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Neural Networks for Regional Employment Forecasts: Are the Parameters Relevant?

  • Roberto Patuelli

    ()

    (University of Lugano, Switzerland and The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis, Italy)

  • Aura Reggiani

    ()

    (University of Bologna, Italy)

  • Peter Nijkamp

    ()

    (VU University Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

  • Norbert Schanne

    ()

    (Institute for Employment Research (IAB), Nuremberg, Germany)

In this paper, we present a review of various computational experiments concerning neural network (NN) models developed for regional employment forecasting. NNs are nowadays widely used in several fields because of their flexible specification structure. A series of NN experiments is presented in the paper, using two data sets on German NUTS-3 districts. Individual forecasts are computed by our models for each district, in order to answer the following question: How relevant are NN parameters in comparison to NN structure? Comprehensive testing of these parameters is limited in the literature. Building on different specifications of NN models – in terms of explanatory variables and NN structures – we propose a systematic choice of NN learning parameters and internal functions by means of a sensitivity analysis. Our results show that different combinations of NN parameters provide significantly varying statistical performance and forecasting power. Finally, we note that the sets of parameters chosen for a given model specification cannot be light-heartedly applied to different or more complex models.

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Paper provided by The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis in its series Working Paper Series with number 07_09.

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Date of creation: Jan 2009
Date of revision: Feb 2010
Publication status: Published in the Journal of Geographical Systems 13 (1): 67–85
Handle: RePEc:rim:rimwps:07_09
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  1. Roberto Patuelli & Daniel A. Griffith & Michael Tiefelsdorf & Peter Nijkamp, 2011. "Spatial Filtering and Eigenvector Stability: Space-Time Models for German Unemployment Data," International Regional Science Review, , vol. 34(2), pages 253-280, April.
  2. Roberto Patuelli & Aura Reggiani & Peter Nijkamp & Uwe Blien, 2006. "New Neural Network Methods for Forecasting Regional Employment: An Analysis of German Labour Markets," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 06-020/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  3. Roberto Patuelli & Simonetta Longhi & Aura Reggiani & Peter Nijkamp, 2005. "Forecasting Regional Employment in Germany by Means of Neural Networks and Genetic Algorithms," Computational Economics 0511002, EconWPA.
  4. Kuan, Chung-Ming & Liu, Tung, 1995. "Forecasting Exchange Rates Using Feedforward and Recurrent Neural Networks," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 10(4), pages 347-64, Oct.-Dec..
  5. Aura Reggiani & Roberto Patuelli & Peter Nijkamp, 2006. "The development of Regional employment in Germany: Results from Neural Network Experiments," SCIENZE REGIONALI, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2006(3).
  6. Gorr, Wilpen L. & Nagin, Daniel & Szczypula, Janusz, 1994. "Comparative study of artificial neural network and statistical models for predicting student grade point averages," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 17-34, June.
  7. Roberto Patuelli & Aura Reggiani & Peter Nijkamp & Uwe Blien, 2006. "New Neural Network Methods for Forecasting Regional Employment: An Analysis of German Labour Markets," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 06-020/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  8. Zhang, Guoqiang & Eddy Patuwo, B. & Y. Hu, Michael, 1998. "Forecasting with artificial neural networks:: The state of the art," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 35-62, March.
  9. Suahasil Nazara & Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, 2004. "Spatial Structure and Taxonomy of Decomposition in Shift-Share Analysis," Growth and Change, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(4), pages 476-490.
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