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Real-time nowcasting of GDP: Factor model versus professional forecasters

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  • Liebermann, Joelle

Abstract

This paper performs a fully real-time nowcasting (forecasting) exercise of US real gross domestic product (GDP) growth using Giannone, Reichlin and Small (2008) factor model framework which enables one to handle unbalanced datasets as available in real-time. To this end, we have constructed a novel real-time database of vintages from October 2000 to June 2010 for a rich panel of US variables, and can hence reproduce, for any given day in that range, the exact information that was available to a real-time forecaster. We track the daily evolution throughout the current and next quarter of the model nowcasting performance. Analogously to Giannone et al. (2008) pseudo real-time results, we find that the precision of the nowcasts increases with information releases. Furthermore, the Survey of Professional Forecasters (SPF) does not carry additional information with respect to the model best specification, suggesting that the often cited superiority of the SPF, attributable to judgment, is weak over our sample. Then, as one moves forward along the real-time data flow, the continuous updating of the model provides a more precise estimate of current quarter GDP growth and the SPF becomes stale compared to all the model specifications. These results are robust to the recent recession period.

Suggested Citation

  • Liebermann, Joelle, 2010. "Real-time nowcasting of GDP: Factor model versus professional forecasters," MPRA Paper 28819, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:28819
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Domenico Giannone & Lucrezia Reichlin & Luca Sala, 2005. "Monetary Policy in Real Time," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2004, Volume 19, pages 161-224 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Forni, Mario & Hallin, Marc & Lippi, Marco & Reichlin, Lucrezia, 2005. "The Generalized Dynamic Factor Model: One-Sided Estimation and Forecasting," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 100, pages 830-840, September.
    3. Giannone, Domenico & Reichlin, Lucrezia & Small, David, 2008. "Nowcasting: The real-time informational content of macroeconomic data," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 665-676, May.
    4. Jushan Bai & Serena Ng, 2002. "Determining the Number of Factors in Approximate Factor Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(1), pages 191-221, January.
    5. Antonello D'Agostino & Kieran McQuinn & Derry O’Brien, 2012. "Nowcasting Irish GDP," OECD Journal: Journal of Business Cycle Measurement and Analysis, OECD Publishing, Centre for International Research on Economic Tendency Surveys, vol. 2012(2), pages 21-31.
    6. 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.
    7. Antonello D'Agostino & Domenico Giannone & Paolo Surico, 2005. "(Un)Predictability and Macroeconomic Stability," Macroeconomics 0510024, EconWPA.
    8. Durbin, James & Koopman, Siem Jan, 2012. "Time Series Analysis by State Space Methods," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, edition 2, number 9780199641178.
    9. Doz, Catherine & Giannone, Domenico & Reichlin, Lucrezia, 2011. "A two-step estimator for large approximate dynamic factor models based on Kalman filtering," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 164(1), pages 188-205, September.
    10. Bańbura, Marta & Rünstler, Gerhard, 2011. "A look into the factor model black box: Publication lags and the role of hard and soft data in forecasting GDP," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 333-346.
    11. K. Barhoumi & S. Benk & R. Cristadoro & A. Den Reijer & A. Jakaitiene & P. Jelonek & A. Rua & K. Ruth & C. Van Nieuwenhuyze & G. Rünstler, 2008. "Short-term forecasting of GDP using large monthly datasets – A pseudo real-time forecast evaluation exercise," Working Paper Research 133, National Bank of Belgium.
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    13. Jon Faust & Jonathan H. Wright, 2007. "Comparing Greenbook and Reduced Form Forecasts using a Large Realtime Dataset," NBER Working Papers 13397, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Elena Angelini & Gonzalo Camba‐Mendez & Domenico Giannone & Lucrezia Reichlin & Gerhard Rünstler, 2011. "Short‐term forecasts of euro area GDP growth," Econometrics Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 14(1), pages 25-44, February.
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    16. Domenico Giannone & Lucrezia Reichlin & David H. Small, 2005. "Nowcasting GDP and inflation: the real-time informational content of macroeconomic data releases," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2005-42, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    17. Jean Boivin & Serena Ng, 2005. "Understanding and Comparing Factor-Based Forecasts," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 1(3), December.
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    19. Fair, Ray C & Shiller, Robert J, 1990. "Comparing Information in Forecasts from Econometric Models," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 375-389, June.
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    22. Marta Bańbura & Michele Modugno, 2014. "Maximum Likelihood Estimation Of Factor Models On Datasets With Arbitrary Pattern Of Missing Data," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(1), pages 133-160, January.
    23. K. Barhoumi & S. Benk & R. Cristadoro & A. Den Reijer & A. Jakaitiene & P. Jelonek & A. Rua & K. Ruth & C. Van Nieuwenhuyze & G. Rünstler, 2008. "Short-term forecasting of GDP using large monthly datasets – A pseudo real-time forecast evaluation exercise," Working Paper Research 133, National Bank of Belgium.
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    Cited by:

    1. Antonello D'Agostino & Kieran McQuinn & Derry O’Brien, 2012. "Nowcasting Irish GDP," OECD Journal: Journal of Business Cycle Measurement and Analysis, OECD Publishing, Centre for International Research on Economic Tendency Surveys, vol. 2012(2), pages 21-31.
    2. Alessandro Beber & Michael W. Brandt & Maurizio Luisi, 2013. "Distilling the Macroeconomic News Flow," NBER Working Papers 19650, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Liebermann, Joelle, 2012. "Real-time forecasting in a data-rich environment," MPRA Paper 39452, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Schnatz, Bernd & D'Agostino, Antonello, 2012. "Survey-based nowcasting of US growth: a real-time forecast comparison over more than 40 years," Working Paper Series 1455, European Central Bank.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Real-time data; Nowcasting; Forecasting; Factor model;

    JEL classification:

    • C53 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Forecasting and Prediction Models; Simulation Methods
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • C33 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models

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