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Learning, Forecasting and Structural Breaks

  • John M Maheu
  • Stephen Gordon

We provide a general methodology for forecasting in the presence of structural breaks induced by unpredictable changes to model parameters. Bayesian methods of learning and model comparison are used to derive a predictive density that takes into account the possibility that a break will occur before the next observation. Estimates for the posterior distribution of the most recent break are generated as a by-product of our procedure. We discuss the importance of using priors that accurately reflect the econometrician's opinions as to what constitutes a plausible forecast. Several applications to macroeconomic time-series data demonstrate the usefulness of our procedure.

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Paper provided by University of Toronto, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number tecipa-284.

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Length: 42 pages
Date of creation: 30 Mar 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:tor:tecipa:tecipa-284
Contact details of provider: Postal: 150 St. George Street, Toronto, Ontario
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  1. Donald W.K. Andrews, 1990. "Tests for Parameter Instability and Structural Change with Unknown Change Point," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 943, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  2. Stock, James H. & Watson, Mark W., 1999. "Forecasting inflation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 293-335, October.
  3. Donald W.K. Andrews, 2002. "End-of-Sample Instability Tests," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1369, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  4. Gary Koop & Simon M. Potter, 1999. "Are apparent findings of nonlinearity due to structural instability in economic time series?," Staff Reports 59, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  5. Pesaran, M. Hashem & Timmermann, Allan, 2002. "Market timing and return prediction under model instability," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 9(5), pages 495-510, December.
  6. Giorgio E. Primiceri, 2005. "Time Varying Structural Vector Autoregressions and Monetary Policy," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(3), pages 821-852.
  7. Timothy Cogley & Thomas J. Sargent, 2002. "Evolving Post-World War II U.S. Inflation Dynamics," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2001, Volume 16, pages 331-388 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Stock, James H & Watson, Mark W, 1996. "Evidence on Structural Instability in Macroeconomic Time Series Relations," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 14(1), pages 11-30, January.
  9. Pesaran, M.H. & Pettenuzzo, D. & Timmermann, A., 2004. "‘Forecasting Time Series Subject to Multiple Structural Breaks’," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0433, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  10. Ghysels, E & Hall, A., 1988. "A Test For Structural Stability Of Euler Conditions Parameters Estimated Via The Generalized Methods Of Moments Estimators," Cahiers de recherche 8837, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
  11. Chib, Siddhartha, 2001. "Markov chain Monte Carlo methods: computation and inference," Handbook of Econometrics, in: J.J. Heckman & E.E. Leamer (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 5, chapter 57, pages 3569-3649 Elsevier.
  12. Kim, Chang-Jin & Nelson, Charles R & Piger, Jeremy, 2004. "The Less-Volatile U.S. Economy: A Bayesian Investigation of Timing, Breadth, and Potential Explanations," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 22(1), pages 80-93, January.
  13. Ghysels, Eric & Guay, Alain & Hall, Alastair, 1998. "Predictive tests for structural change with unknown breakpoint," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 209-233, February.
  14. Hamilton, James D, 1989. "A New Approach to the Economic Analysis of Nonstationary Time Series and the Business Cycle," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 357-84, March.
  15. Giordani, Paolo & Kohn, Robert, 2008. "Efficient Bayesian Inference for Multiple Change-Point and Mixture Innovation Models," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 26, pages 66-77, January.
  16. Chib, Siddhartha, 1998. "Estimation and comparison of multiple change-point models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 86(2), pages 221-241, June.
  17. Donald W.K. Andrews & Inpyo Lee & Werner Ploberger, 1992. "Optimal Changepoint Tests for Normal Linear Regression," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1016, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  18. Dufour, Jean-Marie & Ghysels, Eric & Hall, Alastair, 1994. "Generalized Predictive Tests and Structural Change Analysis in Econometrics," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 35(1), pages 199-229, February.
  19. Gary Koop & Simon M. Potter, 2007. "Estimation and Forecasting in Models with Multiple Breaks," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(3), pages 763-789.
  20. John F. Geweke, 1994. "Bayesian comparison of econometric models," Working Papers 532, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  21. Hansen, Bruce E, 2002. "Tests for Parameter Instability in Regressions with I(1) Processes," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(1), pages 45-59, January.
  22. Stock, James H & Watson, Mark W, 2002. "Macroeconomic Forecasting Using Diffusion Indexes," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(2), pages 147-62, April.
  23. Pesaran, M. Hashem & Timmermann, Allan, 2007. "Selection of estimation window in the presence of breaks," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 137(1), pages 134-161, March.
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