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Modelling and Forecasting Fiscal Variables for the Euro Area

  • Carlo Favero
  • Massimiliano Marcellino

In this paper we assess the possibility of producing unbiased forecasts for fiscal variables in the euro area by comparing a set of procedures that rely on different information sets and econometric techniques. In particular, we consider ARMA models, VARs, small scale semi-structural models at the national and euro area level, institutional forecasts (OECD), and pooling. Our small scale models are characterized by the joint modelling of fiscal and monetary policy using simple rules, combined with equations for the evolution of all the relevant fundamentals for the Maastricht Treaty and the Stability and Growth Pact. We rank models on the basis of their forecasting performance using the mean square and mean absolute error criteria at different horizons. Overall, simple time series methods and pooling work well and are able to deliver unbiased forecasts, or slightly upward biased forecast for the debt-GDP dynamics. This result is mostly due to the short sample available, the robustness of simple methods to structural breaks, and to the difficulty of modelling the joint behaviour of several variables in a period of substantial institutional and economic changes. A bootstrap experiment highlights that, even when the data are generated using the estimated small scale multi country model, simple time series models can produce more accurate forecasts, due to their parsimonious specification.

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Paper provided by IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University in its series Working Papers with number 298.

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Date of creation: 2005
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Handle: RePEc:igi:igierp:298
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  1. David F. Hendry & Michael P. Clements, 2004. "Pooling of forecasts," Econometrics Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 7(1), pages 1-31, 06.
  2. Michael ARTIS & Massimiliano MARCELLINO & Tommaso PROIETTI, 2002. "Dating the Euro Area Business Cycle," Economics Working Papers ECO2002/24, European University Institute.
  3. Rudebusch, G.D. & Svensson, L.E.O., 1998. "Policy Rules for Inflation Targeting," Papers 637, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  4. Favero, Carlo A., 2002. "How do European Monetary and Fiscal Authorities Behave?," CEPR Discussion Papers 3426, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Massimiliano Marcellino, . "Forecast pooling for short time series of macroeconomic variables," Working Papers 212, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  6. Richard Clarida & Jordi Galí & Mark Gertler, 2000. "Monetary Policy Rules And Macroeconomic Stability: Evidence And Some Theory," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(1), pages 147-180, February.
  7. Todd E. Clark & Michael W. McCracken, 1999. "Tests of equal forecast accuracy and encompassing for nested models," Research Working Paper 99-11, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
  8. Marcellino, Massimiliano & Stock, James H. & Watson, Mark W., 2003. "Macroeconomic forecasting in the Euro area: Country specific versus area-wide information," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 1-18, February.
  9. 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.
  10. Artis, M. & Marcellino, M., 1999. "Fiscal Forecasting: the Track Record of the IMF, OECD and EC," Economics Working Papers eco99/22, European University Institute.
  11. Marcellino, Massimiliano, 2002. "Forecasting EMU Macroeconomic Variables," CEPR Discussion Papers 3529, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521634809 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. Massimiliano Marcellino & James Stock & Mark Watson, 2005. "A Comparison of Direct and Iterated Multistep AR Methods for Forecasting Macroeconomic Time Series," Working Papers 285, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  14. Roberto Perotti, 2002. "Estimating the effects of fiscal policy in OECD countries," Economics Working Papers 015, European Network of Economic Policy Research Institutes.
  15. Marcellino, Massimiliano, 2002. "Instability and Non-Linearity in the EMU," CEPR Discussion Papers 3312, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  16. Anindya Banerjee & Massimiliano Marcellino & Igor Masten, 2003. "Leading Indicators for Euro-area Inflation and GDP Growth," Working Papers 235, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  17. Lars Jonung & Martin Larch, 2006. "Improving fiscal policy in the EU: the case for independent forecasts," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 21(47), pages 491-534, 07.
  18. Perotti, Roberto, 2002. "Estimating the effects of fiscal policy in OECD countries," Working Paper Series 0168, European Central Bank.
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