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Real-time conditional forecasts with Bayesian VARs: An application to New Zealand

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We develop a large Bayesian VAR (BVAR) model of the New Zealand economy that incorporates the conditional forecasting estimation techniques of Waggoner and Zha (1999). We examine the real-time forecasting performance as the size of the model increases using an unbalanced data panel. In a realtime out-of-sample forecasting exercise, we find that our BVAR methodology outperforms univariate and VAR benchmarks, and produces comparable forecast accuracy to the judgementally-adjusted forecasts produced internally at the Reserve Bank of New Zealand. We analyse forecast performance and find that, while there are trade offs across different variables, a 35 variable BVAR generally performs better than 8, 13, or 50 variable specifications for our dataset. Finally, we demonstrate techniques for imposing judgement and for forming a semi-structural interpretation of the BVAR forecasts.

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Paper provided by Reserve Bank of New Zealand in its series Reserve Bank of New Zealand Discussion Paper Series with number DP2009/02.

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Length: 33p
Date of creation: Apr 2009
Handle: RePEc:nzb:nzbdps:2009/02
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  1. Waggoner, Daniel F. & Zha, Tao, 2003. "A Gibbs sampler for structural vector autoregressions," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 349-366, November.
  2. Matheson, Troy, 2010. "Assessing the fit of small open economy DSGEs," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 906-920, September.
  3. Christiano, Lawrence J. & Eichenbaum, Martin & Evans, Charles L., 1999. "Monetary policy shocks: What have we learned and to what end?," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 2, pages 65-148 Elsevier.
  4. Mark Gertler & Jordi Gali & Richard Clarida, 1999. "The Science of Monetary Policy: A New Keynesian Perspective," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(4), pages 1661-1707, December.
  5. Diebold, Francis X & Mariano, Roberto S, 2002. "Comparing Predictive Accuracy," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(1), pages 134-144, January.
  6. Troy D. Matheson, 2006. "Factor Model Forecasts for New Zealand," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 2(2), May.
  7. Thomas Doan & Robert B. Litterman & Christopher A. Sims, 1983. "Forecasting and Conditional Projection Using Realistic Prior Distributions," NBER Working Papers 1202, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Daniel F. Waggoner & Tao Zha, 1999. "Conditional Forecasts In Dynamic Multivariate Models," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(4), pages 639-651, November.
  9. Matheson, Troy D., 2010. "An analysis of the informational content of New Zealand data releases: The importance of business opinion surveys," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 304-314, January.
  10. Jordi Galí & Tommaso Monacelli, 2005. "Monetary Policy and Exchange Rate Volatility in a Small Open Economy," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(3), pages 707-734.
  11. De Mol, Christine & Giannone, Domenico & Reichlin, Lucrezia, 2008. "Forecasting using a large number of predictors: Is Bayesian shrinkage a valid alternative to principal components?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 146(2), pages 318-328, October.
  12. Christopher A. Sims, 1993. "A Nine-Variable Probabilistic Macroeconomic Forecasting Model," NBER Chapters, in: Business Cycles, Indicators and Forecasting, pages 179-212 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Cushman, David O. & Zha, Tao, 1997. "Identifying monetary policy in a small open economy under flexible exchange rates," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 433-448, August.
  14. Marco Del Negro & Frank Schorfheide, 2004. "Priors from General Equilibrium Models for VARS," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 45(2), pages 643-673, 05.
  15. John C. Robertson & Ellis W. Tallman, 1999. "Vector autoregressions: forecasting and reality," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, issue Q1, pages 4-18.
  16. Kadiyala, K Rao & Karlsson, Sune, 1997. "Numerical Methods for Estimation and Inference in Bayesian VAR-Models," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(2), pages 99-132, March-Apr.
  17. Chris Bloor & Troy Matheson, 2010. "Analysing shock transmission in a data-rich environment: a large BVAR for New Zealand," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 39(2), pages 537-558, October.
  18. Zha, Tao, 1999. "Block recursion and structural vector autoregressions," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 90(2), pages 291-316, June.
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