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Are There Any Reliable Leading Indicators for U.S. Inflation and GDP Growth?

  • Anindya Banerjee
  • Massimiliano Marcellino

In this paper we evaluate the relative merits of three approaches to information extraction from a large data set for forecasting, namely, the use of an automated model selection procedure, the adoption of a factor model, and single-indicator-based forecast pooling. The comparison is conducted using a large set of indicators for forecasting US inflation and GDP growth. We also compare our large set of leading indicators with purely autoregressive models, using an evaluation procedure that is particularly relevant for policy making. The evaluation is conducted both ex-post and in a pseudo real time context, for several forecast horizons, and using both recursive and rolling estimation. The results indicate a preference for simple forecasting tools, with a good relative performance of pure autoregressive models, and substantial instability in the leading characteristics of the indicators.

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Paper provided by IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University in its series Working Papers with number 236.

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Date of creation: 2003
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Handle: RePEc:igi:igierp:236
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  1. Michael P. Clements & David F. Hendry, 2001. "Forecasting Non-Stationary Economic Time Series," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262531895, June.
  2. Kevin D. Hoover & Stephen J. Perez, . "Data Mining Reconsidered: Encompassing And The General-To-Specific Approach To Specification Search," Department of Economics 97-27, California Davis - Department of Economics.
  3. Stock, James H. & Watson, Mark W., 1999. "Forecasting inflation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 293-335, October.
  4. Massimiliano Marcellino & James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, . "Macroeconomic Forecasting in the Euro Area: Country Specific versus Area-Wide Information," Working Papers 201, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  5. Hendry, David F. & Ericsson, Neil R., 1991. "Modeling the demand for narrow money in the United Kingdom and the United States," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 833-881, May.
  6. Forni, Mario & Hallin, Marc & Lippi, Marco & Reichlin, Lucrezia, 1999. "The Generalized Dynamic Factor Model: Identification and Estimation," CEPR Discussion Papers 2338, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Krolzig, Hans-Martin & Hendry, David F., 2001. "Computer automation of general-to-specific model selection procedures," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 25(6-7), pages 831-866, June.
  8. David F. Hendry & Hans-Martin Krolzig, 1999. "Improving on 'Data mining reconsidered' by K.D. Hoover and S.J. Perez," Econometrics Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 2(2), pages 202-219.
  9. Michael ARTIS & Anindya BANERJEE & Massimiliano MARCELLINO, 2001. "Factor Forecasts for the UK," Economics Working Papers ECO2001/15, European University Institute.
  10. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 1998. "A Comparison of Linear and Nonlinear Univariate Models for Forecasting Macroeconomic Time Series," NBER Working Papers 6607, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Filip Keereman, 1999. "The track record of the Commission forecasts," European Economy - Economic Papers 137, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
  12. Pesaran, M Hashem & Timmermann, Allan, 1995. " Predictability of Stock Returns: Robustness and Economic Significance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 50(4), pages 1201-28, September.
  13. Thomas J. Sargent & Christopher A. Sims, 1977. "Business cycle modeling without pretending to have too much a priori economic theory," Working Papers 55, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  14. David Hendry & Michael P. Clements, 2001. "Pooling of Forecasts," Economics Papers 2002-W9, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  15. Filip Keereman, 2003. "External assumptions, the international environment and the track record of the Commission Forecast," European Economy - Economic Papers 189, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
  16. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 2001. "Forecasting Output and Inflation: The Role of Asset Prices," NBER Working Papers 8180, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Stephen G. Cecchetti & Rita S. Chu & Charles Steindel, 2000. "The unreliability of inflation indicators," Current Issues in Economics and Finance, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, vol. 6(Apr).
  18. Stock, James H & Watson, Mark W, 2002. "Macroeconomic Forecasting Using Diffusion Indexes," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(2), pages 147-62, April.
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