IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

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.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

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

in new window

Date of creation: 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:lvl:lacicr:0422
Contact details of provider: Postal:
CP 8888, succursale Centre-Ville, Montréal, QC H3C 3P8

Phone: (514) 987-8161
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. 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.
  2. John F. Geweke, 1994. "Bayesian comparison of econometric models," Working Papers 532, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  3. Ghysels, Eric & Guay, Alain & Hall, Alastair, 1998. "Predictive tests for structural change with unknown breakpoint," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 209-233, February.
  4. 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.
  5. M. Hashem Pesaran & Davide Pettenuzzo & Allan Timmermann, 2004. "Forecasting Time Series Subject to Multiple Structural Breaks," CESifo Working Paper Series 1237, CESifo Group Munich.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Stock, James H. & Watson, Mark W., 1999. "Forecasting inflation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 293-335, October.
  13. 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.
  14. D. W. K. Andrews, 2003. "End-of-Sample Instability Tests," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(6), pages 1661-1694, November.
  15. 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.
  16. Hansen, Bruce E, 1992. "Tests for Parameter Instability in Regressions with I(1) Processes," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 10(3), pages 321-35, July.
  17. Chib, Siddhartha, 1998. "Estimation and comparison of multiple change-point models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 86(2), pages 221-241, June.
  18. Ghysels, Eric & Hall, Alastair, 1990. "A Test for Structural Stability of Euler Conditions Parameters Estimated via the Generalized Method of Moments Estimator," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 31(2), pages 355-64, May.
  19. Dufour, Jean-Marie & Ghysels, Eric & Hall, Alastair, 1994. "Generalized Predictive Tests and Structural Change Analysis in Econometrics," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 35(1), pages 199-229, February.
  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. Timothy Cogley & Thomas J. Sargent, 2002. "Evolving Post-World War II U.S. Inflation Dynamics," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2001, Volume 16, pages 331-388 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:lvl:lacicr:0422. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Manuel Paradis)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.