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A Comparison of Linear and Nonlinear Univariate Models for Forecasting Macroeconomic Time Series

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  • James H. Stock
  • Mark W. Watson

Abstract

A forecasting comparison is undertaken in which 49 univariate forecasting methods, plus various forecast pooling procedures, are used to forecast 215 U.S. monthly macroeconomic time series at three forecasting horizons over the period 1959 - 1996. All forecasts simulate real time implementation, that is, they are fully recursive. The forecasting methods are based on four classes of models: autoregressions (with and without unit root pretests), exponential smoothing, artificial neural networks, and smooth transition autoregressions. The best overall performance of a single method is achieved by autoregressions with unit root pretests, but this performance can be improved when it is combined with the forecasts from other methods.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6607
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    1. Clive W. Granger & Timo Terasvirta & Heather M. Anderson, 1993. "Modeling Nonlinearity over the Business Cycle," NBER Chapters,in: Business Cycles, Indicators and Forecasting, pages 311-326 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Granger, Clive W J, 1993. "Strategies for Modelling Nonlinear Time-Series Relationships," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 69(206), pages 233-238, September.
    3. Ghysels, Eric & Granger, Clive W J & Siklos, Pierre L, 1996. "Is Seasonal Adjustment a Linear or Nonlinear Data-Filtering Process?," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 14(3), pages 374-386, July.
    4. Perron, Pierre & Rodriguez, Gabriel, 2003. "GLS detrending, efficient unit root tests and structural change," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 115(1), pages 1-27, July.
    5. Stock, James H, 1996. "VAR, Error Correction and Pretest Forecasts at Long Horizons," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 58(4), pages 685-701, November.
    6. Norman R. Swanson & Halbert White, 1997. "A Model Selection Approach To Real-Time Macroeconomic Forecasting Using Linear Models And Artificial Neural Networks," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 79(4), pages 540-550, November.
    7. Meese, Richard A. & Rogoff, Kenneth, 1983. "Empirical exchange rate models of the seventies : Do they fit out of sample?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(1-2), pages 3-24, February.
    8. Terasvirta, Timo & Tjostheim, Dag & W.J. Granger, Clive, 1986. "Aspects of modelling nonlinear time series," Handbook of Econometrics,in: R. F. Engle & D. McFadden (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 48, pages 2917-2957 Elsevier.
    9. McNees, Stephen K., 1990. "The role of judgment in macroeconomic forecasting accuracy," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 287-299, October.
    10. Granger, C. W. J. & Newbold, Paul, 1986. "Forecasting Economic Time Series," Elsevier Monographs, Elsevier, edition 2, number 9780122951831 edited by Shell, Karl.
    11. Granger, Clive W. J. & Terasvirta, Timo, 1993. "Modelling Non-Linear Economic Relationships," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198773207.
    12. Meese, Richard & Geweke, John, 1984. "A Comparison of Autoregressive Univariate Forecasting Procedures for Macroeconomic Time Series," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 2(3), pages 191-200, July.
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    JEL classification:

    • C22 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes
    • 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

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