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Forecast pooling for short time series of macroeconomic variables

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  • Massimiliano Marcellino

Abstract

It is rather common to have several competing forecasts for the same variable, and many methods have been suggested to pick up the best, on the basis of their past forecasting performance. As an alternative, the forecasts can be combined to obtain a pooled forecast, and several options are available to select what forecasts should be pooled, and how to determine their relative weights. In this paper we compare the relative performance of alternative pooling methods, using a very large dataset of about 500 macroeconomic variables for the countries in the European Monetary Union. In this case the forecasting exercise is further complicated by the short time span available, due to the need of collecting a homogeneous dataset. For each variable in the dataset, we consider 58 forecasts produced by a range of linear, time-varying and non-linear models, plus 16 pooled forecasts. Our results indicate that on average combination methods work well. Yet, a more disaggregate analysis reveals that single non-linear models can outperform combination forecasts for several series, even though they perform rather badly for other series so that on average their performance is not as good as that of pooled forecasts. Similar results are obtained for a subset of unstable series, the pooled forecasts behave only slightly better, and for three key macroeconomic variables, namely, industrial production, unemployment and inflation.

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  • Massimiliano Marcellino, "undated". "Forecast pooling for short time series of macroeconomic variables," Working Papers 212, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  • Handle: RePEc:igi:igierp:212
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Michael Artis & Massimiliano Marcellino, 2001. "Fiscal forecasting: The track record of the IMF, OECD and EC," Econometrics Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 4(1), pages 20-36.
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    Cited by:

    1. Laura D´Amato & Lorena Garegnani & Emilio Blanco, 2008. "Forecasting Inflation in Argentina: Individual Models or Forecast Pooling?," BCRA Working Paper Series 200835, Central Bank of Argentina, Economic Research Department.
    2. Kuzin, Vladimir N. & Marcellino, Massimiliano & Schumacher, Christian, 2009. "Pooling versus model selection for nowcasting with many predictors: an application to German GDP," Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies 2009,03, Deutsche Bundesbank.
    3. Marcellino, Massimliano, 2004. "Forecasting EMU macroeconomic variables," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 359-372.
    4. Elliott, Graham & Timmermann, Allan, 2004. "Optimal forecast combinations under general loss functions and forecast error distributions," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 122(1), pages 47-79, September.
    5. Anindya Banerjee & Massimiliano Marcellino & Igor Masten, 2005. "Leading Indicators for Euro-area Inflation and GDP Growth," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 67(s1), pages 785-813, December.
    6. Timmermann, Allan, 2006. "Forecast Combinations," Handbook of Economic Forecasting, Elsevier.
    7. Laura D'Amato & Lorena Garegnani & Emilio Blanco, 2016. "GDP Nowcasting: Assessing the Cyclical Conditions of the Argentine Economy," Ensayos Económicos, Central Bank of Argentina, Economic Research Department, vol. 1(74), pages 7-26, December.
    8. Marco Aiolfi & Carlo Ambrogio Favero, "undated". "Model Uncertainty, Thick Modelling and the predictability of Stock Returns," Working Papers 221, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
    9. Carlo A. Favero & Massimiliano Marcellino, 2005. "Modelling and Forecasting Fiscal Variables for the Euro Area," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 67(s1), pages 755-783, December.
    10. Benjamin Russo, 2010. "Is past prologue? Prospects for state and local sales tax bases," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(18), pages 2261-2274.
    11. Laura D´Amato & Lorena Garegnani & Emilio Blanco, 2015. "GDP Nowcasting: Assessing business cycle conditions in Argentina," BCRA Working Paper Series 201569, Central Bank of Argentina, Economic Research Department.
    12. Costas Milas & Phil Rothman, 2005. "Multivariate STAR Unemployment Rate Forecasts," Econometrics 0502010, EconWPA.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C53 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Forecasting and Prediction Models; Simulation Methods
    • E30 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)

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