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Learning, Forecasting and Structural Breaks

  • John M. Maheu
  • Stephen Gordon

The literature on structural breaks focuses on ex post identification of break points that may have occurred in the past. While this question is important, a more challenging problem facing econometricians is to provide forecasts when the data generating process is unstable. The purpose of this paper is to provide a general methodology for forecasting in the presence of model instability. We make no assumptions on the number of break points or the law of motion governing parameter changes. Our approach makes use of Bayesian methods of model comparison and learning in order to provide an optimal predictive density from which forecasts can be derived. Estimates for the posterior probability that a break occurred at a particular point in the sample are generated as a byproduct of our procedure. We discuss the importance of using priors that accurately reflect the econometrician's opinions as to what constitutes a plausible forecast. Several applications to macroeconomic time-series data demonstrate the usefulness of our procedure.

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Paper provided by CIRPEE in its series Cahiers de recherche with number 0422.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Handle: RePEc:lvl:lacicr:0422
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  1. Donald W.K. Andrews, 1990. "Tests for Parameter Instability and Structural Change with Unknown Change Point," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 943, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  2. Donald W.K. Andrews, 2002. "End-of-Sample Instability Tests," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1369, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  3. Giordani, Paolo & Kohn, Robert, 2008. "Efficient Bayesian Inference for Multiple Change-Point and Mixture Innovation Models," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 26, pages 66-77, January.
  4. Ghysels, E & Hall, A., 1988. "A Test For Structural Stability Of Euler Conditions Parameters Estimated Via The Generalized Methods Of Moments Estimators," Cahiers de recherche 8837, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
  5. M. Hashem Pesaran & Allan Timmermann, 2002. "Market timing and return prediction under model instability," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 24932, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  6. Stock, James H & Watson, Mark W, 1996. "Evidence on Structural Instability in Macroeconomic Time Series Relations," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 14(1), pages 11-30, January.
  7. M. Hashem Pesaran & Davide Pettenuzzo & Allan Timmermann, 2004. "Forecasting Time Series Subject to Multiple Structural Breaks," CESifo Working Paper Series 1237, CESifo Group Munich.
  8. Timothy Cogley & Thomas Sargent, . "Evolving Post-World War II U.S. Inflation Dynamics," Working Papers 2132872, Department of Economics, W. P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University.
  9. Ghysels, E. & Guay, A. & Hall, A., 1995. "Predictive Tests for Structural Change with Unknown Breakpoint," Cahiers de recherche 9524, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
  10. Hansen, Bruce E, 2002. "Tests for Parameter Instability in Regressions with I(1) Processes," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(1), pages 45-59, January.
  11. Dufour, J.M. & Ghysels, E. & Hall, A., 1992. "Generalized Predictive Tests and Structural Change Analysis in Econometrics," Cahiers de recherche 9223, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
  12. Gary Koop & Simon M. Potter, 2001. "Are apparent findings of nonlinearity due to structural instability in economic time series?," Econometrics Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 4(1), pages 38.
  13. 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.
  14. Andrews, Donald W. K. & Lee, Inpyo & Ploberger, Werner, 1996. "Optimal changepoint tests for normal linear regression," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 9-38, January.
  15. John F. Geweke, 1994. "Bayesian comparison of econometric models," Working Papers 532, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  16. Chib, Siddhartha, 1998. "Estimation and comparison of multiple change-point models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 86(2), pages 221-241, June.
  17. Hamilton, James D, 1989. "A New Approach to the Economic Analysis of Nonstationary Time Series and the Business Cycle," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 357-84, March.
  18. Stock, James H. & Watson, Mark W., 1999. "Forecasting inflation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 293-335, October.
  19. Kim, Chang-Jin & Nelson, Charles R & Piger, Jeremy, 2004. "The Less-Volatile U.S. Economy: A Bayesian Investigation of Timing, Breadth, and Potential Explanations," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 22(1), pages 80-93, January.
  20. Chib, Siddhartha, 2001. "Markov chain Monte Carlo methods: computation and inference," Handbook of Econometrics, in: J.J. Heckman & E.E. Leamer (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 5, chapter 57, pages 3569-3649 Elsevier.
  21. Gary Koop & Simon M. Potter, 2007. "Estimation and Forecasting in Models with Multiple Breaks," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(3), pages 763-789.
  22. Giorgio E. Primiceri, 2005. "Time Varying Structural Vector Autoregressions and Monetary Policy," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(3), pages 821-852.
  23. Pesaran, M. Hashem & Timmermann, Allan, 2007. "Selection of estimation window in the presence of breaks," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 137(1), pages 134-161, March.
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