)

  • van Dijk, Dick


    (Econometric Institute, Erasmus University Rotterdam)

  • Medeiros, Marcelo


    (Department of Economics, Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro)

In this paper we examine the forecast accuracy of linear autoregressive, smooth transition autoregressive (STAR), and neural network (NN) time series models for 47 monthly macroeconomic variables of the G7 economies. Unlike previous studies that typically consider multiple but fixed model specifications, we use a single but dynamic specification for each model class. The point forecast results indicate that the STAR model generally outperforms linear autoregressive models. It also improves upon several fixed STAR models, demonstrating that careful specification of nonlinear time series models is of crucial importance. The results for neural network models are mixed in the sense that at long forecast horizons, an NN model obtained using Bayesian regularization produces more accurate forecasts than a corresponding model specified using the specific-to-general approach. Reasons for this outcome are discussed.

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Paper provided by Stockholm School of Economics in its series SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance with number 561.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: 14 Jul 2004
Date of revision: 04 Nov 2004
Publication status: Published in International Journal of Forecasting, 2005, pages 755-774.
Handle: RePEc:hhs:hastef:0561
Note: The paper will appear with Discussion by Professor Alfonso Novales and a reply by the authors.
Contact details of provider: Postal: The Economic Research Institute, Stockholm School of Economics, P.O. Box 6501, 113 83 Stockholm, Sweden
Phone: +46-(0)8-736 90 00
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  1. van Dijk, D.J.C. & Terasvirta, T. & Franses, Ph.H.B.F., 2000. "Smooth transition autoregressive models - A survey of recent developments," Econometric Institute Research Papers EI 2000-23/A, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Erasmus School of Economics (ESE), Econometric Institute.
  2. Clements, Michael P & Smith, Jeremy, 1999. "A Monte Carlo Study of the Forecasting Performance of Empirical SETAR Models," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(2), pages 123-41, March-Apr.
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  6. Skalin, Joakim & Teräsvirta, Timo, 1998. "Modelling asymmetries and moving equilibria in unemployment rates," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 262, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 05 Oct 1998.
  7. Harvey, David & Leybourne, Stephen & Newbold, Paul, 1997. "Testing the equality of prediction mean squared errors," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 281-291, June.
  8. Rech, Gianluigi & Teräsvirta, Timo & Tschernig, Rolf, 1999. "A simple variable selection technique for nonlinear models," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 296, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 06 Apr 2000.
  9. Terasvirta, T & Anderson, H M, 1992. "Characterizing Nonlinearities in Business Cycles Using Smooth Transition Autoregressive Models," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 7(S), pages S119-36, Suppl. De.
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  16. Siliverstovs, B. & van Dijk, D.J.C., 2003. "Forecasting industrial production with linear, nonlinear, and structural change models," Econometric Institute Research Papers EI 2003-16, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Erasmus School of Economics (ESE), Econometric Institute.
  17. Timo Teräsvirta & Marcelo C. Medeiros & Gianluigi Rech, 2006. "Building neural network models for time series: a statistical approach," Journal of Forecasting, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(1), pages 49-75.
  18. Zhang, Guoqiang & Eddy Patuwo, B. & Y. Hu, Michael, 1998. "Forecasting with artificial neural networks:: The state of the art," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 35-62, March.
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  20. Michael P. Clements & Hans-Martin Krolzig, 1998. "A comparison of the forecast performance of Markov-switching and threshold autoregressive models of US GNP," Econometrics Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 1(Conferenc), pages C47-C75.
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  23. Tkacz, Greg, 2001. "Neural network forecasting of Canadian GDP growth," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 57-69.
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