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Author:McCracken, Michael W. 

Working Paper
Tests of Conditional Predictive Ability: Some Simulation Evidence

In this note we provide simulation evidence on the size and power of tests of predictive ability described in Giacomini and White (2006). Our goals are modest but non-trivial. First, we establish that there exist data generating processes that satisfy the null hypotheses of equal finite-sample (un)conditional predictive ability. We then consider various parameterizations of these DGPs as a means of evaluating the size and power properties of the proposed tests. While some of our results reinforce those in Giacomini and White (2006), others do not. We recommend against using the fixed scheme ...
Working Papers , Paper 2019-11

Working Paper
Real-time forecast averaging with ALFRED

This paper presents empirical evidence on the efficacy of forecast averaging using the ALFRED real-time database. We consider averages taken over a variety of different bivariate VAR models that are distinguished from one another based upon at least one of the following: which variables are used as predictors, the number of lags, using all available data or data after the Great Moderation, the observation window used to estimate the model parameters and construct averaging weights, and for forecast horizons greater than one, whether or not iterated- or direct-multistep methods are used. A ...
Working Papers , Paper 2010-033

Journal Article
Initial claims and employment growth: are we at the threshold?

One common threshold is that labor market conditions are improving when weekly unemployment claims fall below 400,000.
Economic Synopses

Working Paper
Forecasting with small macroeconomic VARs in the presence of instabilities

Small-scale VARs are widely used in macroeconomics for forecasting U.S. output, prices, and interest rates. However, recent work suggests these models may exhibit instabilities. As such, a variety of estimation or forecasting methods might be used to improve their forecast accuracy. These include using different observation windows for estimation, intercept correction, time-varying parameters, break dating, Bayesian shrinkage, model averaging, etc. This paper compares the effectiveness of such methods in real time forecasting. We use forecasts from univariate time series models, the Survey of ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2007-41

Journal Article
Uncertainty about when the Fed will raise interest rates

It's hard to make a firm prediction as to when the Fed will raise interest rates.
Economic Synopses

Journal Article
Tracking the U.S. Economy with Nowcasts

The Federal Open Market Committee wants its interest-rate decisions to be data-dependent. But until the past several years, much of the statistical information available?not just to the FOMC, but anyone?had come from reports that looked backward at conditions from the previous month or even quarter. New models developed by economists allow for forecasting of conditions in the current quarter as reports arrive on a day-to-day basis?as in now. Hence, ?nowcasts.?
The Regional Economist , Issue April

Blog
The St. Louis Fed's Financial Stress Index, Version 2.0

The St. Louis Fed's financial stress index has been recalibrated to better capture evolving stresses in financial markets.
On the Economy

Working Paper
Multi-step ahead forecasting of vector time series

This paper develops the theory of multi-step ahead forecasting for vector time series that exhibit temporal nonstationarity and co-integration. We treat the case of a semi-infinite past, developing the forecast filters and the forecast error filters explicitly, and also provide formulas for forecasting from a finite-sample of data. This latter application can be accomplished by the use of large matrices, which remains practicable when the total sample size is moderate. Expressions for Mean Square Error of forecasts are also derived, and can be implemented readily. Three diverse data ...
Working Papers , Paper 2012-060

Working Paper
Evaluating Conditional Forecasts from Vector Autoregressions

Many forecasts are conditional in nature. For example, a number of central banks routinely report forecasts conditional on particular paths of policy instruments. Even though conditional forecasting is common, there has been little work on methods for evaluating conditional forecasts. This paper provides analytical,Monte Carlo, and empirical evidence on tests of predictive ability for conditional forecasts from estimated models. In the empirical analysis, we consider forecasts of growth, unemployment, and inflation from a VAR, based on conditions on the short-term interest rate. Throughout ...
Working Papers (Old Series) , Paper 1413

Working Paper
Asymptotic Inference for Performance Fees and the Predictability of Asset Returns

In this paper we provide analytical, simulation, and empirical evidence on a test of equal economic value from competing predictive models of asset returns. We define economic value using the concept of a performance fee - the amount an investor would be willing to pay to have access to an alternative predictive model that is used to make investment decisions. We establish that this fee can be asymptotically normal under modest assumptions. Monte Carlo evidence shows that our test can be accurately sized in reasonably large samples. We apply the proposed test to predictions of the US equity ...
Working Papers , Paper 2012-049

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