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Empirical Bayes Forecasts of One Time Series Using Many Predictors


  • Thomas Knox
  • James H. Stock
  • Mark W. Watson


We consider both frequentist and empirical Bayes forecasts of a single time series using a linear model with T observations and K orthonormal predictors. The frequentist formulation considers estimators that are equivariant under permutations (reorderings) of the regressors. The empirical Bayes formulation (both parametric and nonparametric) treats the coefficients as i.i.d. and estimates their prior. Asymptotically, when K is proportional to T the empirical Bayes estimator is shown to be: (i) optimal in Robbins' (1955, 1964) sense; (ii) the minimum risk equivariant estimator; and (iii) minimax in both the frequentist and Bayesian problems over a class of nonGaussian error distributions. Also, the asymptotic frequentist risk of the minimum risk equivariant estimator is shown to equal the Bayes risk of the (infeasible subjectivist) Bayes estimator in the Gaussian case, where the 'prior' is the weak limit of the empirical cdf of the true parameter values. Monte Carlo results are encouraging. The new estimators are used to forecast monthly postwar U.S. macroeconomic time series using the first 151 principal components from a large panel of predictors.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas Knox & James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 2001. "Empirical Bayes Forecasts of One Time Series Using Many Predictors," NBER Technical Working Papers 0269, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberte:0269 Note: TWP

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. HÄRDLE, Wolfgang & HART, Jeffrey & MARRON, Steve & TSYBAKOV, Alexander, "undated". "Bandwith choice for average derivative estimation," CORE Discussion Papers RP 977, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
    2. Stock, James H. & Watson, Mark W., 1999. "Forecasting inflation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 293-335, October.
    3. Bekker, Paul A, 1994. "Alternative Approximations to the Distributions of Instrumental Variable Estimators," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(3), pages 657-681, May.
    4. Chamberlain, Gary & Imbens, Guido, 1996. "Hierarchical Bayes Models with Many Instrumental Variables," Scholarly Articles 3221489, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    5. Joshua D. Angrist & Alan B. Keueger, 1991. "Does Compulsory School Attendance Affect Schooling and Earnings?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(4), pages 979-1014.
    6. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 1998. "Diffusion Indexes," NBER Working Papers 6702, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Todd E. Clark, 2004. "Can out-of-sample forecast comparisons help prevent overfitting?," Journal of Forecasting, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(2), pages 115-139.
    2. Bernanke, Ben S. & Boivin, Jean, 2003. "Monetary policy in a data-rich environment," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 525-546, April.
    3. Yang Yang & Tae-Hwy Lee, 2004. "Bagging Binary Predictors for Time Series," Econometric Society 2004 Far Eastern Meetings 512, Econometric Society.
    4. Gary Koop & Simon M. Potter, 2003. "Forecasting in large macroeconomic panels using Bayesian Model Averaging," Staff Reports 163, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C32 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes; State Space Models
    • E37 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications


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