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Jel Classification:C52 

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What predicts U.S. recessions?

We reassess the predictability of U.S. recessions at horizons from three months to two years ahead for a large number of previously proposed leading-indicator variables. We employ an efficient probit estimator for partially missing data and assess relative model performance based on the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve. While the Treasury term spread has the highest predictive power at horizons four to six quarters ahead, adding lagged observations of the term spread significantly improves the predictability of recessions at shorter horizons. Moreover, balances in broker-dealer ...
Staff Reports , Paper 691

Working Paper
Variable Selection and Forecasting in High Dimensional Linear Regressions with Structural Breaks

This paper is concerned with the problem of variable selection and forecasting in the presence of parameter instability. There are a number of approaches proposed for forecasting in the presence of breaks, including the use of rolling windows and exponential down-weighting. However, these studies start with a given model specification and do not consider the problem of variable selection, which is complicated by time variations in the effects of signal variables. In this study we investigate whether or not we should use weighted observations at the variable selection stage in the presence of ...
Globalization Institute Working Papers , Paper 394

Working Paper
Output Gap, Monetary Policy Trade-offs, and Financial Frictions

This paper investigates how the presence of pervasive financial frictions and large financial shocks changes the optimal monetary policy prescriptions and the estimated dynamics in a New Keynesian model. We find that financial factors affect the optimal policy only to some extent. A policy of nominal stabilization (with a particular focus on targeting wage inflation) is still the optimal policy, although the central bank is now unable to fully stabilize economic activity around its potential level. In contrast, the presence of financial frictions and financial shocks crucially changes the ...
Working Papers , Paper 20-05

Working Paper
Variable Selection and Forecasting in High Dimensional Linear Regressions with Structural Breaks

This paper is concerned with the problem of variable selection and forecasting in the presence of parameter instability. There are a number of approaches proposed for forecasting in the presence of breaks, including the use of rolling windows or exponential down-weighting. However, these studies start with a given model specification and do not consider the problem of variable selection. It is clear that, in the absence of breaks, researchers should weigh the observations equally at both the variable selection and forecasting stages. In this study, we investigate whether or not we should use ...
Globalization Institute Working Papers , Paper 394

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 , Paper 2014-25

Working Paper
Facts and Fiction in Oil Market Modeling

Baumeister and Hamilton (2019a) assert that every critique of their work on oil markets by Kilian and Zhou (2019a) is without merit. In addition, they make the case that key aspects of the economic and econometric analysis in the widely used oil market model of Kilian and Murphy (2014) and its precursors are incorrect. Their critiques are also directed at other researchers who have worked in this area and, more generally, extend to research using structural VAR models outside of energy economics. The purpose of this paper is to help the reader understand what the real issues are in this ...
Working Papers , Paper 1907

Working Paper
Binary Conditional Forecasts

While conditional forecasting has become prevalent both in the academic literature and in practice (e.g., bank stress testing, scenario forecasting), its applications typically focus on continuous variables. In this paper, we merge elements from the literature on the construction and implementation of conditional forecasts with the literature on forecasting binary variables. We use the Qual-VAR [Dueker (2005)], whose joint VAR-probit structure allows us to form conditional forecasts of the latent variable which can then be used to form probabilistic forecasts of the binary variable. We apply ...
Working Papers , Paper 2019-29

Working Paper
Binary Conditional Forecasts

While conditional forecasting has become prevalent both in the academic literature and in practice (e.g., bank stress testing, scenario forecasting), its applications typically focus on continuous variables. In this paper, we merge elements from the literature on the construction and implementation of conditional forecasts with the literature on forecasting binary variables. We use the Qual-VAR [Dueker (2005)], whose joint VAR-probit structure allows us to form conditional forecasts of the latent variable which can then be used to form probabilistic forecasts of the binary variable. We apply ...
Working Papers , Paper 2019-029

Working Paper
Estimating (Markov-Switching) VAR Models without Gibbs Sampling: A Sequential Monte Carlo Approach

Vector autoregressions with Markov-switching parameters (MS-VARs) fit the data better than do their constant-parameter predecessors. However, Bayesian inference for MS-VARs with existing algorithms remains challenging. For our first contribution, we show that Sequential Monte Carlo (SMC) estimators accurately estimate Bayesian MS-VAR posteriors. Relative to multi-step, model-specific MCMC routines, SMC has the advantages of generality, parallelizability, and freedom from reliance on particular analytical relationships between prior and likelihood. For our second contribution, we use SMC's ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2015-116

Working Paper
An Empirical Investigation of Direct and Iterated Multistep Conditional Forecasts

When constructing unconditional point forecasts, both direct- and iterated-multistep (DMS and IMS) approaches are common. However, in the context of producing conditional forecasts, IMS approaches based on vector autoregressions (VAR) are far more common than simpler DMS models. This is despite the fact that there are theoretical reasons to believe that DMS models are more robust to misspecification than are IMS models. In the context of unconditional forecasts, Marcellino, Stock, and Watson (MSW, 2006) investigate the empirical relevance of these theories. In this paper, we extend that work ...
Working Papers , Paper 2017-40

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