Forecasting Welfare Caseloads: The Case of the Japanese Public Assistance Program
Forecasting welfare caseloads has grown in importance in Japan because of their recent rapid increase. Given that the forecasting literature on welfare caseloads only focuses on US cases and utilizes limited classes of forecasting models, this study employs multiple alternative methods in order to forecast Japanese welfare caseloads and compare forecasting performances. In pseudo real-time forecasting, VAR and forecast combinations tend to outperform the other methods investigated. In real-time forecasting, however, a simple version of forecast combinations seems to perform better than the remaining models, predicting that welfare caseloads in Japan will surpass 1.7 million by the beginning of 2016, an approximately 20% increase in five years from the beginning of 2011.
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